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Medicinal Herbs...

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Joseph Lofthouse:
A lady told me at the farmer's market a few weeks ago that I was the only person at market offering herbs... I was confused, because I often see basil, and oregano, and dill. I asked her to clarify. Eventually it became clear that she was calling me a medicine man. I was immensely pleased. I often gather plants that are renowned for their medicinal properties and take them to market with me. I give 90% of them away because they don't sell, but at least I made the effort, and a few people really appreciate what I do. What that means, is that the local shamans and medicine women associate with me a lot. A couple days ago I told one of the shaman that the deer had eaten about 1/3 of my cantaloupes, and that was OK with me, because "When/Where else are the deer folk going to get to taste such glorious muskmelons?" The response was along the lines of, "I think that you have just out shaman-ed this ol shaman".

I never would have imagined 7 growing seasons when I started down the path of landrace gardening that it would result in me being called a medicine man or shaman. But once I started saving my own corn seed, then it wasn't a very big step to start making my own catsup. It was only a small step from there to growing flavorings like stevia, garlic, mustard, dill, and fennel. And if I'm already growing my own food and flavorings, then I might as well be growing my own medicines. And if I'm growing and using medicinal herbs, then I might as well take them to market with me.

So during the next few growing seasons, I intend to put more thought and effort into growing medicinal herbs. I'd welcome feedback about which herbs you find the most useful. Any suggestions about growing conditions? Winter hardiness? etc...

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