How I stopped struggling with my herb garden...and how you can too!

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If you’re anything like me you’ve stumbled upon herbal medicine and you want to get in on the fun. When I first started my goal was to grow medicinal herbs and learn to use thing. But my focus was on learning to use them...the growing them was pretty half thought.

How did it all start?

Long long ago, I was introduced to the sight and smell of Yarrow and Comfrey was used to quickly heal a cut that probably would have needed stitches. Today there is not scar to tell this story because Comfrey is awesome!

I remembered herbs were awesome

When I found myself with a yard ripe for growing and three beautiful nieces shortly followed by my own children I remembered how important herbs where to my childhood. My mission was to provide these special littles with the beautiful connection to herbs that I experienced.

I gathered all sorts of information

I bookmarked a ton of herbal websites and bought every herbal book I stumbled upon. I flagged, highlighted and devoured every single one. All overwhelmingly full of knowledge. Not always the same information, sometimes they even contradicted each other. This is where the overwhelm began although I hadn’t realized it yet.

I decided on the herbs I wanted to use.

With all the information I gathered and all the uses I thought I needed or would someday need I made a list of all the herbs I had to have. This list was sort of based on herbs I’d heard of before. I kinda kept in mind the herbs that would grow where I lived.

In all honestly, my list was too long, I had no idea how to grow the herbs I’d chosen and did not have enough space to grow all of these herbs. I was in over my head and had no idea. Starting to sound familiar?

I was not thinking clearly

I had a list but I had no idea what I was in for. I did not think about where I would put these herbs, well not really. I did not realize one herb could do many things, so it wasn’t necessary to have one herb for each need. I was confused when I couldn’t find every herb I was looking for and had no clue where else to look. And I was not thinking about how many plants I would need for a good harvest

Why did I even want to grow the herbs when I could just buy them?

I wanted to grow my own herbs because that’s how I had learned. I didn’t realize you could buy them in more than just capsules at health stores. It was fantastic when I found a few good places to buy herbs to try but I still wanted to be self reliant and grow my own.

I did it all wrong

When I did bring home the plants I was able to locate, I struggled to find space for them in my yard. Most of my herbs died. The ones that did survive could barely be harvested.  I spent most of time learning about 3 herbs and how to use them. One of these herbs grew wild in my yard, it wasn’t even one I had to buy. The saddest part of this story…I did the same thing again the second year.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know

I attempted to plant all of these herbs, mostly in containers, and haphazardly in my yard. Some went in the ground here and there but I didn’t think about what plants needed to survive. I didn’t think about the soil my containers needed. The sun, shade, water or food these herbs would need to really thrive. I did not know what I did not know.

So I decided to learn.

I decided to learn how to garden. I decided to focus on the big picture of what my plants needed to thrive and how I could help them do it. I began to watch the seasons. I started to feel the rhythm of the years. I made mistakes and actually began to learn from them.

I also decided to let go of plants that weren’t needed at our house, like Rue. A very cool plant but I’m pretty sure I’m allergic, at the very least my skin doesn’t like it much. Or catmint, not sure why I grew it in the first place and it’s still growing but I just leave it to do it’s own thing.

It wasn’t what I expected.

I learned that parts of gardening are ridiculously easy and other parts take some planning. Learning how to grow herbs was not at all as hard or confusing as I thought it would be.

It was awesome!

I like routines, systems, plans and over the years of successes and mistakes I realized I had created the perfect system for me. AND I was able to share it with others in a way that allowed them to make it their own.

Because of this system I am now able to...

  • Enjoy the time I spend in my garden working to care for it.
  • Grow enough medicinal herbs to supply my family, share with friends and even sell a few herbal creations at the farmers market.

  • Maintain my herbs from year to year in a frugal, sustainable manner.

  • Grow my garden a little more each year as I discover new needs.

 

So I had to share!

I love sharing how I use my herbs. I love teaching others what herbs are good for and the wonders of these lovely plants. But I realized just knowing how to use them isn’t enough. If the interested parties really wanted to understand the herbs I was sharing with them, they needed to know how to grow their own.

You got this!

So I created a resource for beginner backyard herbalists (like me a few years ago), struggling to grow their own herbs. Grow your Healing Garden is my system broke down into the seasons of the garden so you can learn to grow your own medicinal herb garden. Go check it out if you are ready to grow a bountiful herb garden! You can also get started with the free Your garden Your herbs challenge.

The time is now to grow your garden, the sooner you start making mistakes, the sooner you will learn!