Tending To Tomorrow’s Tinctures (and Appetizers!)

April 14th, 2009

Today we took a big step towards summer’s tomato and garlic salads–by weeding the garlic and planting tomatoes. Last season we had saved seeds from some of our heirloom tomato varieties, and today we planted eleven flats of tomatoes, using a good bit of those Red Wiggler seeds. The great thing about keeping seeds from your own crop is that you’re naturally selecting for plants that thrive in the unique micro climate of your farm–or backyard. We’re excited to see how these fellows turn out. Among the varieties we planted are Purple Cherokees, Green Zebras, Great Whites, Valencias, and (a new comer!) Red Pear Periform.

Above, the garlic fields getting some attention. Here’s one of the growers showing a thistle he just weeded out. If we could only grow mozzarella, we’d really have the makings for a great salad!

The Pick Your Own also took some steps towards blooming today. As you can see, we put our signs back up, and we planted quite a few flowers (though you can’t see those yet). We’re trying some new ones out this year, including Evening Primrose, and a beneficial insect attractant mix. The Evening Primrose is planted right in front of the Echinacea and is a medicinal herb whose seeds contain high levels of different omega fatty acids.

The first bed of the Pick Your Own is really shaping up into quite the medicinal herb/tea bed. We start off with the Evening Primrose, followed by Echinacea, then Bee Balm, and then finally Roman Chamomile. Chamomile, is of course, used in making chamomile tea, which is done by harvesting the flowers and then steeping them in boiling water. Bee Balm, or Wild Bergamot, can also be made into tea by harvesting the flowers and leaves and similarly steeping them fresh or dried for an Earl Grey-esque tea. Echinacea, or purple cone flower, is also thought to have medicinal properties, mostly as a weapon against the common cold. Looks like if things go well this season, we’ll be knee deep in teas and tinctures by summer!