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Fresh Herbs and Other Fun Things

Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry seeds are an old Polish heirloom that has a pineapple citrus like flavor. When the fruit are ripe they drop to the ground and are enclosed in a papery husk like tomatillos are. The fruit can store for up to a month in there husks and can be used for pies, preserves or fruit salads.

The very productive plants have sprawling growth and the tangy and sweet fruits are about ⅔" in diameter and encased in a papery husk. We found these to be slightly sweeter and smaller than Aunt Molly's. Allow the fruit to fall to the ground before harvesting. This ground cherry has been passed down through at least four generations of women; it was brought to Canada from Russia in 1925. 80 days from transplant.

Genovese Basil Seed is an old Italian heirloom originating in the Genoa region of Italy. This wonderful basil has large green leaves with concentrated flavor prefect for pesto or any other dish that needs authentic Italian flavor. Annual.

Known as "All Heal" in the middle ages, Common Valerian Seed produces plants which have a long history of herbal uses, the most common its use as a sedative. Valerian is a charming old fashioned cottage garden plant with white clusters of flowers. Self seeds. Ht: 4-5’ Perennial Zone 2.

We use chamomile for many different things.  We use it in our squash and cucumber beds to ward off squash beetles.  We also save the flowers and dry them.  We then use them in tea.

Introduced in 1954, Pacific Beauty Mix Calendula has been a favorite of gardeners for decades. The 2-3" semi double to double flowers are yellow, orange and gold and are also edible. Prefers sun. Ht: 1-2' Self seeding annual.
We also dry these flowers and make an oil from them that we then use in our homemade soap.

The entire plant is medicinally active - the leaves, stems, roots - but the flowers are by far the strongest. They make a wonderful fresh plant tincture that can be used when you feel the first signs or a cold coming on, as a digestive aid, and as a mouth moistener. The flowers dry well and maintain their tingly properties for up to a year after harvesting if stored properly.  Once the plants begin to flower, usually in mid-July to early August, they will bloom though until frost, continuously forming new flower buds the more you harvest them.
Culinary Uses
Spilanthes is native to Brazil, where the leaves are used as a culinary herb for their bright lemony flavour.
Medicinal Uses
Spilanthes is kind of like the herbal version of pop rocks candies but amplified, like high voltage static electricity dancing around your mouth accompanied by a rush of saliva like waterfall rapids.  Party tricks aside, Spilanthes is a worthy medicinal herb, and the constituent responsible for the tingling effect, spilanthol, is also found in Echinacea. If you’ve ever chewed on fresh Echinacea root or seeds, or taken a dropper full of high quality tincture then you will be familiar with the mouth tingling sensation that this constituent creates.  Similar to Echinacea, Spilanthes can be used for its immune boosting and antimicrobial properties. The spilanthol contained in the herb creates a tingling and eventually a numbing sensation and this attribute can be applied effectively as a remedy for mouth inflammation and tooth pain. This is where the herb gets one of its many common names ‘Toothache Plant’.
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