What’s my WHY? on growing herbs

Here is my source story on how I started growing medicinal herbs. Enjoy!

It’s always good to understand where you are coming from and your WHY.

Here’s mine about why I grow medicinal herbs.

I’d been interested in herbs for a while. Did some courses at The Hierophant then I read this book in 2006…

I read this book by Matthew Wood…

Matthew Wood talking herbs on the farm – 2018

Matthew Woods The Book of Herbal Wisdom. A whole world opened up for me. Matt talked of herbs such as Solomons Seal, Sweet leaf and Teasel.  Entranced & impressed I beat a path to The Hierophant in Griffith ACT. For herbs & homeopathics it’s the go to place. Asking about these herbs in my breathless enthusiasm it turned out they had none of them.

None of these herbs were on the shelf… not one of them

It was then that my Horticultural training kicked into gear. Whispering in my ear it said “you have grown Solomons seal before remember…?”  I had once. I could do it again. So off to the internet to see what nursery had this plant. Soon enough I was buying plants from a Southern Highlands nursery and I was off to the races. Then the steady work started of growing & propagating until the magic day when I could make a small amount of tincture.

That’s when it all started…

Now many years later I have a healthy population of Solomons seal suffice to supply my needs and that of others.

It seemed so natural to me to cross worlds from Herbalism to horticulture and grow the plants I needed.

It seemed so natural

Well after that it got a bit out of hand. A botanical zoo of as many herbs I could find & propagate appeared on the farm.  In 2010 meeting Ken Atherton in Tasmania at Pindari Herbs, Ken mentioned that he had hit peak herb at 120 species. In my arrogance I thought he could try a bit harder.

The Drought taught me a valuable lesson

How have I changed since then …?

Well, I am not growing so many different herbs. There is more focus in my cultivation strategy.

The drought had come… Three years long…  trying to keep by then 120+ different herbs was too much. A lot of herbs went by the wayside. Ken was right.

A hard lesson was learned. FOCUS. What are the key herbs you want to work with and stick to that.

I’m no longer the Botanical Ark. Solomon’s seal is firmly established. And now it is time to take on another key plant. That’s Golden Seal – but that’s a story for another time.

That’s how it all started

Here is the punch line. To have herbs grown in Australia by a range of people just makes good sense. Growing our own medicinal herbs just like our own food.

And if we are growing these herbs then plants in the wild are left alone. Habitats are not pillaged.

We have seen how supply and trade in all manner of goods is easily disrupted and you find yourself looking at empty shelves. As with toilet paper so with herbs.

A whole range of right livelihoods are there if we carry this through.

That’s SUSTAINABLE GROWING. No need for wild harvest or importation of product. 

Keep checking in and join me in this continual inquiry as to what does this plant need? how does it respond to its environment? How can we grow it sustainably; so that it is available ongoing without wild populations being harvested.

P.S. In 2018 Matthew Wood visited the Herb farm and as he was left thanked me for promoting and making available this herb in Australia, ‘Christopher thanks for establishing Solomons Seal in Australia and making it available for everyone’  That made it all worthwhile.