9 Jul 2015
Here’s some more of the herbs I’m currently growing.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) grows easily and well here. Unlike many other medicinal herbs it does have some pests and diseases, but so far nothing too dire. I found out recently that the medicinal quality of ashwagandha roots supposedly decreases after one year, so the three year old plants I’m harvesting this fall might not be higher quality after all, but they sure smell and taste strong with no discolored core or soft spots. I may keep these to experiment with their medicinal action myself. I love growing ashwagandha and expect this to be a main crop for the farm.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is well known all over the world but few people realize how easy it is to grow. It’s easy to grow but tricky to grow well. I’ve been trying to discover the sweet spot with my turmeric patch and now that the rainy season is here I expect rapid growth. I think turmeric is probably going to be the farm money-maker.
Bringhraj (Eclipta alba) is a fun and easy plant to grow. I missed the time of highest quality to harvest it, which was apparently about a months ago, since it has declined rapidly with the onset of the rainy season. I don’t think this will sell well so I probably won’t grow it at the farm.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) This plant loves water. In fact, if you don’t give it enough water it will die back within a day or two. Gotu Kola cannot withstand drought at all. As easy as this plant is to grow, I don’t have any swampy areas at the farm and don’t want to commit to the amount of irrigation this plants prefers, so I probably will not try to grow it commercially.
Gao Liang Jiang/Galangal (Alpinia galanga) this delightful plant is one of my favorite gingers to grow. It’s definitely more cold-hardy than some of the other gingers and thrives in deep mulch and morning sun. This fall I will be splitting this thick patch. This is a primary “soup herb” but is also used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
This is my secret stash. I’m hoping gingers are going to be the backbone of the farm, and my collection of medicinal gingers is growing- Cao Guo/black cardamom, E Zhu/zedoary, Curcuma wenyujin/Yu Jin, and Alpinia katsumadai/Cao Dou Kou. The cao guo and cao dou kou are still up in the air, since the medicinal part is the fruit and I don’t know if the darn things are going to flower in this area, much less fruit. But I have high hopes.
Other herbs that have tested well in trials: Achyranthes bidentata/Chuan Niu Xi, Motherwort/Yi Mu Cao, Luffa cylindrica/Si Gua Luo
Herbs to test next year: Suan zao ren, Chuan lian zi, Ban zhi lian, Zhi zi, and a couple other vines and small trees.