The View From my Kitchen Window
Wendy Whitehorn-Dr. Dirt
I was just reminded that I haven't posted anything for a month! How did that happen? This time of year is really busy for us gardeners, and with all the rain we've had your gardens probably have a bunch of weeds to deal with, just like mine. That's what I've been doing lately--weeding. I couldn't stand to see the weeds in my garden any more, and it was so bad that I finally took the lawnmower to my garden and mowed the unwanted stuff so it wouldn't go to seed. Some of those "weeds" were chamomile gone crazy. Plant chamomile once, and it seems to be around forever. It's an annual, but readily reseeds every year.
I've been harvesting chamomile flowers to dry and save for tea. It's rather labor intensive as I cut one flower at a time to maximize the quality and minimize the stems and any debris, then I shake the bugs out through a small colander, rinse the flowers and let them dry in a wire mesh basket. I shake the flowers up once a day or so to make sure air circulates and helps them dry. Depending on the humidity in the air it takes two to three weeks to dry the flowers enough to store them in jars where they'll keep for months. I ran out earlier this spring and bought some loose chamomile tea and wasn't impressed with it. It lacked that crisp green apple fragrance and taste that my own chamomile has, it was full of stems, and just looked "old." This year I'm harvesting lots of blossoms so I won't run out. Chamomile makes a wonderful soothing, calming tea that can help you fall asleep. That's why I like a cup in the evenings. As an herbal tea it doesn't have caffeine so you can drink it before bedtime.
Growing your own, whether it's food or tea, may take more time and effort, but the results are so much better than what you can buy in the store. If you can't grow your own, spend time at your local Farmer's Market and get the next best thing from your local farmers. Speaking of Farmer's Market, the first market is this Saturday, June 4th! Head on over there and see what's available.
I am not very adept at technology stuff, but I've managed to get some photos into this post.
Give me a patch of dirt (soil), some seeds and a few tools and I'm in heaven. Now I'm off to the garden to plant more seeds in the ground (and weed)! Happy gardening!