Haven’t you seen or been in one of those long lines at the grocery store, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Maybe fruit and vegetables are some of the items you are waiting in line to purchase?
Why not consider planting your own vegetables and fruit?
Believe it or not, it takes between 7-31 days for many of your favorite vegetables to grow from seed to harvest. Some take longer, but in a very short amount of time you can see progress from your gardening efforts.
Growing an edible garden is a great activity to pursue since we have more time at home than usual. What we have been doing is planting fruit and vegetable gardens on any patch of available land, large or small or in any container. You can use a container on your balcony, if you are in an apartment, or on a left-over piece of dirt, long neglected and unused, or you can repurpose a flower garden into an edible garden.
In difficult times like these, gardening can provide not only a diversion from our Netflix binges, but it can assist with healing stress and anxiety, not to mention it is also a great form of exercise.
Gardens generate life and cultivating a garden provides useful metaphors that can assist us to journey through these times with more ease and grace. Planting a seed, nurturing it and watching it grow provides value to and reflection on the miracles of life and allows, for even a few minutes, a distraction from the newscasts and broadcasts of doom.
So get your gardening tools ready and Let’s Grow Together.
Drink Lots of Herbal Teas
Two of the tips provided by the CDC to assist with managing your health during this COVID-19 crisis is to drink lots of herbal teas and find ways for you to stay calm. Gardening can help with both. In addition to the activity provided by growing vegetables, you can grow your own herbs for your teas. You may even already have some decorative plants in your garden which you can harvest and use for edible purposes or teas, or process them to use to soothe certain bodily discomforts.
Purchase Seeds + Prepare Soil
You can order seeds online at Amazon.com. Make sure they are organic, non-GMO seeds such as the Medicinal Herb Garden Starter Kit from Garden Republic or Heirloom Vegetable Seeds from Pure Pollination, or any other grower. Or you can brave the long lines and purchase organic, non-GMO seeds from Home Depot, Lowes or Armstrong Nurseries.
While you wait for your seeds, you can prepare your garden area by removing the weeds, turning over the soil to aerate the soil and adding compost or soil amendments to provide a healthy base for your seeds.
Generally speaking, after you plant your seeds, be sure to water the seeds often while they germinate so that they don’t dry out and throughout the summer, be sure to water the plants evenly.
We will give you a few plants here to get you started and follow up in the next few weeks with other ideas.
Cabbage (Brassica oleracea)
Sprouting Time: Cabbage seed germinates best when exposed to a constant temperature of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature range, seeds will sprout within 3-4 days.
Growing from Seed: Directly sow the seeds outdoors in soil rich in organic matter that is well-drained. Adding a moderate amount of nitrogen-rich blood meal or cottonseed meal to the soil ahead of planting will enhance leafy growth. Cabbage requires regular, even watering. Uneven watering can result in stunted or cracked heads. Give cabbage 1 to 1½ inches of water every week. As plants reach maturity, cut back on watering to avoid splitting heads. Fertilize cabbage at midseason when plants are established with a high nitrogen fertilizer such as 10-5-5 or feed plants a dilute solution of fish emulsion every two weeks. Grow cabbage with beets, celery, fragrant herbs, onions, potatoes; avoid pole beans, strawberries and tomatoes. Cabbage will be ready for harvest in 80 to 180 days from seed depending on the variety.
Edible Uses: Cabbage is high in fiber and contains powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols and sulfur compounds which protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and can reduce chronic inflammation. Cabbage contains insoluble fiber, which keeps the digestive system healthy by providing fuel for friendly bacteria, treating intestinal problems and promoting regular bowel movements. Cabbage is also used to fight asthma and morning sickness. Fermented cabbage in the form of sauerkraut has been effective for stabilizing blood sugar and in the treatment of stomach cancers.
Other Uses: Helpful for mastitis and leaves are used to treat wounds, leg ulcers and painful joints.
Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
Sprouting time: One season
Growing from Seed/Rhizome: Goldenseal is native to North America. Goldenseal can be grown from seed, rhizomes, or a root. Propagation from seed is unreliable and unpredictable, Propagating Goldenseal from rhizomes is easier because it requires less effort and attention. Divide the Goldenseal rootstock into 1/2 inch or larger pieces, and plant them 8 inches apart. Best to plant the rhizomes in the fall, about 2 to 3 inches deep, much like other bulbs and tubers. (You may be able to find seedlings in the Spring, so purchase those). Plant the rhizome pieces in your container or growing bed so that their buds are facing up, and then cover them with a little bit of soil so that you don’t leave them exposed. Goldenseal prefers a shady site and soil that is rich with organic matter. You also want your soil to be well drained because Goldenseal can’t tolerate any overly wet medium. Once established, Goldenseal is relatively drought tolerant but benefits from weekly irrigation during warm, dry weather. After nearly 4 to 5 years of growth from seedlings or rhizomes, your goldenseal root would be ready for harvest.
Edible Uses: Goldenseal is an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-viral and immune booster herb. Native Americans used Goldenseal root to relieve tummy complaints such as ulcers, diarrhea and constipation, as well as a variety of skin conditions and rashes. Goldenseal helps remove toxins from the body and purify the kidneys and urinary tract. Today, the herb is often used to treat colds, nasal congestion and respiratory ailments, frequently in combination with Echinacea.
Other Uses: Topical application of Goldenseal root treats skin ulcers, boils, rashes and general skin irritations.
Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
Sprouting time: 2-4 weeks
Growing from Seed: Lavender grows 1-3 feet high in gardens. Lavender seeds can take two weeks to one month to sprout. Plant the seeds in moist soil and make sure the soil stays wet while you wait for them to sprout. Keep the seeds in a sunny area and while they are sprouting, give them plenty of light.
Edible Uses: Several parts of the lavender are edible including the leaves, flowering tips and petals. They can be used as condiments in salads and make a refreshing tea. Oil processed from the flowers can be used as a food flavoring.
Other Uses: Lavender is an important relaxing herb, having a soothing effect on the nervous system and eases headaches. You can add whole fresh or dried flowers to bathwater or place flowers in a gauze tie-string bag and place under your pillowcase at bedtime.
Lemon Grass (Fever Grass) (Cymbopogon citratus)
Sprouting time: Seeds should germinate in 5 to 21 days.
Growing from Seed/Stalks: Lemongrass is a tropical grass that thrives in summer heat. Use seedling trays and press the seeds (1/4″) into pre-moistened, sterilized seed starting mix. Keep the seeds moist and in a warm spot until they germinate. Transplant them to a pot when they’re about six inches tall, spacing them about 2-3 inches apart, and making sure they’ll have plenty of space for good root growth. If this is too much work, it is best to get some stalks of lemongrass at the Chinese market and cut them and put the stalks in a jar of water. They will sprout roots, and you can plant those in your garden. Lemongrass will naturally propagate itself, once it is established. Small stalks of new plants will begin to grow off the side of existing stalks.
Edible Uses: Lemongrass is a multi-functional culinary perennial herb that originated in India and in the tropical regions of Asia. Lemongrass leaves are commonly used as a tea to benefit the digestive system. Lemongrass also contains substances that are thought to relieve pain and swelling, reduce fever, improve levels of sugar and cholesterol in the blood and have antioxidant properties. It has been noted that this tea proved beneficial to patients in the fight against the COVID-19 virus in China.
Other Uses: Lemongrass essential oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and it is effective against infection caused by the fungus Malassezia furfur, which is associated with dandruff. Lemongrass has other benefits and uses including compounds that repel insects. Also, studies on the clinical relevance of lemongrass to anxiety treatment have shown positive results.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Sprouting Time: 2-6 weeks
Growing from Seed: Plant seeds in moist, rich soil with plenty of organic matter about 6 to 8 inches apart. For thinner plants, plant about 6 to 10 inches apart. Try to pick an area that is weed-free; that way, you’ll be able to see the parsley sprouting. It will do well in full sun or partial shade. Parsley seeds usually take between two and three weeks. In some cases, the seeds can take up to six weeks to sprout.
Edible Uses: Both the leaf and the root are used in Mediterranean and European cuisines for garnishing, on sandwiches, in salads and when making stocks. It is considered a superfood juice and it is known for its anti-bacterial effects. This natural herb also helps to move mucous through the body. Parsley brings an antioxidant effect as it contains myristicin, an essential oil with anti-inflammatory properties. In studies, myristicin has proven to inhibit the formation and growth of tumors. There are a number of gastrointestinal conditions that parsley and parsley oil can help to ease, including constipation, indigestion, inflammation, gas, nausea and bloating. It is best to use the entire plant, including the root when making a tea to sooth digestive issues. Parsley has nutrients like vitamin A, C, and K, as well as niacin and folate, that each act in different ways on the immune system and which help fight infection in the body. This helps boost the overall strength of the immune system.
Other Uses: When chewed after a meal, it also promotes good dental health. Add a parsley infusion to bathwater to soothe and cleanse.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Spouting Time: 10-14 days
Growing from Seed: Peppermint was first cultivated in 1750 near London, England as an experimental hybrid between watermint and spearmint. To cultivate, choose a location that is partly sunny and partly shady. Perhaps best to plant in a container as peppermint can be invasive. Sow the peppermint seeds approximately 1/2-to 1/8-inch deep, anytime from May through July. Keep the soil moist but not wet constantly. Thin the plants when they are approximately 2 inches high. Transplant the seedlings about 12 inches apart and harvest the peppermint when the plants are about 12 inches tall. Pick the larger outside leaves as the plant grows to encourage more leaf growth.
Edible Uses: Peppermint makes an excellent tea, and adds flavor to many foods. It is also very good for digestive problems. Peppermint is a natural decongestant. One of the herb’s active ingredients is menthol, which thins mucus and will therefore loosen phlegm and reduce coughs. It is soothing to sore throats. Peppermint of course is a must-have for your mojito!
Other Uses: The oil from the peppermint plant can be rubbed on your forehead and temples to relieve a headache.
Under the California’s Executive Order N-33-20 and the State’s Public Health Officer, Sacred Garden Designs is considered as one of the “essential service” providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
If you need help to design and install your edible or herb garden, please give us a call at (310)-980-2770 or contact us by filling out the form on our CONTACT PAGE