Growing Herbs for Food and Medicine II

CLASS –  Medicinal Herbs: Growing, Harvesting, Making Teas and Tinctures

Email us to reserve your spot, Time and Date TBD

There are so many herbs, and so little space…, so I tried to distill my ten most favorite culinary and medicinal herbs to start growing. There are so many more I’d like to add, so be sure to grow your favorites. Many are used for both food and medicine. (You may notice I can’t count).

Top Culinary Herbs:                            Top Medicinal Herbs:

French Tarragon                                                       Echinacea/Astragalus

Sweet Basil                                                                   Calendula

Arugula                                                                         Peppermint/spearmint

Chives                                                                            Lavender

Thyme                                                                           Chamomile

Garlic                                                                             Valerian

Parsley                                                                          Lemon Balm

Greek Oregano                                                           Oregon Grape root

Fennel                                                                           Licorice root

Rosemary                                                                    Horseradish

When starting an herb garden, decide on a sunny spot, since many herbs need full sun. Next pay attention to soil quality. Much of our NW soil is compacted due to clay, which makes it hard for plant root to receive oxygen and water. Compost and other organic matter can help improve soil texture. (Another practice is to barely loosen the soil with a pitchfork to avoid disturbing valuable microorganisms).

Start a compost pile including leaves and fruit and vegetable scraps, and you’ll never need to purchase compost again.

Some seeds can be started earlier indoors in late March or April in the NW. Tender herbs like basil cannot go outdoors usually until May, but get a head start this way.

A seed starter kit can be purchased, (or re-purpose hard plastic deli containers with lids), to act as a mini-greenhouse. Seed starter mix is lighter than regular potting soil or most garden soil, making it easier for some seeds, such as parsley, to germinate. Add the starter soil to the seed starter kit. Read the back of the seed packets for the depth to plant the seeds, usually 1/8-1/2 inch. Use a light spray bottle to gently soak the soil around the seeds, but not disturb the soil.

Label, then cover and place in a warm spot. On top of a refrigerator is good for germinating seeds. Check each day, and remove the lid once seedlings are up and close to reaching the inner lid. You’ll notice condensation inside, indicating enough moisture, but check beneath the soil with your finger and water when it feels dry.

Place the seedlings, with the lid off, in a sunny spot indoors. Once there are two sets of leaves on each seedling, you can transplant to a 4inch pot or outdoors.

Remember to gradually acclimate seedlings to the outdoors, after no chance of frost. Transplant on a cloudy day to avoid root shock, and remember to gently water every day for the first 4-5 days till established.

Tallest plants at maturity are usually placed to the north to avoid shading the others.

Starting seeds in the ground, plant in smoothed soil, removing small rocks and twigs. Cover, label and water until established, then approximately 3 times a week, depending on how soon they dry out. If it rains, your work is done for you.

Compost or other mulch can be applied to keep weeds down, and moisture in. Also planting close enough so mature leaves touch. Rather than rows, I scatter seed in more of square formation, with the center also planted. Raised beds 4ft wide make it easy to reach to weed and harvest, without stepping on the bed, which compresses/compacts the soil.

Liquid fish fertilizer is my favorite for weekly feeding.

Jan Gagnon

CLASS: Fish Preservation: Canning, Smoking, Freezing

Class date and time TBD based on Tuna Season and Fishermen’s schedules. Email us or give us a call at 503-313-1260 to reserve your spot.

CLASS: Canning Basics

Class date and time TBD, not to start before July

1pm – 4pm

$25 registration fee

There are lots more to come, so check back regularly

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