The garden has taken off and it isn't waiting for us! As the weather is warming and the Spring showers have been abundant, we're seeing a lot of growth in the garden. It's been all hands on deck prepping the beds and weeding! Some of the first herbs that we are seeing include; Echinacea, Elecampane, Burdock, Feverfew, Mullein, St. John's Wort, Valerian, Marshmallow, Motherwort, Cleavers, Peppermint, Stinging Nettle and Yarrow. It is incredibly rewarding seeing new plants pop up every time we're in the garden.
We grow over 35 different medicinal herbs in our garden, many are perennials, but some are annuals that we start from seed each year. Over the last month, we have begun our seed starts in our nursery greenhouse. Some medicinal plant seeds need extra care such as passionflower, which requires removing a bit of the seed coat, planting in little cells, covering the trays and placing on a heat pad to encourage germination. Other plants, such as Tulsi Holy Basil, is just happy being in soil and within a week, it's germinating!
As it goes with gardening, every year is different and the growing conditions vary. So it's not unheard of to have spotty germination once in a while, or even having too many hands in the pot so that a tray gets overwatered. Although some plants were spared in the overwatering, some weren't so lucky. Thankfully, it is spring and we are still in the window to restart seeds.
We've just passed the last frost date for Southern Illinois - April 15. So as the soil remains relatively cool, and the temperature warms up, we seed some of the herbs directly in the garden. This week we direct seeded; Plantain, Peppermint, Pleurisy Root, Yarrow, Echinacea, and Skullcap. We also direct seeded ornamental and edible flowers for future enjoyment :-).
Besides planting and weeding, we have other projects around the garden in preparation for our Herbal Medicine Workshop that will be on Saturday, June 17th. Stay tuned for the next garden blog installment!