Over the next few days I am going to cover the lost art of Apothecary. You see many years ago we; well not you or I but our bygone relatives did, made their own soaps and shampoos, medicines and so much more. Over the years we have let the big corporations take over this. Why? Well it is much easier to go out and buy a bottle of something then it is to create it right? The issues with that though are many. I don't know about you but I can't afford to buy every product I want or see anymore. Not to mention of course the amount of chemicals in them that we keep introducing to our bodies. It's no wonder people are getting more chronic illnesses because we keep getting away from nature and the natural things that made our ancestors strong like bulls. Believe it or not we are one with nature. We are part of it and yet we keep building concrete jungles to separate ourselves from it.
This first edition of the Artful Apothecary is going to cover building your own windowsill herb garden so you too can be an urbanite farmer. Now let me tell you that in Georgia the ground is mostly red clay. It makes for long hours of using a pick or machinery to dig through it and then you have to go out and buy black dirt and other things like manure to mix with it because nothing of any quality will grow in the red clay. Not to mention a person with disabilities like myself just can't handle the heat and the drudgery. But I would still like to reap the rewards of fresh herbs for my Apothecary concoctions. This makes a windowsill garden prime real-estate. How ever before we get started a word of warning to cat owners such as myself. Cats love to dig in these gardens and chomp on the leaves. Be sure you do not plant anything poisonous to harm kitty. Or you can create a window sill box that Kitty can't get into. May I suggest planting greens just for kitty that you keep at his/her level to help discourage them from getting into yours. Here is a link to ASPCA's 19 of the most common poisonous plants for cats:
Ok now that we have covered Kitty and thankfully to our diligence its' not with dirt. We will move on to the windowsill garden. Above I showed you a picture of some sample ideas for your window garden. Below there are some additional ideas. You do not have to have separate containers for each and every herb and to be honest if you have the room to make one bed like the photo below left, it will be the easiest because it will stay moist longer and require a little less care. Just make sure you mark what each plant type is if you do this and do keep them trimmed back.
You can use anything for containers. Plants are not too fussy but do require proper drainage. You can achieve this by making sure you have a couple of small holes in your containers at the bottom or add rocks to cover the bottom then cover with dirt. The reason for the drainage is
to ensure water doesn't stay pooled around your roots so they don't get root rot and also to discourage mold growth. I have created a slide video below of some fun planter ideas and a lot of them are Kitty focused.
Medicinal herbs are among the most rewarding of garden projects, providing both a dose of aromatherapy and the materials to make high-quality, cost-effective herbal products. Plus nurturing and talking to plants and making your own remedies are healing activities in themselves. Depending on how fast you want to grow your garden will determine how you should go about it. If you start from seed it could be a year before some of your plants are ready to yield so it's best to begin with a nursery transplant. Start your own apothecary garden with plants such as lavender, chamomile, mint, lemon balm, rosemary and thyme -- and make remedies for stress, digestion, immunity, and more. Read up about each of your herbs because some of them like to take over a garden like mint.
So now that you have a project to do, go forth and build your gardens with confidence. The next edition will discuss harvesting your herbs and drying as well as some ideas of how to use your herbs for medicinal purposes. The third edition will cover 4 Steps for Creating Your Own Apothecary, including presentation, bottling and label ideas. I will of course include some recipes too so don't miss the next addition in the Artful Apothecary.
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