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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MAKING YOUR OWN HERBAL MEDICINE

Good Witches Homestead

Perhaps you have been thinking about making your own herbal medicine, but you have questions. Isn’t it dangerous? Do you need lots of sophisticated equipment? And what about training? You need to be highly skilled to make your own medicines – right?

Actually, making safe and effective herbal medicines at home is an ancient tradition practiced worldwide. In many cultures, everyday ailments have been treated with handmade herbal medications for generations; in fact, only recently have medicines not been made in the home. Are herbal medicines safe? Yes, they are perfectly safe – especially when you prepare and use them as recommended by an experienced herbalist. The recipes and procedures on this website are ones we’ve enjoyed and tested for years, and the herbs suggested are time-honored and effective.

herbal medicine

All it takes to make herbal preparations like salves, creams, and tinctures is a kitchen with common appliances like a blender, measuring spoons, and saucepans…

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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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Eleven Old-Fashioned Potpourri Mixes You Can Make {Lavender Potpouriis}

Good Witches Homestead

Cottage Garden Potpourri

1 cup dried lavender flowers
2 cups dried pink rose petals {preferably from extremely fragrant old Damask, Alba, Centifolia and Moss roses like ‘Gloire de Guilan’, ‘Ispahan’,’Marie Louise’, ‘Petite Lisette’, ‘Quatre Saisons’, ‘The Rose of Kazanlik’, ‘Felicite Parmentier’, ‘Belle Amour’, ‘Fantin Latour’, ‘Old Cabbage Rose’, ‘Mme Louis Leveque’ and ‘Gloire des Mousseaux’}
2 cups dried lavender leaves
1 cup dried clove pink petals
1 cup dried rosemary leaves
2 cups dried rose geranium leaves {choose from ‘Dr. Livingstone’, ‘Dwarf Rose’, ‘Attar of Roses’, ‘Round Leaf Rose’, P. graveolens}
1 cup dried blue delphinium flowers
2 tablespoons orris root chips
1 cup dried mignonette flowers
1 cup dried Westmoreland thyme
1 cup dried wallflowers
1 cup dried violets
1 cup sweet myrtle leaves
1 cup dried jasmine flowers
2 cups dried double hollyhock flowers
20 drops essential oil of lavender
20 drops essential oil of rose geranium

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Making Potpourris for Yule Celebrations {DIY Recipes Included}

Good Witches Homestead

Potpourris {‘fermented in a pot’.}

The term potpourri (pot-pour-ri) is basically a French expression. When literally translated into English, it denoted ‘fermented in a pot’. And this is what actually makes a damp potpourri – a moist, aromatic, herb-like substance that is fermented, normally with salt and in a pot. The dry potpourri, a companion of moist potpourri, is a blend of dried up aromatic herbs, spices, flowers, and additional bits and pieces. The majority of the dry potpourris do not contain any salt and the method of making them is easy in comparison to the process involved in making moist potpourris.

The ingredients of any potpourri – dry or moist, largely depend on the preference of the individual making it. In fact, one has a great scope of experimenting while making a potpourri. Since the aptitude to distinguish scent as well as the individual reaction to aroma is an…

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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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Black Cumin Seed Oil

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Gaining popularity these days as a weight loss aid and natural healing agent, black cumin seed oil comes with a centuries-old wellness pedigree. Black cumin seeds were popular among the Egyptian pharaohs and were even found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. Black cumin seed oil — sometimes called black seed oil — boosts the immune system, promotes balanced blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and wards off harmful organisms. The book of Isaiah in the Bible mentions cumin (caraway) seed, and reportedly, the Prophet Mohammed said, “Hold on to the use of the black seed for indeed it has a remedy for every disease except death.”

What Is Black Cumin Seed Oil?

Black cumin seeds come from the plant Nigella sativa, which is part of the buttercup family and native to countries throughout southern Europe and southern Asia. Some people call it black seed, caraway, or kalonji.

Black cumin seed oil…

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Winter: Natural Home Remedies for Sore Throat

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Sore throats are one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor and they tend to affect children the most. A sore throat is usually considered a minor complaint until you have one and every swallow induces pain — pain that may seem unbearable. Unfortunately, the only option is to treat the symptoms and rest until you recover. Fortunately, there are many natural remedies that can soothe a sore throat and there’s a good chance you already have many of them in your home.

Common Sore Throat Causes

There are many potential causes of a sore throat, viruses are the most common. In fact, viruses account for about 95% of sore throats in both adults and children under the age of 5. Other common causes of a sore throat include:

  • Allergies
  • Dry air
  • Pollution
  • Smoking
  • Exposure to people with a sore throat
  • Cold
  • Flu
  • Strep throat (bacterial)
  • Tonsillitis

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