Friday, March 9, 2012


Basil: ‘Dark Purple Opal’- Purple, sometimes mottled leaves. Grown for its decorative appeal and culinary value. Dark opal basil was a 1962 winner of the All-American Selection award. 'Dark opal', along with other large leaved purple cultivars such as 'Purple Ruffles', has a high concentration of anthocyanins and is considered a potential source of red pigments for the food industry. $1 for a pack of 20+ seeds. 2012 seed from Baker Creek.

Basil: ‘Lettuce Leaf’ – Huge 3-5” leaves are great for wrapping around a wedge of tomato or layer in lasagna. Japanese heirloom. .50 for a pack of 10+ seeds. 2012 seed from Baker Creek.

Basil: ‘Lime’ – Unique, lime-flavored basil from Thailand. Small leaves & white flowers. 2012 seed. .50 for a pack of 10+ seeds from Baker Creek.

Basil: ‘Purple Petra’ - Annual. A mild sweet taste that is nice for those of us who love basil’s flavor, but shy away from too much herbal spiciness. Excellent for a variety of Italian dishes — pesto, pasta, and salads; makes a lovely pink colored vinegar or oil. Grow as a companion plant for your tomatoes, or in other areas of the garden as an ornamental. Try pairing with Marigold Dwarf Lemon Drop or Bells of Ireland for eye-popping color. 2011 seed from Botanical Intrests.

Basil: ‘Thai Holy Kaprao’ – Sweet, spicy clove flavor. Fragrant purplish/green leaves are good fresh or dried. Try in potpourri. Religious herb of Hindus. Comes from Thailand. $1 for 10+ seeds. 2012 seeds from Baker Creek.

Bee Balm: ‘Lambada’ - Tender Perennial.  Bee balm, also known as Monarda, is covered with unique, lovely lavender-pink flower clusters that attract butterflies, hummingbirds and bees to the garden. We chose this variety because it is more tolerant to powdery mildew and dry soil conditions than other varieties of bee balm. Lambada is a tender perennial, and may not overwinter in all areas. Plants bloom quickly so it can be grown as an annual for a splash of summer and fall color. Pretty in a mixed bouquet of cut flowers and in wildflower gardens. Deer resistant. 2012 seed from Botanical Interests. 10+ seeds for $1

Catnip:  Catnip tea contains vitamins A, B, and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and sodium. According to tea enthusiast site The Right Tea, catnip's calming properties can help relieve stress, anxiety, and help treat insomnia and migraines. It is a natural antacid and can help with colic, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and flatulence.  I grow it in old bird cages to keep the cats off it. 2010 seed. 10+ seeds for twenty-five cents.

Chamomile: ‘German’- ORGANIC – Sweet, soothing, fragrant chamomile has a multitude of uses beyond tea. Pretty, small, daisy-like white flowers are excellent for ‘edible landscaping’. The Anglo-Saxons believed chamomile was one of the sacred herbs given to the earth by the god Woden; In Victorian times, chamomile symbolized patience in adversity; Chamomile is believed by some to possess the power to attract money, gamblers soak their hands in a chamomile infusion in order to increase their chances of winning.  Fifty cents for a pack of 50+ 2012 seed from Botanical Interests.

Chives – Wonderful mild onion flavor, these long, thin chives are excellent in many meals; great raw or cooked. Lavender flowers.  2012 seed from Baker Creek. 20+ seeds for $1.

Cilantro – ORGANIC - (Coriandrum sativum) No Mexican meal is complete without this multi-purpose herb. The fresh leaves are called cilantro, and the seeds are used as a spice called coriander. We like to make successive sowings to ensure a continuous supply. Slow bolting strain. 50-55 days to first leaf harvest, 90-120 days for seed. Annual, 1-2' tall. 2011 seed from Seed Savers Exchange. 30+ seeds for twenty-five cents.

Coffee: ‘Dwarf Coffee’ (Coffea arabica nana) Tropical houseplant or greenhouse subject, eventually reaching 3-4 feet in height. Large, thin, glossy leaves are followed in due course by small, extremely fragrant, jasmine-scented, star-shaped flowers. These yield a yellow berry which contains the seeds, which when roasted are “coffee beans.”  $1 for pack of four 2012 beans/seeds. Ehow has an excellent ‘how to’ on growing coffee plants indoors.

Lovage – ORGANIC -  Perennial. Add that extra touch to soups, stews and salads. This ancient plant is considered an indispensable cooking ingredient by many who are aware of its virtues. The flavor is a cross between parsley and celery. It is often used in place of celery, but in much lesser quantities, since its flavor is so much stronger. At 6 feet tall, the plant is a handsome giant of the vegetable garden, and very productive and reliable – you won’t run out! Easy to establish in your garden from seed. 2012 seed from Botanical Interests. 10+ seeds for $1.

Mugwort - Bitter mugwort teas stimulate the secretion of gastric juices to speed up digestion and relieve flatulence and bloating. The essential oil is both antibacterial and antifungal, and may be useful against intestinal parasites. Many have reported that if mugwort is used as a tea before bed, or even just sprinkled around your pillow, a person may have lucid dreams that night.  Mugwort is a common plant in the British isles, its angular, purple stalks growing 3 feet (90 cm) or more in height and bearing dark green leaves with a cottony down underneath. Mugwort is said to have derived its name from having been used to flavor beer before the wide use of hops. The botanical name is derived from Artemisia, the Greek goddess of the hunt, fertility, and the forests and hills. Roman soldiers were known to put mugwort in their sandals to keep their feet from getting tired. Native Americans equate mugwort with witchcraft. They believed that the rubbing of the leaves on the body are said to keep ghosts away, and a necklace of mugwort leaves is said to help protect against dreaming about the dead. It has been believed that John the Baptist wore a girdle of mugwort in the wilderness for protection. Other magical attributes include the protection for road weary travelers, and general protection against the evils of the spirit realms. 2012 seed from Baker Creek. 20+ seeds for $1

Parsley: ‘Giant of Italy’ -  A very large, Italian strain of parsley with great flavor. Perfect for sauces. 2012 seed from Baker Creek. 10+ seeds for fifty cents. 

Savory: ‘Summer’ -  Warm season annual. Savory is primarily a culinary herb used in many dishes such as lentils, all types of beans, chicken & beef soups, eggplant, asparagus, onions, cabbage, squash, liver, & fish. In German cooking, savory and beans are very popular. Fresh savory adds a delightful flavor to salads. Savory is an important component of Herbes de Provence. Savory tea is used by some for mild sore throats and stomach upsets. Attractive 1½' tall plant has white/pink/lavender flowers. Good container variety. Deer resistant. 2012 seed from Botanical Interests. 10+ seeds for $1.

Spearmint - Mint can be started by seed indoors and transplanted to a sunny to partially sunny location outdoors after the danger of frost is past. Shade tolerant. Frequent cuttings spur growth. Light: sun, partial shade Rhizomes are invasive. Plant spearmint in a container to retain the roots in a small area and reduce its invasive tendencies. 2012 seed from Renee’s Garden. 20+ seeds for $1.

Tarragon: ‘Russian’ – (Artemisia dracunculus) Believed to have been brought to Europe from Mongolia and Siberia by invading Mongols in the 13th century. Although it was native to these remote Chinese and Russian areas, perhaps its remote birthplace contributes to its lack of popularity prior to this time. By the 15th century, it was popular enough in England to make its way to American shores with the colonists.  In the Far East, true tarragon was known as "little dragon," a reference to its root system. This herb was cooked and eaten as a vegetable centuries ago. Home gardeners with tarragon plants will know that if not divided regularly, tarragon will actually strangle itself. 2012 seed from Baker Creek. 10+ seeds for $1.

Tobacco: ‘Delaware Indian Sacred’poisonous Dwarf 15-inch plants produce clusters of light-green flowers. A cute little plant for borders; this is a ceremonial tobacco to the Delaware Lenape tribe of Indians. A rare Native American heirloom that is pretty and unique.  2012 seed from Baker Creek. 10+ seeds for $1. 

Tobacco: ‘Hopi’ – (N. rustica) poisonous - Traditional ceremonial variety used for centuries by the gentle people of the Four Corners country. A typical Indian type tobacco, reaching to 24 inches in height. Fragrant green flowers in perhaps more compact spikes than some.  2012 seed from Baker Creek. 10+ seeds for $1

Tobacco: ‘Louisiana Pirogue’ Named for the traditional flat-bottom boat that is used by the Cajuns in the swamps of Louisiana. This old heirloom was given by the Indians to the Cajuns and passed down through the years. Given by a Creole man to Kurt Bridges, who then supplied Baker Creek with some seed. They grow the plants for their beauty, as they grow 4 feet tall, have big, wide leaves and produce loads of gorgeous sunset-pink flowers. Traditionally used by the Cajuns, but it is poisonous along with all tobacco. I am growing it for its insecticidal properties. 2012 seed from Baker Creek. 10+ seeds for $1.

Smoking is hazardous to your health and I do not recommend it. That said, I am an advocate for harm-reduction, and would rather you smoke clean, organic, unmolested from heirloom, sustainably-grown seeds than the scary crap peddled by Big Tobacco.

Toothache Plant - Traditionally been used for toothache. Topical anesthetic and anti-bacterial, this herb enhances the immune system's resistance to infections and stimulates wound healing.  It's great for herpes and sore throats and has really cute flowers that look like very compact pompoms.  You don't have to wait for it to reach a particular stage of development before it can be harvested.  You can pick leaves at any time, although the flowers are the strongest part of the plant.  It is non-toxic. This plant is a perennial in zones 10-11 (for instance, southern tip of Florida).  It is killed by frost, so in other areas, treat as an annual, which you must reseed every year. It gets 1-1.5 feet high.  The seed germinates in 12 days at temps of 70-90 F (use a heating pad).  It can be grown in a pot, but make sure to pot it up regularly so it doesn't get cramped. It needs full sun to partial shade, rich soil, and plenty of fertilizer.  Since it expands its territory by sending out branches that root in the ground, look for one of this rootings, cut it from the main plant, and pot it up. 2012 seed from Baker Creek. 5+ seeds for $1

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