Cultivating a personal relationship with the plants living amongst us is
a life enhancing endeavor. For many, this relationship begins in
childhood – exploring the forest floor, playing in your mothers garden
or picking dandelions from between the concrete cracks. There is much
you can learn from plants, and so we grow as our relationship with
them grows. The more time you spend in nature, the more you get to
know who the plants are, experience their different faces through each
season, and understand their patterns. We learn which plants are of
use to us as food and medicine, or a pleasure to see and to smell, and
these are the ones we often choose to live in our gardens.
Tending to a garden is a very rewarding, perhaps therapeutic
experience, and I feel like growing a garden of medicinal herbs has an
extra special quality to it. You are growing a plant, with the
intention of using it for it’s abilities to heal on a physical,
mental, emotional, and spiritual level. To me, this is a relationship
that is a bit different than the ones you’ve had in your garden
That being said, this is the first time I have started my own
medicinal herb garden from seed. I’ve grown plenty of food, and had
relationships with medicinals out in the wild, but this is a new combo
of the two. I really had quite a good time planting, taking care to
hold and to look closely at each set of seeds. I really took pleasure
in observing how incredibly different all the seeds are. Some are so
tiny (ahem-Chamomile) that I found it impossible to plant less than 5
seeds in one spot because they all stuck to my fingers. Then there are
the hairlike Pulsatilla seeds, or the Calendula seeds that look like
ancient fossilized sea creatures (seriously).
Pulsatilla vulgaris (meadow anemone) seeds
Calendula officinalis seeds
Though they all look very different, the thing many herb seeds tend to
have in common is that they are VERY small. When seeding herbs, you
just want to put them on the surface, and lightly press them into the
soil. (soil should be moistened thoroughly before planting) For some
of the bigger seeds, you can press them in a little further and
sprinkle some dirt on top.
It never hurts to do some research on your own and find out what grows
best in your region, and if the seeds you have selected have any
special needs in order to germinate.
Here is a list of what I have planted so far.
So far, calendula, chamomile, oats and california poppy, some of my
favorites, are the only ones to have sprouted. I have now placed them
all on heating pads since the temperature in the greenhouse have been
getting pretty low at night. I look forward to the others peaking
their little heads out of the dirt, and watching each plant on it’s
journey through the life cycle. Now it is time for me to water, watch
and wait to see who pops up!