I recently shared a series of photos on my Instagram feed that illustrated the difference between homegrown herbs and herbs I purchased from a distributor. The photos showed homegrown herbs that were harvested 7 months ago and 1.5 years ago, and distributor-purchased herbs so you could see how different the level of quality was between batches. My hope was to inspire you to grow (at least some of) your own herbs and to source from local farms near you when you can’t.
Growing herbs has helped me connect to the plants I use in my kitchen, home and apothecary more than any other way I have interacted with them. It’s brought a level of depth to the way I practice and work with plants and it’s become a major part of my lifestyle. I love it so much that I want to share that with everyone, but I also recognize that we really do need more people growing herbs. Every year, as herbal awareness grows, we are seeing more and more shortages of the plants we use in our remedies.We need more herb farmers to help meet this growing demand, but we also need more people growing herbs on a small scale in their own gardens to help increase mindfulness, sustainability, and connectedness in this exciting realm of herbal therapies.
So I’m hosting a challenge. I challenge you to grow at least one herb that you’ve never grown this year. An herb that you love and use often or want to get to know. Whether you have acres of land at your disposal or one sunny windowsill or a spot on your kitchen counter where you can set up a light with a potted plant, I’m challenging you to grow one thing you haven’t grown before.
This is the perfect time of year to start some seeds, so I’d encourage you to browse the online catalog over at Strictly Medicinal Seeds (or your fav herb seed company – they’re often my company of choice), choose at least one packet of seeds to add to your seed collection, and place your order so you can get your seeds in the mail in time to get them started for the season. Try to choose a plant that will work with the growing conditions you know you’re going to have. Growing something with a long tap root in a small pot on your kitchen counter won’t work out as well as growing something that is more shallow rooted, for instance. If you can match your space to the plant, you’ll be setting yourself up for success right from the start.
As your plant grows throughout the season, I would encourage you to learn how to tune into it, to anticipate its needs; to learn how to care for your plant so it will really thrive in your home or garden. Share photos of your progress on social media throughout the growing season with the hashtag #floranellagardenchallenge so I can see what you’re growing and other participants can connect with you.
At the end of the year, I’ll choose one challenge participant to whom I will send a package with some of my favorite gardening tools and supplies.
I hope you’ll join in the fun! Leave a comment below to let me know what you’re going to grow for the challenge. I’d love to hear. Let’s get growing. =)