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Organic Gardening

Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.


Starting Your Own Black Cohosh, Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinal Herbs

Year-round gardeners eager to plant wonder what they can start in December. In the mid-Atlantic and upper South, choices are limited unless you have cold frames or a greenhouse, but winter is the perfect time to jump on the hot new trend of forest gardening. Celebrate your shady yard or property, or just a shady corner, by growing your own medicinal herbs and lovely forest ephemerals. 

growing woodland medicinals book cover

An exciting resource for would-be forest gardeners is Jeanine Davis' newly revised book, Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals

, which now includes a six-chapter section especially for home gardeners. Jeanine is a university researcher, extension specialist and farmer from North Carolina. She and her husband establish gardens full of native medicinal herbs, edible plants, and beautiful native ornamentals. You can follow her adventures at Our Tiny Farm. She and her staff at North Carolina State University conduct research at a beautiful woodland garden on a research station in western North Carolina. At the Asheville, N.C., MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, Jeanine and her staff will have a demonstration booth and give workshops. 

Bloodroot Flowers

Jeanine shows how even with just a small bit of shade on your property, you can grow some shade-loving herbs. She helps you select woodland plants that are beautiful, useful, and easy to take care of. Imagine having your own little patch of black cohosh, bloodroot, goldenseal, and ginseng to enjoy and make your own medicine from. I thought about this when my friend Thomas told me about his success using her book. Thomas and his partner Kele Tassinari manage Garden Medicinals and Culinaries, a great source of seed and information. Here's his story: 

Forest Floor

black cohosh

I have always liked the earlier edition of Jeanine's book and now I have hard evidence that the new chapters for home gardeners are just as good. This book would be a great holiday gift for the home gardener on your gift list. To whet your appetite, here's a short excerpt from the first chapter in that section: 

ginseng

 goldenseal

You can order a signed copy of Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals from Jeanine just in time for holiday giving. 

Ira Wallace lives and gardens at Acorn Community Farm, home of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, where she coordinates variety selection and new seed growers. Southern Exposure offers 700+ varieties of non-GMO, open pollinated, and organic seeds. Ira is also a co-organizer of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello. She serves on the board of the Organic Seed Alliance and Virginia Association for Biological Farming. She is a frequent presenter at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS and many other events throughout the Southeast.  Her new book The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast is available online and at booksellers everywhere.


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