What can you grow on 2 acres? We're on a mission to find out from tomatoes to green beans and chamomile to borage. We have plans to make use of every bit of our land to grow edibles to feed our family and our tea customers tea cabinet.
This year we planted a test plot of borage and it did super well! What is borage? Its a plant that tastes like a cucumber but has beautiful blue star shaped flowers. We are sharing our harvest and more details about this bee attracting plant in this weeks youtube video! Check it out below!
BRRRR! How is the weather where you are?
Here..... well, its almost freezing! We seemed to have about a week of fall and then the winter switch got flipped. 30 miles from us it was snowing! Fall on the farm means getting ready for winter. We seem to be having troubles keeping up with that here.
This week though we brought in some herbs from our greenhouse and garden so that we could have some during the winter to use fresh in cooking and in making tea. Lemon balm, anise hyssop, rosemary and chamomile.
While at a second hand store I found these adorable tea cups with herbs all along them and thought what better use than to put herbs in them too.
Below is a short tutorial and video on how to make your very own! Just plant - even if its in a tea cup and in your kitchen. Its a space everyone can have a little living green in their home and there is nothing like fresh herbs in cooking or in your tea pot! Cheers!
Tea Cup Kitchen Garden
What you need:
1 tea cup, coffee mug, or small pot of choice
1 small plant per cup, mug or pot
1/4 cup or so of a well drained potting mix (something with peet moss and vermiculite is great!)
Handful of small gravel, small river rock or other similar material
1.) Fill container (cup, mug or pot) about 1/8 to 1/4 full of your rock of choice. The smaller the better. The rock is going to drain the water so that the roots don't sit in water and rot. Sand works also and some research also says that adding some activated charchol will really help with the drainage.
2.) Place plant on top of the rock inside your container of choice, making sure any roots are pointed downward.
3.) Add soil mix around the plant so that the plant stands up.
4.) Water a little tiny bit not more than 1 tsp for a small cup. Decorate the top with remaining rocks if you wish.
trouble shooting drainage issues
- Remove plant and planting material. Drill a small hole with a dremel and diamond bit. Repot as before. Make sure to put a plate or other water catch under your cup.
- Change up the soil adding more sand and peet moss to help with draining.
- Make sure your plant is the right size for your container. You may need a larger container or smaller pot.
But first tea! This post may contain affiliate links. What's that you say?! Sometimes we share products that we love with you and those may pay us a little something to keep ye ol' farm a running, feed the children, teach them their arthimatic and the like. These links don't change the cost of the product. Read our full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting our family farm with your purchases!
When we first moved to the farm, three years ago, it was a newly constructed home which had replaced an older mobile home. The ground was very wet and muddy as happens in Oregon when the ground is being moved around for construction. There wasn't much growing on our property accept for blackberry vines- brambles - pokies - caneberries... pick your name of choice.
First on the list for the farm were goats! Goats are known for eating just about anything but they really do a number on brambles. As God would have it, there were two precious goats that needed a new home and we needed some goats!
Enter Lucy and Roscoe. These are/were our blackberry eating machines and they had an all you could eat buffet. If you are from the Northwest you understand that blackberries are rather invasive. They grow very fast, they cover absolutely everything and there is little chemical-free way to do them in. Goats are the best bet aside from burning them down. The goats were happy though!
You see though, these intrusive plants do have their upside. About August and September they produce a beautiful black, yummy berry. These berries are full of antioxidants, anti cancer properties, and they make lovely jams, jellies and pies. They are wonderful in smoothies and there is hardly a child in the pacific northwest who doesn't have memories of picking berries fresh off the vines... and then detaching the thorns from them and their clothing. But the little pain from the "pokies" is well worth the reward.
The berries don't stay around too long... their season is relatively short and with four little foragers those berries don't stand a chance! The leaves on the other hand are around for quite a while. They are currently budding as I type and wait anxiously for the return of fresh young leaves. Blackberry leaves contain many constituents: tannins, gallic acid, villiosin, starch and calcium oblate. According the the site Livestrong, they have been officially approved in Germany for use for inflammation of the mouth and throat as well as for acute diarrhea. They are also made into a tea, mouthwash and a gargling solution to help with gum issues and tooth ache.
Blackberry leaf may be made into washes, compresses and baths. It is used internally as tea, a capsule or extract. Its leaf is also slightly sweet allowing for it to be sprinkled on the top of other foods.
As this leaf is brewed, tea steeping time increases its sweetness. It is native to North America and Europe. In America, Oregon is the leading producer of blackberry leaf. (I believe it too! Really we have an acre of it!!) The berries contain dietary fiber, vitamin C, omega 3 and 6 fats.
According to the US National Library of Medicine (NCBI) blackberry leaf is anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-dysentery, anti-diabetic, anti-diarrheal and antioxidant. It has been traditionally used to treat whooping cough, blackberry juice used for colitis, tea from roots for labor pain and the leaves chewed for toothache. Traditionally it has also been used as an esophageal, to treat cervical and breast cancer, assist with anemia, regulate the menses, treat diarrhea and dysentery. An infusion made into a lotion could help psoriasis and scaly conditions of the skin. A gargle used to treat thrust and poultices for wounds and bruises as well as to help control minor bleeding.
As it turns out, this wild, thorny, intrusive plant can be quite helpful in a number of things! With a little pruning and control of this wonderful plant I think we can find quite a good many uses for it down on the farm. How about you? Do you see blackberry vines in a different light now? What use will you choose? I bet you can figure out how we will use it down on our TEA farm! Thanks for stopping by the farm and we hope to continue our herbal series featuring lovely, but maybe not commonly known, medicinal plants. If you are not blessed with this plant in your yard you may find the dried leaf here and blackberry root tincture here.
As always, this information is intended for educational purposes only. Please consult your physician for medical advice. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please read our full medical disclaimer here.
Welcome to our Family Tea Farm!
Howdy from our farm to your home! It is said that the, "farm is the nursery of the family," and that "the family is the nursery of the nation." We hope you enjoy your visit to our blog as we share with you the happenings on our little "nursery". Thank you for following us on our journey and watching us GROW! Read more about our farm HERE.
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