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Signs of Spring

spinach and chickweed

We have a big patch of green in the middle of the foot of snow in the backyard- a bumper crop of chickweed growing in our cold frame with the spinach I planted last Fall.

Hawkeye still kindof thinks of chickweed as a nuisance, but for me, it’s a favorite!

One of the first plants to appear in Spring, you can eat it like spinach and it’s a very helpful medicinal. Awesome in bodycare too, I love using soothing chickweed in oils and salves for irritated skin.

Learn more about chickweed the way I first did, from herbalist Susun Weed: “Chickweed Is A Star

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Moving Day

wheelbarrow

It’s finally moving day! We’re turning Hawkeye’s photography studio into ‘farm central’ so we can have all our plant projects under one roof. I’m so psyched- I’ll have a big space to play herbal mixtress in and we’ll be able to keep the paperwork organized!

We’re going to start moving into the studio this week, but probably won’t have time to get fully settled in until Summer. Planting season is upon us!

I’ve been seeding kale, chard, and leeks inside this week, and have spinach sprouting in the hoophouse. Lots of spinach over-wintered in our cold frame too, along with a glorious patch of chickweed and a few dead nettle which are flowering.

Serious beauty on a busy road 2/3 mile from downtown…. You could almost call it Paradise 😉

Happy Spring!

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Too Many Roses (a good problem to have)

Rosa mundi
Rosa mundi

Who cares about Roses? With a reputation for being fussy and needy in the garden, I sure didn’t. The tough, hardy ones that take care of themselves (you know, the weeds) are more my style.

But you almost can’t pick up an herbal medicine book and certainly won’t find an herbal cosmetic book that doesn’t include Rose, so a few years back I made a token planting of 1 sprout each of  3 old-fashioned varieties: Apothecary’s Rose (Rosa gallica ‘Officinalis’), Rosa Mundi (Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’), and Rugosa Rose (Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’).

These sweet shrubs turned out to be anything but fussy! Almost a little too robust, the Gallicas throw seed and are having a go at becoming a hedge while the Rugosa sends out runners in every direction! I didn’t pay much attention to them, though, until last Summer.

It was the bees I noticed first. There are so many bees working these flowers it’s actually noisy! Then, the aroma caught me. All throughout the garden I could smell those Roses. Suddenly, I was in love.

I’d only dabbled with Rose in salves and perfumes, so I gathered as many petals as I could in anticipation of Winter experiments: Oils and balms, tinctures and elixirs. Infused into aloe vera, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar. Whatever I could think of!

Today my herbal pantry shelves are brimming with rosy goodness and I can’t figure out how I ever lived without it. “Queen of the Garden” as nickname makes sense to me now.

Though I did intend to clip them back this Spring, I’ve decided instead to let the Roses run wild. Wonder who will be happier with the overflow this Summer, me or the bees….


Roses used topically are wonderful for the skin. And not only for beauty. Rose is a revered healer of wounds and important first aid plant 🙂

Rose flowers: anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-spetic, anti-viral, aphrodisiac, astringent, cardiotonic, decongestant, expectorant, hemostatic, laxative, sedative

Rose hips: anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxident, anti-viral, astringent, cardiotonic, laxative, nutritive, tonic, high in vitamin C


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Spring on the Micro-Farm

Chickweed flowering in Spring
Chickweed flowering in Spring

First year in the expanded garden is off to an amazing start! We took advantage of the unbelievably mild weather and got planting nice and early. Lots of seeds are already sprouting up: radish, hakurei turnip, broccoli raab, mizuna, peas.

The star of the show for me, though, is the Chickweed. She has spread from a few isolated strands in a corner to several little patches throughout the garden. And right now, she’s full of tiny white flowers. A glorious Springtime sight!

(The largest, most succulent patch is taking over one side of a meant-for-vegetables, big raised bed. Hawkeye keeps mentioning it’ll have to be moved. I haven’t told him yet I’m letting it stay. You can never have enough Chickweed, right? Plus, I figure if Chickweed is thriving there, it’s too shady for veggies anyway…. )

I depend on Chickweed for my bodycare, but today, all I can think about is pesto!

Chickweed Pesto Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh Chickweed
  • ½ cup fresh Basil (or Parsley, Cilantro, Arugula, Garlic Mustard, whatever green you’ve got)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower seeds, pine nuts or almonds
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup olive oil

My method isn’t too fancy. I add the seeds/nuts to the blender first and chop them up, then add and chop the garlic, then add the greens, salt and oil and blend it until it’s smooth.

(Warning, pesto can be addictive ;))

Happy Spring!