This is the last post of the year and the growing season is long past. Indeed, I didn't write as much as I wanted to this year about foraging and herbs. While I did go foraging on several occasions, I didn't do as much as I did last year.
This year, I didn't visit Buckthorn Woods. Bellefield was totaled over, yet there was still a path of weeds that remained along the water. When I passed by there (finally!) all of the Stinging Nettle was in seed. I had even hoped to go back after chopping them down, but no such luck!
The Queen Anne's Lace seeds I planted last year took at work, although I didn't uproot them. There were a few Yellow dock plants that I also left and didn't uproot.
My own garden didn't do so well this year for two reasons: 1- it was a cold and rainy June, the time when the growing season starts and 2- I didn't add compost to my containers. I think the second reason was a bigger factor, as the soil microbiome is not the same as in the ground. Speaking of which...
New things this year were:
1. I planted directly in the soil on a small plot of land right behind the upstairs balcony. The balcony leads to the front entrance and it casts a large shadow over the earth. Still, Mallow, Mint, Violets and Chervil managed to do okay. Mallow did really well even in the shade in comparison to Mint! I'll plant more Mallow there next year and perhaps some Mint. I tried to grow Sorrel and Nettle: both of them didn't take ---2 tiny, scrawny plants.
2. I found Red Clover, Tansy, Yarrow and Plantain growing alongside the bike path. The city doesn't spray and it's sort of an odd place for dogs to go do their business as the plants are growing right along the rocky edge of the lake, so I felt the area was pretty safe. I visited there 3 times and this was a new and pleasant way to collect herbs on a local level ---> and by local, I mean really close to home! :)
3. I visited a new field close to a shopping center rather close by. The area was fenced off and one side of the field was close to the sidewalk. There were many plants growing there such as Red Clover, Dock, Wild Aster and Wild Parsnip. I collected Dock seeds (to make a coffee substitute) and Wild Aster flowers (to make a tea) in the early fall when I passed by. There was another field right close by, but I never ventured in to take a peek.
4. I visited a park close to a subway and discovered a Hawthorn tree and a Juniper tree. I missed out on getting a good bounty of Hawthorns as I waited too long before revisiting the area. As for the Juniper berries, I collected as much as could fit into my pockets. Both make excellent teas: Hawthorn for healing the heart (cardio-tonic) and Juniper for flushing out toxins (aka, excellent diuretic).
5. I discovered Horse Chestnuts! Tons of these trees are planted by the city and the large nuts can be turned into an oil (crush nuts first and infuse) for skins conditions and varicose veins AND can be used as laundry soap! I'll be posting that in the Herbal Recipes section, so you can read more about Horse Chestnuts and how to make your own.
6. I never did return to rip out the grass in the community plot I purchased from the city. Not only was I busy during the summer, but I didn't have the heart to be weeding out grass before planting the seeds. The earth would've probably needed to have compost added, and as the garden was a bit far from home, I decided to let it be. My hopes to have my own garden one day are still on the horizon!! :)
7. I visited a large community garden and found a Hickory Nut tree! Indeed, there were many medicinal plants and interesting trees to be discovered. I need to do some further research on Hickory Nuts, although from the tiny bit of knowledge that I've gleaned, I know they are edible and some *tough* nuts to crack!
Winter is on its way, and I have a few plants growing inside. Yes, I never did share all the plants that were growing in my balcony garden this year, but that's okay. Some fared better than others, but in truth, it really wasn't the best growing season.
The plants I have taken inside are Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Mint and Sage. I tried Basil but she isn't too happy with the cold weather. I also brought in 2 pots of Nettle and Comfrey. New leaves of Comfrey are growing in, so she seems to be doing well. The other herbs are okay, although I do find they get "leggy" despite being in front of the patio door where they get in the morning sun.
I also have 2 pots of baby Aloe plants. My Huge Aloe plant had babies! It was rather exciting, as at first there was just one and then suddenly there was two! When she started to topple over to one side to make room for them, I took the babies and gave them each their own space. They both seem to be faring well :)
That's it for the end of this season. I hope next year I'll continue to discover new friends and reacquaint with old "faces!" For now, snowy days mean Mother Nature is resting...at least in this part of the world ;)
Sun is still shining, so keep burnin' bright...whenever and whatever you are doing :)
Curiosity Got The Cat: