Monday, September 29, 2014

Carrots (Resources Post)

This is the first of a new series of posts on selected plants, in which I bring wonderful resources to your attention and add quick summaries for your convenience. Such posts are wiki-posts, which means they can or will be edited and updated with additional resources I find. The series and this blog can truly start, because the desired open source platform for connecting growers and seed savers on a local and global level is on its way ! Read more about it below !

How To Save Seeds
Here is a wonderful video on how to save seeds from carrots by Heritage Seed Library.

How To Grow

...and a link to an in-depth article on how to grow carrots on Mother Earth News

The "Revolution" is MAPPED

You as a grower and seed saver are doing important work for co-transitioning to The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.

With GROWSTUFF going Open Source, we seem to soon have "the" platform to trust in, for taking seed saving to the next level by connecting us. (We have 3 weeks left to contribute some money to help them go Open !!)

Put yourself on the map, find seed savers around you, tell everyone close to you who grows plants and might be interested - and it can take off !

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Weeds that Heal: Goldenrod - Solidago

            (currently visiting my parents... - 
if you have enough space, you can create several smaller bundles ) 

genus: Solidago 
family: Asteraceae

Goldenrod is a potent healer, actually, one of the Native Americans' favourites, with a long list of healing properties.
The name "solidago" means "making whole" - so its high time to dissolve any bad reputation:
Goldenrod pollen does not cause allergies, as is widely believed: it sticks to the plant & is too heavy to fly far enough; Instead, its mostly ragweed, which flowers at the same time, that causes allergies and goldenrod is meanwhile even used by herb companies for products that aim to cure hay fever and other allergies.
Invasive ? Yes, but that allows us to cut them during flowering (before they go to seed) and dig up some roots to create various healing applications - without hesitation !
(Please do always remember to be far more cautious when you forage from less abundantly growing wild plants - take care that the patches you take from can still expand after your harvest !)

Covered in this article:

Solidago Canadensis

  • Growing Conditions
  • Medicinal Properties (*)
  • HowTo: Goldenrod Tea / Drying
  • HowTo: Goldenrod Tincture
  • HowTo: Goldenrod Vinegar 
  • Seed Saving

  • Bees Love Them !
  • "Liberty Tea"( instead of black tea  after Boston Tea Party)
  • Edison used it to create rubber

  • Growing Conditions
- Successful / invasive across North America, Europe & Asia, 
but as it is very beautiful and blossoms long into autumn, still a beloved garden plant in Europe.

- Perennial, propagates vividly via runners, else mostly insect pollinated;
- Bees love them - together with wasps, beetles and butterflies.
- Flowers from midsummer until frost;
- Many species - Canadian Goldenrod is most successful, luckily they share nearly the same medicinal properties and Canadensis is said to taste best, together with Solidago Odora.

  • Medicinal Properties (* please read disclaimer below )

Wound healing
Chew (#Outdoor survival) or otherwise create a paste from fresh, or dried leaves and blossoms for applying to wounds to improve healing; also for insect bites. A paste from dried, powdered roots works fine too.

Kidney inflammation and stones
- tea can remove smaller kidney stones 
- tea can heal kidney inflammation : create a strong tea, several tablespoons upto a handful for the portion of tea you plan to drink and let it soak for up to 30 minutes.
( Please contact a doctor too, especially with chronic problems ! *)

Generally for urinary tract problems
Again tea, infused vinegar helps to support the immune system in general

Sore throat
Native Amercians chewed leaves & created syrup;
Mouth inflammation: Tincture or strong tea  as mouth rinse 
Anti-inflammatory ( fever / cold / flu  )
also for allergies, as it helps to shrink mucous membranes 

Gout / Arthritis
Rheumatism / Joint pain
tea and tincture

Skin Problems, especially eczema
tea and applying masks 

As with all herbal remedies: do not consume doses for acute healing for more than 2-3 weeks:
If your problem needs longer treatment, exchange with another plant/tea with a similar action spectrum after some weeks, make sure to stop or remove causes and investigate if your symptoms might relate to another root cause !

Strongly diuretic - be sure to drink much water, as with most herbal teas;

Complete list of healing properties, according to my favourite german herbalism site & webmd:
astringent, diuretic, blood purifier, anti-inflammatory, cystitis, bloating, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, diarrhea, insect bites, kidney semolina and small stones, kidney disease, edema, disorders of the urinary secretion, wound healing, rheumatism, gout, dropsy, reoccurring tuberculosis after latency, enlarged liver and asthma

  • HowTo: Goldenrod Tea / Drying
Harvest the plant during flowering: 
Dried leaves, stems and blossoms are used for goldenrod tea;
some harvest the complete plant (read below for roots), some only the upper third. 

Dry them hanging upside down in small bundles, in a dry and shady room.
(The one I was allowed to use is so shady that it was hard to take a good picture without additional additional lighting ;) ) Once they are dry and brittle, you can continue to dry them in paper bags until you can crumble them.

If you are late, harvest the plant with roots ( the power and healing ingredients draw back into the root system toward winter ) - dry roots cleaned and separately from the remaining plant.
Store them in glass containers or powder them; 
Boil roots in small pieces with dried leaves and blossoms for tea.

Powdered roots can also be applied to wounds as paste (mix with a small amount of water) .

  • HowTo: Goldenrod Tincture
Fill a glass jar /container with fresh chopped plant parts ( leaves, stems and blossoms, eventually cleaned root parts too )

Fill the container with strong alcohol ( schnaps, vodka or other hard liquor, aim at organic) to the very top and close it.

Let rest for six weeks, then you can pour it through a strainer into - eventually- smaller bottles.
For acute treatments, you will need larger doses ( several ml, several times a day) and thus prefer to use tea, unless you want to get drunk ;)

  • HowTo: Goldenrod Vinegar 
A nice present and ideal for supporting your immune system and disease prevention by using  the vinegar every now and then.
Fill a glass jar with fresh chopped plant parts, as described for tea and fill it up to the top with pasteurised apple vinegar - but use some plastic foil that covers your filled container, if you use a metal lid, as corrosion might occur.
Let rest for six weeks.

  • Seed Saving
Harvest plants, including roots, which you can use as described above #drying, when the plants have gone to seed - as late as possible.
 ( I will update this post with a picture here )
Depending on weather circumstances during harvest: hang them upside down in small bundles for further drying, you can continue to dry them completely in paper bags, if that is more convenient.

You can either shake the bundles over the area where you want them to grow the following years during autumn - or clean the seeds as to your personal preferences (described on the August page of the seed  calendar here on )


(*) Disclaimer

Herbalism is an old and powerful science of healing - but until proven by current scientific standards, any medicinal information given on this site can by law not replace to get advice from a doctor, especially in case of chronical or unclear symptoms. Though all articles are thoroughly researched, the author does not take responsibility for any outcomes.


More Information / Literature / Resources used in this article :
(Perfectionist that i am i read many more books(in), posts and saw many more videos - these are just the ones i liked most)

Brill, Steven w. Evelyn Dean / Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants...
Harper, 1994

Storl, Wolf-Dieter / Der Selbstversorger / Gräfe & Unzer, 2nd edition, 2013


Becki Baumgartner