The Best Plants for a Medicinal Herb Garden

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

The Best Plants for a Medicinal Herb GardenEven if you don’t have the space for growing a ton of produce, you can easily grow a medicinal herb garden in your flower beds or pots on your patio.  Medicinal herb gardens are an awesome way to limit pharmaceuticals in your everyday use–most medicinal herbs look and smell amazing, which doesn’t hurt either.

Here’s my favorite medicinal herbs to grow:

  1. Lavender.  To me, lavender is a wonder plant, bees love it, it looks beeeeautiful in the yard, you can cook with it, AND use it for medicinal purposes.  Lavender has a strong scent that is still very gentle on the ol’ nasal passages.  It can be used for calming purposes in baths, it soothes burns, and can help with arthritis, headaches and sore throats.  It has literally a ton of other uses, as well.
  2. Chamomile.  Ah, chamomile tea.  I could stop it’s uses right there and be happy.  But, chamomile can be introduced into tea to induce restful sleep, calm your digestive track and ease achiness.  It is also high in calcium and magnesium.  To turn it into a tea, mix 1-3 tsp. {depending on how strong you like it} of dried herb into 1 cup of boiling water.  Let it steep and drink it down.elephant garlic bulb
  3. Garlic.  I would be happy to add garlic to pretty much anything.  I love the flavor, but as an added bonus, it boosts immunity {in fact, I read in the paper the other day that one garlic clove a day can help you stave off colds.  It might help you stave off affection from your partner too, so you might want to grow some mint :}
  4. Motherwort.  Motherwort is literally as the name implies–it helps with lady problems.  It can help to soothe menstrual cramps, helps new mothers recover more quickly, and help bring on a delayed period.
  5. Yarrow.  Yarrow will require a little more space than just a pot, but it is fantastic for inflammation.  So, instead of grabbing an Advil, you can grab a yarrow concoction instead.blueberry jam with mint recipe
  6. Mint.  I wasn’t kidding when I told you to grow mint with your garlic.  Mint is awesome for upset stomachs.  Chew the leaves or drink it in tea.  The kiddos can do this too.
  7. Ginger.  Ginger is great for motion sickness.  If you or your kiddos get car sick, grating a bit of ginger in a smoothie, or making ginger candies for the car ride, really can help.
  8. Comfrey.  When I went to the Mother Earth News Fair awhile back, one of the medicinal herbs speakers raved about comfrey.  You can use it to treat bruises and sprains–which if you have kids in sports, this is a must.
  9. Marshmallow.  No, not like the big fluffy balls of goodness you buy in the package, but the actual plant.  It requires a bit more space, like the yarrow, but it is great for treating a sore throat.fennel
  10. Fennel.  Fennel is one of those herbs that is great to cook with, but it also aides with digestion.  So, make sure to throw it into your next recipe.
  11. Valerian Root.  Valerian is fantastic for insomnia and overall relaxation.  It is a great substitution for Ambien, because while it works just as well, it is not habit forming.
  12. Echinacea.  Echinacea is commonly known as the coneflower.  It is typically purple with bright orange cone in the center, but you can find other colors as well.  It is used to boost the immune system.  When you take it at the onset of a cold, it can help to stave it off.  Though, it is not very effective once the cold has set in.

Any herbs that you grow and swear by?

~Mavis

* Please consult your doctor before treating any medical condition

If you are wondering how to prepare the herbs you grow, I recommend getting a book that will teach you to use them safely and effectively.  Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs:  A Beginner’s Guide gets a solid 5 stars on Amazon.

medicinal herbs

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Monthly Garden Chores for June – East Coast Edition

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

This is a guest post written by my buddy Heather from Massachusetts. I thought it would be fun this year to post Monthly Garden Chores from both the West Coast and East Coast. You can see my May garden plans for my Seattle, Washington garden HERE.

June Garden photos boston

Well, I’m exhausted – May was buuussssy! I got way more done than I’d planned on so I’m feeling rather proud of myself :) The big, BIG news is that massive I-don’t-want-to-do-this project (read bag/box up the massive pile of rubber pellets from the old playground) and-get-rid-of-them, is 95% done. (Have you ever used Freecycle?  I love the idea of giving away something to somebody who could use it and keeping it out of the dump!) I’m happy to report it’s all cleaned up and the last load is being picked up next week.

The forest elves, eeerrr, tree service guys, came to cut down the trees that cast an annoying shadow over my garden all summer.

east coast garden pictures

I squealed like a six-year-old with a face full of cotton candy every time a tree went plummeting to the ground. Not only, is the amount of sun on the garden increased by 50% but I turned a portion of the extra space into a wildflower garden with the Perennial Bloom seeds from Botanical Interests that I grew in the winter sowing greenhouses!

milk jug greenhouse

(Pssst: Don’t tell the HH, I’m seriously thinking I may be able to fit in a few dwarf trees in that space too! Giddy, I tell ya, I’m just giddy with the possibility of fruit trees!)

I took down and stored all the hoop house  materials once it was warm enough for the tomatoes. The small hoop house was a perfect place to harden off all the seedlings throughout the month that came from the basement out to the garden, plus it warmed up the soil for the jalapeno that went in that box after everything was planted. Both of the hoop houses took quite a beating this year as we had a ton of strong wind, but I think I can use it again next year!

make shift greenhouse

The HH wanted to build a rock fire pit, but it kept falling down – which drove him crazy, so the man went to HD and bought cement – that sucker is NOT falling apart now. As a bonus, he’d dug up way too many rocks, which I promptly turned into another bed next to the chicken run, which has turned into the misfit garden bed – where all the extra plants go (and may or may not make it).

chicken tractor

All the boxes are planted. In fact, they were all planted when I realized I’d run out of space and had no place for beans AND cucumbers, so I added another box in the main garden. This folks is how you end with a bigger and bigger garden every year, lucky for the HH there is a pre-set border where the old playset used to be! :)

pallet garden photos

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

Beans and Lettuce will be continuously planted outside every two weeks for a constant supply. But seriously – I’m totally maxed out. I don’t think I have any space left for one single plant!

What I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

It’s all been transplanted and the inside grow lights are dark for the next few months. :)

raised bed planter boxes

Plants and/or Bulbs I Plan to Purchase this Month

With all the trees we cut down (two giant pines in the front that turned out to be 50% rotted), it’s an understatement to say we have a “few” stumps. I plan on doing something with those stumps – it just may take a liiiiittle bit of manual labor. I’ll keep you posted.

What I plan to Harvest This Month

LETTUCE! Yeah – fresh salads again!!

diy cedar garden boxes

Chickens

After keeping the baby chickens next to the outdoor pen in the chicken tractor for a week or two, and then in the main pen (in the chicken tractor) for a week or two, we’ve finally moved the babies into the main pen (without the tractor) – and boy was that challenging! Ever heard the phrases “hen pecked” or “mean girls” or “pecking order”?

Holy gravy – that is no joke. So now we’re at the stage where we go out once it’s dark and the grown hens are asleep, or at least calmed by the dark, and we tuck the babies into the coop then I get up at 4:30am (that’s right, you read that correctly 4:30 AM) to let them out before the sun comes out and the mean girls get going. The babies are about ¾ the size of the grown hens so hopefully the pecking order will not have to be enforced so thoroughly for much longer. *yawn*

diy chicken tractor

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

Old lemon is not doing so hot. The scale infestation is under control but in the process, of moving it in and out of the house to spray it, all the flowers and little lemon buds fell off. This month we’ve moved lemon out to the deck and fertilized him so we’ll see what happens. Poor lemon….

Trees and Shrubs

In other big news… the front hedge was dug up by my friend Hana who moved the bushes to her yard so I had to do was prep the space, and plant the Hidcote Lavender I started from seed in the winter sowing greenhouses. The little seedlings are soooo tiny – I hope they make it. It may take a year or two before I get the nice hedge of lavender I’m hoping for.

clearing brush

Weed and Pest Control

Our front walk is crushed stone. However, because it’s crushed stone it is also the most maddening part of the yard because weeds love that space. We don’t love the weeds. Ya’ see where I’m going with this? We’ve contemplated paving it with some sort of paving stone but the entry to the septic tank is right.under.the.walkway. Brilliant planning, I know. So, we need ideas – what would you do? Right now, I’m the vinegar queen – hosing the rocks down and plucking the weeds, but, as you can imagine, that’s not really too fun. Suggestions?

Lawn Care

When two pines were cut down in the front, a giant garden bed was left behind. What to do with this space is a big question mark. So far, all I’ve come up with is to shovel up the top portion of mulch and re-locate it to the wildflower garden. Then hopefully reduce the overall island to a small circle, but there are still two good sized tree stumps (which we don’t want to pay to have ground down) – so in the mean time I’m hunting Pinterest for some good ideas. Any suggestions?

**These garden chores are based on my Zone 5b Southeast/Boston MA location. Find your garden zone HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Botrytis or Grey Mold on Tomatoes

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

tomatoes grey mold

Towards the end of last years growing season, the tomato plants in my greenhouse were covered with grey mold. So much so that I ended up pulling up all the plants and tossing them.  This year, I plan on avoiding that scenario like the plague.

Grey mold {also called Botrytis} on tomatoes is actually pretty common when they are grown in a greenhouse setting.  Since grey mold prefers humid conditions, my greenhouse was the perfect stomping grounds.  Once grey mold sets in, it makes the plant susceptible to all sorts of diseases, and can eventually kill off all of your plants.

grey mold on basil and tomato plants

It’s actually pretty easy to prevent.  Providing ventilation to dry out the conditions really goes a long way.  When watering, avoid watering the leaves {this is just a good practice in general} and water in the morning only, so the plants have a chance to dry out throughout the day.  Pruning off the lower leaves on the stems will also help so that water doesn’t even have a chance to pool on the leaves.

If you do get grey mold, you can try to save the plant by cutting out any of the infected areas.  It is key to remove ALL debris from the area after the season, though, because of course, the mold can overwinter and wreak havoc from year to year.   Keep in mind that the mold spores can affect neighboring plants, so sometimes saving the plant isn’t worth it.  You can get chemicals to combat it–but since I am not a huge fan of chemicals in my garden, I’m not going to suggest that route.

Hopefully, with a little bit of prevention, grey mold will be a thing of the past for my garden.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Friday Night at the Movies – BBC Future of Food – Part 1: India

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

I pretty much love the BBC and everything they put out, so when I stumbled onto this full-length documentary on the Future of Food from a global perspective, I just had to share.  Tonight I am going to watch Part One.   The best part is that the WHOLE thing is totally free.  Go ahead, just click play and enjoy.

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

PicMonkey Collage

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Find, Swap, Share or Sell Local Fruits and Vegetables

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

The other day while perusing the world wide web, I came across a new start-up company called called Ripe Near Me on Treehugger.  The aim of the company is to make finding local produce easier and more convenient, because let’s be honest, unless you have a year round farmers market {Go HERE for a directory to farmers markets in Washington} in your area, it can be a real hassle to seek out local produce.  Ripe Near Me hopes to create an extensive database that allows users to type in their area and find local produce, not just farmers markets, but also from local gardening enthusiasts with excess produce and known public foraging sites.  If this company can pull it off, I would totally be up for putting my excess produce on the site–AND swapping for other people’s.  Seriously, how cool would that be?

how to glean free plums

You already know how I feel about food waste.  It’s bad, bad, bad.  It seems to me that local produce is pretty abundant, we just need to know how to FIND it.  Last year, The Girl and I were able to get free plums from a local couple who had waaaaay more plums than they could handle.  We got lucky.  I saw a handwritten cardboard sign, “Free U-Pick Plums” and stopped.  You bet I did.  In return, we gave the couple some of our eggs and some heirloom tomatoes.

Foraging for Free Food – Where to Find the Good Stuff

Foraging on public lands is another great way to get local produce.  Last year, I found a website that locals could post free foraging locations in their area.  There are tons of public locations that have fruit trees, berry patches, etc. that you can forage for food, if you want to put the time in.  Most of the time, the food would go to waste otherwise.  The problem is, more often than not, you have to rely on word of mouth to know where the hot spots are located.  Having a map where other foragers share their finds gives you a place to start.  In an effort to pay it forward, if you know of good foraging locations, you should totally hop on the site and let other people know.

heirloom vegetable stand

You can also start by hooking people up with YOUR own excess produce {remember, you never know what you will be able to get in return–it’s always an adventure}.  Last year, I decided to make a little extra cash on some of my excess produce {while still giving my local peeps a steal of a deal}.  I set up a little table with heirloom tomatoes, garlic, potatoes, rhubarb, and lettuce.  I left a sign that said, “Fresh vegetables.  Pay or leave what you like in exchange.”  Wouldn’t you know it, I ended up with $33 and quite a few food products.

bartering food

And, of course, if you want to keep it simple, just start with the people you know.  Your neighbors may totally be willing to barter with you.  I’ve traded my garden veggies for all sorts of food stuffs.  It saved me a trip to the store, and they got fresh homegrown organic produce.  It’s win-win.

How about YOU, how do you find local produce?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Grow Sunflowers {Start to Finish}

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

how to grow sunflowers

My daughter The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird has been planting sunflowers ever since she could walk. I’m not sure who loves them more, her or the birds that come along at the end of each summer and peck at the seeds. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are great for summertime bouquets too.

Brief description:  Sunflowers are annual flowers with beautiful bright flowers, usually yellow, red, or orange.  They are great for attracting bees, birds, and butterflies to your garden.

botanical interests sunflower seeds

Where to Plant Sunflowers:  Plant in a sunny location in raised beds, garden beds, and/or containers {depending on the variety}.

sunflower seeds

Planting Seeds:  Plant 1/2″-1″ deep about 1-2 weeks after last frost.  When seedlings are 2″ tall, thin to 1 every 12″.

Growing Tips:  Sunflowers love hot weather.  They are extremely hardy.

How to Harvest:  To harvest cut flowers as needed and place into water.  To harvest sunflower seeds, allow the flower heads to dry out and lightly rub the head to reveal the seeds.

regional-planting-guides

How to Roast Sunflower Seeds:  You can roast the seeds by soaking them in a salt water solution overnight.  Then drain them, pat dry, and roast them at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes, turning them occasionally.

Are you ready to start your garden but you’re not sure when you should plant your seeds or set out your transplants? Head on over HERE and you’ll be taken to a handy dandy chart that is broken down into what vegetables should be planted {or transplanted} each month in your area.

Anyone can do this. Dirt + Seeds+ Water = Food!

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

DIY Garden Markers Using Bricks

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

DIY Garden Markers Using Bricks

If you plant herbs {or any other edibles} right  into your garden beds, these brick garden markers make an awesome addition to the overall look of your beds {and they are, of course, totally functional}.

You’ll Need:

  • Bricks {super cheap at Home Depot}
  • A sharpie
  • Pencil
  • 5 minutes

DIY Garden Markers Using Bricks

Directions:

Using a pencil, sketch out the name of your plant {this will allow you to play with the size and safeguard you against any mistakes}.  Try to take up as much of the brick as possible–they look better that way.  Go over the penciled letters with the sharpie, once you are satisfied with the lettering, placement, and size.

Set the bricks in the beds along side the plant.  Cute, easy, done.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Harvesting Carrots, Snow Peas and Strawberries

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

dogs in the garden Lucy the puggle dog

Last night around 8 pm Lucy the Puggle Dog and I wandered out to the garden to harvest a few things. 8 o’clock! Can you believe it? I LOVE this time of year. I don’t know about you, but my favorite time to garden in the summertime is either really early {when the birds are all chirping and it’s still a wee bit chilly} or right before bedtime after all the dinner dishes are done.
mavis garden blog

Even though I’ve kind of taken the year off of gardening {okay, by that I mean I’m not trying to grow a TON of vegetables} I’ve still fallen behind on my planting a bit.

I don’t know how it happened, but I totally forgot to plant our zucchini seeds in early may.

watering raised garden beds

Oh well. I guess this just means they’ll germinate faster, right? ;)
harvesting snow peas

After planting 6 sets of zucchini seeds, we harvested the first batch of snow peas. And yes, it’s safe to say they didn’t make it in to the house and into the stir fry pan. Ha!

Maybe tomorrows harvest will.
garden fresh strawberries

And take a look at these beauties. Fresh, homegrown strawberries. Does it get any better than that?

They didn’t make it into the house either. ;)

Ahh June. I love you.

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Monthly Garden Chores – June

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

mavis-butterfield-one-hundred-dollars-a-month

Summer is here in Washington.  The days are mild, and dare I say, sunny?  I don’t know about you, but these are the easy days of gardening for me.  Just a little watering and weeding–most of the planting is done.

pumpkin seeds botanical interests

Seeds I’m Starting Indoors this Month

No seeds to start indoors this month.  I’ll start a few next month for my fall garden.

See the full list of seeds I’ll be planting this year

Ruby Red Swiss Chard

What I Plan to Transplant Outside this Month

  • Parsnips {planting them now ensures they will be ready for Thanksgiving dinner}
  • Swiss Chard {it’s been in the greenhouse, but I am moving it out this month}

broccoli

What I plan to Harvest This Month

  • Rhubarb
  • Broccoli
  • Lettuce
  • Radishes
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Strawberries
  • Chives
  • Sprouts
  • Basil
  • Bok Choy
  • Swiss Chard
  • Microgreens
  • Basil
  • Endive

houseplant

Houseplants and Indoor Bulbs

You should be watering/feeding houseplants regularly now.  You probably don’t have any indoor bulb maintenance this month, so get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine!

fiskars garden pruners

Trees and Shrubs

Prune your Rhododendrons and Azaleas if they have finished blooming {by deadheading them}.  If it is getting hot in your area, most trees can benefit from a deep watering this month.  This is also a good month to put mulch around trees and shrubs that are susceptible to the heat and low water conditions.

bird-netting

Weed and Pest Control

Continue regular weeding.  I prefer natural pest control, so start considering being a good host for beneficial bugs in your garden.  Most nurseries will have ladybugs for purchase too.  If the birds are starting to poke around the strawberries, etc. in your garden, it might be time to invest in a net.  Squash bugs might be making their first appearance too–I like to keep on top of them by squishing them as I see them and practicing co-planting to repel them.

lawn mowing tips

Lawn Care

Regular mowing, watering, feeding {if you prescribe to that sort of thought}, and preventative care {i.e. bill bug and crabgrass prevention} is really all you need to do to keep a nice healthy lawn.

These garden chores are based on my Zone 8a Seattle/Tacoma WA location. Find your garden zone HERE.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Friday Night at the Movies – Stardust

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

The Girl and I are taking a complete detour from our normal Friday night taste and are going to watch Stardust tonight.  It’s about a star {literally from the sky}, who is personified by Claire Danes that falls from the sky into an enchanted world, just beyond “the wall” of a normal English village.  The enchanted world leads to an adventure, magic, and…wait for it…yes, love.  What can I say, we are looking for a little whimsy in our life {and it doesn’t hurt that it’s FREE on Prime}.

Let me know what you think if you decide to watch it–or if you have already seen it.  Did you love it? Hate it? Can’t wait to watch it over and over?

Peace out Girl Scouts & have yourself a great weekend,

~Mavis

PicMonkey Collage

Looking for more movies?

Check out the full list of my Friday Night at the Movies Selections or click on over & look at all the movies on Amazon Instant Video. There are a ton of videos to choose from that will cost you absolutely nothing {nada, zilch, free-o} with Amazon Prime; like thousands of regular movies & TV shows & hundreds of documentaries {Wahoo!}. Get all the details HERE!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel