April 22, 2018
Good Sunday Morning!
This morning as I listen to the rain on the metal roof I can’t help but think about all the plants that will be springing up from the ground after this much needed rainfall.
So that got me to thinking. I have a large # of Friends on Social Media from all over the world.
What season are you in at this time?
I know that our Kiwi friends from down under are experiencing fall now whereas those of us in the North American continent are experiencing Spring.
Spring is the time that we will gather the leaves and flowers of the plants we want to harvest. But Spring isn’t the only time!
Mints and edible weeds are great examples of leaves to harvest before flowering.
So, let’s talk about when is the best time to harvest plants for what we are wanting.
Well, what is it you are wanting?
That is the 1st question to ask yourself.
Are you wanting to create Teas, tinctures or maybe you want to make salves, ointments or balms. Either way, what you are wanting will depend on what and when you harvest.
Harvesting leaves prior to flowering is excellent for mints with lots of leafy greens. Such as Lemon Balm and all the other mints.
When harvesting flowers, especially wild flowers, take care to select the healthiest flower head and don’t take all of them. My rule of thumb is 1 in 10. Nature needs them too. 🌸🐿🦌🐇
Now, how to know exactly what part to keep.
That will depend on your herb and also what you are making.
Let’s start with leaves.
The leaves of your mint families are best used prior to flowering.
Yet, sometimes we want the flowers themselves.
Calendula, for example, we will utilize the entire flower head for all the sticky resin to be infused into our oil. We can also pick the flower petals themselves and dry them for Teas.
The Roots of some plants is where the best medicine is. Dandelions, Echinacea, American ginseng and Burdock - oh ya baby! That pesky plant withcthe humongous thick leaves are medicine and food!
Pick a few plants in your yard, study them, learn how to make medicine from each “weed” that invades your yard and garden.
I personally have a horrific memory, so I refer to my books often. Very often.
When I don’t have my books available and I see something on one of my walks that I want to learn more about, I take pictures. Lots of pictures! If I happen to have signal (usually that’s doubtful) I will look at plant monographs through the Herbal Academy to determine if I want to study this more.
I take notes on location of where the plant was found, what time of day it is and try to locate a landmark to find it again later.
I mention The Herbal Academy because they have a Plant Monograph website (for $45 a year) you can access each plant and learn what to do with that plant.
*Disclaimer: I do not receive any monetary compensation from recommending The Herbal Academy. This is just my choice of educational material online.*
Books books and more books.
Take a field guide with you on your walks! You will be surprised at what you can find that is useful to you. Or just beautiful to look at!
I like to concentrate on Native plants to my area.
In my mind, that is a much more sustainable solution than ordering a bunch of dried herbs. You get a much more in depth education when you take the time to walk, observe and take notes than if you read a blurb online.
Here’s to Happy Foraging and Plant Identification!!
Enjoy your Sunday!