Herbal Abundance

July!!! Everything is blooming and growing a mile a minute! It is the highpoint of the growing season here in Vermont. What a wonderful time of overwhelming abundance and absolute beauty. I sometimes have to calm myself down, take some deep breaths, and realize that everything will not get harvested, and processed to its full potential.

I’m interested in what each herbalist prioritizes this time of year, because the options are endless….

Recently I’ve been focused on:

~setting up drying racks in the school bus so that it can become a drying tunnel for herbs!

~Harvesting Elder blossoms, Echinacea leaves and flowers, Mugwort, Yarrow, Lemon balm, Peppermint, Sage, Lavender, Thyme, and Roses.

~Harvesting Calendula, St., Johnswort, Comfrey, and Plantain, and using them to make fresh oils for the year to come. I will use some of these in formulas, and salves. This is one of the most simple yet rewarding things you can do with herbs! Here’s how: Step 1- fill a jar with the fresh herb you’ll be wanting to extract the healing properties from. Step 2- pour oil (I usually use a high quality Olive oil, because of its inherent medicinal properties and ability to extract many of the herbs benefits) over the herbs to fill the jar, poke at it-with a knife or chop stick to get the air bubbles out, make sure all herbs are submerged. Step 3- cover and let sit, shaking daily, in a warm window for 2-4 weeks. Step 4- strain the oil and squeeze as much as you can from the herbs, bottle into dark colored bottles, label and store!

Summer Herbal Blessings!


June News From Harvest Hill

In the photo essay, we want readers to see Alyssa who is now harvesting elder blossoms, and they have the herbs drying in the school bus on the property at Harvest Hill!!

Herbalist, Alyssa Holmes, and her daughter, Sage, worked together to cut and harvest the blossoms.

The weather in southern Vermont has been glorious this June. The cool nights and long summer days of late June have helped to increase the bounty in our surroundings.

Sambucus nigra
Parts used: Flowers and berries. Properties/Actions: Diaphoretic, alterative, stimulant,
antirheumatic, antiviral.
Benefits: Eases colds, flus, fevers, acne, burns, rashes, wrinkles.
Suggested uses: Syrup (berries), infusion (flowers), herbal oil (flowers), salve (flowers).
Growing, harvesting, and wild crafting tips and specifics: Perennial. Divided roots. Prefers moist, well-drained, fertile soil.
Cautions: Only the black elderberry (nigra) is safe to use. The red variety is toxic.

Here is a good overview from the Cornell Unversity Department of horticulture:

Elderberries are popular for their unusual taste in pies, jellies, and jams. They are occasionally used in winemaking. The plants are very hardy (usually to Zone 4 but some kinds to Zone 3), and because they flower in late June, the crop is seldom damaged by late spring frost.

They are attractive and easy to grow, and are great in landscape plantings. Elderberries contain more phosphorus and potassium than any other temperate fruit crop. The fruit is also rich in vitamin C.</blockquote>