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February 23, 2012

Medicinal herbs in Florida garden

I have to admit, I am a seed junkie; there is no cure. All my garden space is already spoken for, but I am continuing starting new seeds. And if that was not so bad, I am continuing to buy new seeds. Recently, I received a Bountiful Gardens catalog and just had to order some more seeds. Among others, two medicinal herbs caught my attention. First, calendula. It is a beautiful orange flower that attracts pollinators to the garden, as well as dry flowers make aromatic tea that is supposed to be anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and fever-reducing. Sounds like a perfect tea for a cold. I seeded calendula in a nursery container, and a short two weeks later replanted them into the individual cups. The seedlings are very sturdy, so it looks like they would do well direct seeded into the garden:

The next herb is Black Cumin. According to the ancient wisdom, it "cures everything but death". Now, how can you resist planting something like that. The seeds are what you consume to cure everything, so it sounds like an ideal spice, aromatic and health-promoting. These seeds took about ten days to come up, they are not ready to be replanted yet, so I would say, it takes quite a few seeds to direct seed into the garden because there will be losses.

And finally, just by accident, reading an article in Mother Earth magazine, I learned that there is a strain of Hibiscus that if brewed into tea, is a blood pressure lowering agent. Who can resist that! I ordered these seeds from Amazon and seeded them tonight into the nursery container. They like warmish temperature, so now is a perfect time to plant them. These are supposed to be annual, we shall see. In Florida though, annuals might become perennials if not killed by frost.

Now, the best part about herbs and flowers is that they don't have to be planted in a separate part of the garden, but rather inter planted with other vegetable crops. Doing it this way promotes pollination, attracts beneficial insects and beautifies the garden. It's a win-win.


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