Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

6 Reasons Why We Use Elevated Raised Beds For Herbs

We plant our harvesting herbs in raised beds. That is with the exception of our spearmint,  peppermint, rosemary and a few others.You may wonder why.
  • We are two sexagenarian (60-ish) women- Herbs like oregano, thyme and most herbs grow low to the ground barely a foot to two foot tall. That's a lot of bending in caring for and harvesting herbs. For me, it poses a fall hazard with half my body paralyzed.
  • Pallets are an easy to come by, a reusable commodity, and they are free. We recycle old feed sacks to line the inside to hold the soil. 
  • Weed infestation- Granted birds or wind will carry weed seed into the raised beds but not near as much as if they were planted in the ground.
  •  Contains growth- Many herbs are spreading plants. They'll self propagate either through root spread or by stem. Oregano is a bad herb for this. Using elevated raised beds contains this growth. If the herb goes to seed, then the reseeding is mostly within the bed.
  • We use the area underneath each elevated raised area to compost. It's an unseen composter.  Since we are strictly organic in our growing practices, we use a lot of compost. No unsightly piles or bins. It's all hidden under the elevated raised beds.
  • By unseen composting under the elevated raised bed, we are able to plant these beds sooner because of the warmth of the composting process under the beds. Perennial herbs come back sooner after the winter thaw.
For us, elevated raised beds takes a lot of the work out of growing herbs. You may wonder why we just don't go ahead and plant all of our herbs this way. Well, there's a method to our cockeyed thinking.

Rosemary, when left to it's own nature, is a woody herb. It will form a hedge over five foot tall over years. It also self propagates by stems touching the soil. In this way it could be invasive, but controllable. At my old homestead, it was my front hedge.

Mint on the other hand is wildly invasive. But mints also deter rats and mice. That's why we plant it around our house and storeroom building.  It will grow two feet high so harvesting isn't that much of an issue for my five foot frame.

We grow feverfew the same way. In case you didn't know, Feverfew helps with headaches and migraines. According to WebMD...
"Feverfew is a plant that is native to Asia Minor and the Balkans, but is now common throughout the world. Feverfew leaves are normally dried for use in medicine. Fresh leaves and extracts are also used.
People take feverfew by mouth for the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches.

People also take feverfew by mouth for fever, irregular menstrual periods, arthritis, a skin disorder called psoriasis, allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), dizziness, and nausea and vomiting.

Some people take feverfew by mouth for difficulty getting pregnant or fathering a child (infertility). It is also taken by mouth for "tired blood" (anemia), cancer, common cold, earache, liver disease, prevention of miscarriage, muscular tension, bone disorders, swollen feet, diarrhea, upset stomach, and intestinal gas.

Feverfew is sometimes applied directly to the gums for toothaches or to the skin to kill germs. It is also applied to the skin for itching and to prevent insect bites.

Some people also use feverfew as a general stimulant and for intestinal parasites."

All I know is it's a handy herb to have on hand. We plant this herb around our Camillas. It does double duty as a pretty border plant and a medicinal one. It also makes a tasty tea.

The other herb that is strongly invasive and we do not contain is comfrey. But plant it exclusively in our orchard. While semi contained by the tiers, we don't actively contain it. Look up the health benefits and warnings.

The last herb we let naturalize is lemon grass. It's clumping nature and mosquito repelling property are a welcome addition to wherever it grows. It's delicious when added to chicken or fish dishes. Look up theh medicinal uses and warnings.

Y'all have a blessed day!

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