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From Garden to Soothing Oil: How To Make Lavender Oil in Your Kitchen

With the increasing change and unrest in the world, resilience is a big topic and easy to use self-care tools are required for all of us to stay the course and take care of ourselves and our communities. We are only as strong as our weakest link. So many people are stepping up their self-care and herbal medicine making right now. Knowing how to rejuvenate and restore is big medicine for these times.

Not only are herbal oils themselves an antidote for what we are experiencing, there are so many little-known techniques for using the oils to help you ground, center and find the alignment of what is true for you now. We are partnering with our friend Kami McBride to help bring this herbal knowledge more into awareness so more people can benefit from such simple and inexpensive herbal self-help techniques.

Kami is doing a free workshop on herbal infused oils. She has 34 years of experience perfecting the art of making herbal oils, if you are at all interested in refining the quality of your herbal oils, her teachings on herbal oils are the most comprehensive you will find anywhere.

Lavendar Oil Kami

It’s amazing at how many long-time oil makers are talking about how they didn’t even know that this kind of upgrade was available for their herbal oils.

Also, if you are just starting out with your herbal oil making, this workshop will be invaluable. Her free workshop is only up for a short while, so make sure to take a few minutes now and gather up the nuggets you won’t find anywhere else.

Power Up Your Harvest by Adding Flowers to Your Garden

If you could add something to your garden that would naturally deter pests, entice pollinators, increase soil fertility, and add beauty to your garden…you’d want that, right?

What if we told you that thing would also increase your joy both in your garden and your home?

That it wouldn’t require much additional space, planning, time, or money?

That it could immediately shift your mood to a feeling of wonder and wellbeing?

FLOWERS are the most underestimated element to creating a thriving, diverse garden.

Sunflower Field

When many people are just getting started gardening, they often overlook flowers because they’re so focused on growing food. However, experienced gardeners know that growing flowers alongside your vegetables and herbs can have a BIG impact on the productivity, sustainability, and beauty of your garden.

In this video, Stacey walks you through all of the wonderful benefits you can find when you include flowers in your garden:

🌻 Increase your vegetable production by inviting pollinators into your space!
🌼 Grow your own fertilizer and compost.
🌻 Have medicine on demand growing right in your garden.
🌼 Increase the biodiversity of your space to deter pests and entice beneficial insects.
🌻 Add beauty to your garden with pops of color, and bring beauty inside with
bouquets!
🌼 Stop and smell the flowers: boost your mood with natural flower fragrances.
🌻 Embrace the unknown by bringing home new flowers that call out to you.

Mother nature is all about making connections! The productivity of your vegetable plants and the nutrient density of your food depend on the interactions between soil, water, insects, and other plants in your garden. Understanding how nature beings interact in your garden can help you harness the power of biodiversity so you can find more joy in your garden with less work.

But what flowers should you add?

The answer is…yes!

The flowers you add are all up to YOU: your goals, your space, your idea of beauty! A little bit of research and intuition are all you need. Grab that gorgeous flower that calls to you at a local nursery. Join a foraging group and learn about native flower species in your area. Incorporate medicinal flowers like echinacea and calendula for your foray into herbal medicine.

To help get you started, this video includes five important considerations when you’re choosing which flowers to grow:

🌻 What kind of ecosystem are you nurturing?
🌼 How much space do you have, and how can you use it best?
🌻 Do you want to grow perennials or annuals?
🌼 What flowers spark JOY and fill you with excitement and wonder?
🌻 Pick the right plant for the yields you want!

The video also includes the #1 mistake to avoid so you can get all the blooms without any bummers or blunders!

>>> Download the Adding Flowers to Your Garden Cheat Sheet now

Whether you’re looking for more abundance, health, beauty, connection, or joy in your garden, there’s a flower for that! That’s why Stacey calls flowers “food for your soul.”

Enjoy your blossoming bounty!

3 Easy to Grow Culinary Herbs with Kami McBride

3-Easy-to-Grow-Culinary-Herbs

Kami McBride has been a long-time friend of Grow Your Own Vegetables and we are excited to share her with you in today’s article. 

Kami-McBride-in-garden

“Hey Kami, which kitchen herbs are the easiest to grow?”

I get this question a lot, so I thought I would write about the 3 absolute easiest culinary herbs to grow, even if you have had no success with growing herbs.

These are the 3 go-to herbs that my students have had the most success with over the years.

You can do this.

Oregano

Oregano

I have a friend that recently moved into an old homestead that had herb and vegetable gardens that were tended to for decades. The house was empty for a couple years and the gardens were neglected, no watering, no weeding, nothing.  Which herb do you think had overgrown the garden? 

Yep. Oregano.  Everywhere, oregano. I actually had never seen so much oregano. While all the other herbs needed to be watered and were long gone, oregano was holding on and actually thriving!

So if you feel like you can’t grow anything and all your gardening attempts end in failure. Oregano will turn that around! I have to weed out the oregano from my garden otherwise it would just dominate the whole place.

Gardening Tips for Oregano: Oregano does well in full sun or partial shade and somewhat dry, well-drained soil. Do a deep watering once every week or two and then let it dry out. It doesn’t need as much water as most herbs. Oregano spreads easily and is an evergreen plant that can winter over in hard frost.

Garlic-chives-bloom

Garlic chives also known as society garlic

I love to decorate my food with the pink/purple flowers of garlic chives. The fresh leaves are spicy and I use them in my cooking more often than regular chives. They are delicious added to any soup, salad or savory dish. Check out my blog on spicy edible flowers. https://kamimcbride.com/decorate-food-six-spicy-edible-flowers/

Garlic chives are anti-microbial, helping to fight colds and infections. They are also carminative, garnishing your food with garlic chive leaves or flowers helps you with digesting your food.

Gardening Tips for Garlic Chives: Garlic chives like full sun and a little shade. They are a hearty herb that grows in just about any kind of soil. They like moderate watering and well-drained soil. This plant tolerates hot and cold weather and will spread in your garden. This plant has white or purple flowers and both can be used interchangeably.

Peppermint

Peppermint

Do you think of peppermint as a culinary herb?  Tea is usually the first thing to come to mind, but peppermint is a staple culinary herb in our kitchen. You can add fresh or dried peppermint to meatballs, hamburger patties, marinades for any kind of poultry or lamb. Minced peppermint is delicious mixed into yogurt or smoothies. It also goes really well mixed into quinoa and kale salads.

Gardening Tips for Peppermint: Peppermint likes partial shade. It likes some sun, but in hot climates, make sure it gets some afternoon shade.  It likes rich soil but actually I have grown it in all kinds of soil. Keep it moist but be careful where you plant it. Peppermint sends out tons of runners and can take over your entire garden. This is one that you may want to plant in a pot so you can keep control of it. Plant peppermint in an area of your garden that gets the most water. Peppermint grows best along creeks and damp areas.

These 3 herbs can get you started growing your kitchen herbs. Try starting them in pots. Don’t put them together in pots though. Give each of them their own pot! Put them in a sunny spot on your porch, that way you can easily just grab a few snips here and there to add to your meals. Let me know how your gardening adventures go!

Kami McBrides’ mission is to inspire a cultural shift that embraces taking care of our bodies with healing herbs, a deep connection with the earth, and a lifestyle that passes this knowledge on to our children.  She is the author of the much loved book, The Herbal Kitchen, and over the past 30 years has helped thousands of people demystify the world of herbal medicine and learn just how simple it can be to use the healing power of their garden for self-care, prevent illness, and take care of common ailments.

Kami developed and taught the herbal curriculum for UCSF School of Nursing and her work is centered in sustainable wellness practices, creating self-reliance and revitalizing our relationship with the plant world.

Interested in learning more from garden experts like Kami? Check out our Best of Superfood Garden Summit Collection. It’s an inspiration celebration! Think of it as the red carpet of garden masters… in overalls and boots. Kami shares more on Herbal Medicine.

Gardening with Kids, Guest Presentation by Amy Landers

Children have a way with bringing a new level of wonderment and fascination to a garden.We invite you to unleash your inner child and experience your garden all over again. Take a pause on the garden to-do list to experience the awe that every facet of your garden brings.

Below is a presentation we are bringing back from our archives from a few years ago with Amy Landers, “5 Hacks to Garden with Kids WITHOUT Crushing Plants, Complaining & Chaos.”

Inside this presentation, Amy shares five ways to enjoy the garden together. She shares how to successfully garden with kid of all ages. 😁👨‍🌾

Waking Your Inner Gardener – Growing Food Made Easy with Food Revolution Network

We are excited to share with you this week’s episode of Food Revolution Network’s Whole Life Action Hour Series:

Join Stacey Murphy and Ocean Robbins as they share Waking Your Inner Gardener – Growing Food Made Easy

Get free access at https://wlc.foodrevolution.org/broadcasts/ 

Growing your own food is one of the most powerful actions you can take when it comes to your health–and the Earth’s! . As Ocean shares, “You’re increasing self-reliance, increasing community resilience, you’re contributing to the environmental sustainability of your lifestyle, and you’re giving yourself access to a steady supply of super healthy foods.” 

Stacey shares how gardening is “a revolutionary act you can do right at home.” Growing your own vegetables and herbs ensures you’re eating the most nutrient-rich food. 

Food starts to lose its nutrients the moment you harvest it. Filling your plate with freshly harvested vegetables and fruits has an enormous  impact on your health.

Begin experiencing garden-to-table nourishment today!

Access this inspiring conversation here: https://wlc.foodrevolution.org/broadcasts/ 

Meet Susan and her Life-Changing Garden – Ready for a long HEALTHY life

Susan is a dietician who knows that nutrition is absolutely fundamental to a healthy life. So Susan started gardening right at home…  And eventually bought a whole farm to expand what she could grow!

With the new location, Susan and her husband are running into some typical challenges, experiencing new pests and wondering how they can work with their climate better.

Susan shares “To me the soil is the gut of the earth. Just like our guts, it needs to be very diverse in microbes, same thing as us. And the healthier I get the soil, the healthier the plants will be, and the healthier I will be.”​

Watch the conversation here for some climate tips (and garden advice from a Dietician!).

Tell us in the comments below:
An ah-ha that inspired you during this video!