Thinking About Planting a Dye Garden?

Good Witches Homestead

Traditional dye plants offer intriguing materials for the gardener who is also a spinner or weaver, or who just wants to experiment with the vast usefulness of the natural world. Nature has its own subtle palette of colors and this little garden represents a few of the dozens of plant dye possibilities, which even include some nuts, fruits, vegetables, and other common foods.

And even if you’re more inclined to pick up some easy powdered dye at the corner store than to make a dye bath from the plants in your garden, you still might appreciate this connection to history and tradition. All of these plants are desirable garden plants.

About Dye Plants

A separate garden isn’t necessary to grow dye plants, as you can incorporate them into an existing flower border or bed (and you might unknowingly be growing dye plants already), but this small corner bed can give…

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A Passion For Herbs

Good Witches Homestead

Herbs are a fascinating group of plants with a history of cultivation stretching back to the dawn of civilization. Once the herb garden was a practical project, necessary for supplying flavorings for the kitchen and medicines for the family. Today, gardeners are growing herbs for medicinal purposes and for their attractive looks, pleasing fragrances, and tasty flavors. Whether your interest is kindled by taste, aroma, beauty, or history, you’ll find herbs a satisfying addition to your garden.

What is a Herb?

Traditionally, herbs have been defined as plants that are useful to people. The oregano and thyme on your pizza are herbs just as the ornamental foxglove, from which we once extracted the medicine digitalis, is a herb. The insecticide pyrethrin is derived from the painted daisy, making it a herb as well. The list goes on and on; we use herbs and herb products every day.

Choosing Herbs:

In…

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Already Thinking About Designing A Herb Garden?

Good Witches Homestead

There are many books written on the various types of herb gardens. Invest in at least one good book on growing herbs that includes garden tips, what herbs to use for what purpose, and harvesting guidelines. Several types of gardens with plant suggestions are outlined below. You may notice that some herbs appear in more than one garden type. This is because herbs are versatile and have many uses.

Culinary Herb Gardens

Historically, a culinary garden is planted as close to your kitchen door as possible. This allows you to step outside and harvest the particular herb you need for the dish you are preparing. If you have too much shade, or your hardscaping won’t allow you to plant right outside your door, you can add culinary herbs to the vegetable garden or plant a container garden instead. Culinary gardens are generally governed by what the planter uses the most…

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12 Popular Christmas Plants

Good Witches Homestead

Plants such as holly, ivy, and mistletoe had been used in celebrations long before the advent of Christianity and the Christmas celebrations we know today. Evergreens were used to ward off evil spirits and celebrate new growth during the Winter Solstice Festival as early as ancient times.

As Christian traditions became prevalent in western Europe, greenery was kept as part of the celebrations but ascribed new religious meanings. If you’re curious why today we decorate the Christmas tree, or how mistletoe became the excuse to steal kisses, and what new plants have been gaining popularity as Christmas plants lately, now is the time to make yourself a nice cup of tea and scroll through the gallery of Christmas plants we’ve assembled.

Rosemary

rosemary

The quintessential holiday herb, rosemary is as classic as the Christmas tree. Its association with Christmas dates back long before the poster child poinsettia had anything to do…

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The Lessons of Nature at the Winter Solstice

The Druid's Garden

In the fall, I always feel like I’m fighting against the coming dark at the time of the winter solstice, and each year, I have to learn the lesson anew.  This year proved particularly challenging for a few reasons. After the time changes at Daylight Savings time, and the sun starts setting at 3:30pm.  It is down by 4:30 and completely dark by 5:15pm. As a homesteader, in preparation for spring planting and the winter to come, there always seems to be so much to do.  Bringing in the harveset, preparing the greenhouse, preparing and clearing garden beds, stacking wood, cleaning gutters, shoring up the hen house, and doing all of the necessary multitude of other preparations for the coming winter.  As the fall deepens, each day, the light continues to wane, and there is less light each day to work with. On many days when I go to work…

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Food as Medicine Update: Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Apiaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Widely available at most supermarkets, the common root vegetable carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus, Apiaceae) is a biennial plant with erect, green stems and fine, feathery leaves.1 The plant produces densely clustered white blossoms in an umbrella shape, which is typical of plants in the Apiaceae family. The edible taproot comes in a variety of colors: orange is the most widely available in stores, but the root can also be white, yellow, red, or purple.2

The modern carrot is a domesticated cultivar of wild carrot, Daucus carota, also known by the common name Queen Anne’s lace. Indigenous to Europe and southwestern Asia, frost-tolerant carrots are now cultivated in a wide range of environments.1 Carrots are popular with home gardeners due to their colorful varieties as well as their hardiness.

Phytochemicals and Constituents

Favored for their sweet flavor and versatility, carrots contain a vast array…

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Nature’s Solution To Staying Healthy This Winter Season

Greetings!

It’s no surprise that I love finding, researching, and discussing medicinal mushrooms.  Plenty of research suggests that these wild fungi demonstrate powerful anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral effects, and many experts consider them to be top candidates for immune-system support. 

Here’s what the research says:     

  • A 2012 study from ISRN Oncology found that the Turkey Tail mushroom significantly improved the immune systems of breast cancer patients following conventional treatment.    
  • The Chaga fungus is one of the richest sources of betulinic acid, a compound that has been shown to exhibit anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV, anti-malaria, and antioxidant effects (Current Medical Chemistry, 2005).    
  • A Maitake mushroom extract has been shown to demonstrate protection against diabetes by slowing glucose absorption in the body (Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry, 2013).

And the list goes on and on.

In addition to sharing the videos I film, another passion of mine is creating high-quality wild food supplements using the finest ingredients, including wild harvested mushrooms and locally gathered Pennsylvania spring water. These are all medicines I consume on a routine basis to optimize my health and maintain a robust immune system.

For the next two weeks, I am offering a sale on all medicinal mushroom extracts from the online store.  All products are discounted, and all orders placed in the United States will receive free shipping!

Because I create extractions in small batches to ensure quality, I only have a limited amount available.  Once these tinctures are sold out, I won’t have another batch ready for about 8 weeks.

If you’re seeking new ways to optimize your health, especially for the new year, check out the online store!

And as always, thanks for your support!  I truly appreciate it!
-Adam Haritan

Herb Gardener Gift-Giving Idea: Hori-Hori

The Herb Society of America Blog

I’ve asked five blog contributors to share their favorite herb-related gift ideas.  HSA’s blog will be running one per day during the first week of December. – Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster

By Beth Schreibman-Gehring, Chairman of Education for The Western Reserve Herb Society unit of The Herb Society of America

image2My father had over three acres of the most glorious organic gardens, filled with historic roses, lilies, and every kind of beautiful perennial and herb imaginable. I remember perfect summer evenings when he’d wander his gardens with a cocktail in one hand and a sprinkling hose in the other. He taught me everything I know about growing beautiful gardens organically and with a minimum of intervention.

The funny thing about my father is that he didn’t have a garage full of tools. He wasn’t into the latest, greatest gardening anything, well except for permaculture which really isn’t a latest and greatest secret…

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Sacred Tree Profile: Oak’s Medicine, Magic, Mythology, and Meanings

The Druid's Garden

A glorious oak tree in fall colors! A glorious oak tree in fall colors!

There is nothing quite as majestic as an oak, which is likely why ancient druids met in groves of them to perform their ceremonies.   As I write this, I look at my glorious black oaks, white oaks, and burr oaks in the surrounding landscape and their incredible mantle of gold, tan, crimson and oranges.  Where I live, the oaks keep the green on their leaves through most of the fall season, and begin their transition into color just before Samhain. The oaks and beeches, here, are the very last to lose their leaves–if they lose them at all.  Many of the oaks, especially the younger ones, keep their leaves all winter, dry and crackling, and only drop them before they bud out again in the spring.   Their behavior in the fall and winter months is certainly a testament to their energy and…

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November, Autumn, Fall

Good Witches Homestead

“The name ‘November’ is believed to derive from ‘novem’ which is the Latin for the number ‘nine’.  In the ancient
Roman calendar November was the ninth month after March.  As part of the seasonal calendar November is the
time of the ‘Snow Moon’ according to Pagan beliefs and the period described as the ‘Moon of the Falling Leaves’
by Black Elk.”

Samhain:

“This association of death with fertility provided the theological background for a great number of end-of-harvest festivals celebrated by many cultures across Eurasia.  Like Samhain, these festivals (which, for example, included the rituals of the Dyedy (“Ancestors”) in the Slavic countries and the Vetrarkvöld festival in Scandinavia) linked the successful resumption of the agricultural cycle (after a period of apparent winter “death”) to the propitiation of the human community’s dead.  The dead have passed away from the social concerns of
this world to the primordial chaos of the Otherworld where all fertility has its roots…

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