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Quick Update - New Place, Herbalism, Gardens, and More

by: Jill Richardson

Sat Dec 22, 2012 at 21:22:07 PM PST

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Hi from my new apartment. The LAST new apartment for a long, long time I hope. It's a one bedroom and my only roommates here have fur and whiskers. It's a small building with just three tenants, and they are allowing me to garden in a small area. I've done a bit of work on my new little garden - and I've also had some amazing results from dabbling in herbal medicine that I'd like to share.
Jill Richardson :: Quick Update - New Place, Herbalism, Gardens, and More
My new garden is a little patch of soil that's had nothing done to it for a long, long time. That suits me just fine - but it also means that I won't be growing a bumper crop of tomatoes any time soon unless I'd like to spend an awful lot of money bringing in soil amendments (and I don't). The area slopes downward, and there's a gully that formed underneath the roof where the rain falls.

Our winter rainy season just started, and the weeds are just now springing up. Mostly, I see an awful lot of bermudagrass and sourgrass. The latter is an edible weed that I don't like much because it has a tricky way of reproducing. Each plant grows from a little underground bulb, and as the plant develops, little "bulblets" form on the root. Eventually, each of the bulblets becomes its own bulb and its own plant. That means I have to do an awful lot of digging to eliminate this stupid stuff.

My first initial move was to dig a ditch along an area that is level. From now on, when it rains, the water will run off into the ditch instead of continuing on into the street and the gutter. Then it can seep into the soil. Along my little ditch, I planted a few "hard to kill" plants - thyme, rosemary, and yarrow. A few lavender plants were already established on either side of where I dug the ditch.

I also tossed some cover crop seeds (buckwheat and hairy vetch) out all over the area along with several native wildflower seeds (including California poppies) before the rain began. With luck, some of that will sprout up.

I think the next thing I'd like to do is deal with the gully. I think planting a pomegranate tree right where the water falls from the roof would be a great way to divert the water from continuing to form the gully. I'm choosing a pomegranate because they are self-fertile, they don't get too big, they can deal with heavy pruning and being kept small, and they thrive in our Mediterranean climate. The downside to the pomegranate is that they take 5 years to produce fruit. (A fig would produce fruit quicker, but fig trees get huge.)

My other activity of late is herbalism. I had an unfortunate chance to test my knowledge and skills when I got a nasty cold a few weeks back. Leading up to then, I had been drinking a tea I made myself to boost my immune system and I'd been regularly taking an elderberry syrup I made too. (Elderberry syrup is also an immune booster. And delicious!)

A roommate and I got sick at the same time. She was in bed for a week, I was in bed for a day. I'm pretty sure the difference was the herbs, because my colds usually follow the same pattern and they are never, ever as mild as this one. The one day I spent in bed was truly miserable. Prior to that I had been treating myself for a sore throat, and after that I began working to get all of the "stuff" to drain out of my head, where it gave me a nasty sinus headache. Once I changed strategies, I didn't suffer anymore.

It was incredible, the difference an elementary education in herbalism made. I'm still going to the doctor for serious problems, of course, but for anything mild like a sore throat, cough, etc, I am completely sold on the power of herbs.

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Good luck in your new home (4.00 / 3)
may the days be filled with all things fantastic....good health and green thumbs!

Yes. (4.00 / 1)
A pomegranate tree does sound good, he says from the start of a Philadelphia winter.  His first in many years.

I'm afraid!  Heh.  No.  I'll be okay.  ;)

I hope it's your last move for a long time, too!

yes, last move (4.00 / 1)
I signed a one-year lease, so I'll be here at least that long.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Hope the new place works out well for you. (4.00 / 2)
The pomegranite sounds good, but don't give up on the fig tree idea. You can get dwarf fig trees that do not become towering giants. And they do put out fruit much sooner than the pomegranate.

Whatever you choose, here's wishing you a happy and productive gardening life in your new home.

good call (4.00 / 1)
I've got a spot that isn't technically "mine" targeted as a place to plant a fig. It's on a hillside just across the street from me and no one's gonna use it for anything else anyway.

I'd get a dwarf but the catch is that I'm planning to take cuttings from trees I planted at my ex's place and grow the trees from that. It's free and that fits my budget.  

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Congrats on the new place (4.00 / 2)
I wish I could have a pomegranate but Oregon's not the place for those. So I'll have to settle for figs and mullberries instead.

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

I was wondering about that. (4.00 / 2)
You know, once upon a time they said that about olive and grapes too, though...

[ Parent ]
Actually (4.00 / 2)
Now that you mention that, I went over to One Green World's website and they have a pomegranite that's supposed to be hardy to 10°F. It only gets 5'-6' (doesn't say what the spread is though). I might have to get one of those. Says it will produce fruit 2-3 years after planting. That'd be a pretty cool plant to have on the farm. I don't know if it would actually have ripe fruit in my area, but it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. I think it would have fruit in a year like we had this year. And the flowers are pretty nice looking.  

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
I would take a million figs (4.00 / 1)
in place of a pom. I mean, I love pomegranates... but figs are so much easier to eat!

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

[ Parent ]
Yeah, and they won't plug ya up if you eat too many in one sitting (4.00 / 2)
Been there, done that. :-0

Normal people scare me.... But not as much as I scare them.

[ Parent ]
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