Unlike some herbalists, I’m an apartment dwelling city boy and car-free. After talking with the landlord I’ve secured some space in the yard (how much is to be decided) of our building, which is very exciting. And I’ve begun researching things which got me thinking a whole lot more flexibly than just plots in the ground
- Container gardening
- Working vertically with containers rather than just horizontally
- What could I grow in my room in my apartment by window light and strategic grow lamps
- and more!
Here are some of the books, magazines and links I’ve started gathering as I launch into this. I’m not quite vetting these yet, just gathering, but after I go through them more thoroughly I’ll put together a page dedicated to resources I found useful to folks like me looking to grow medicinal herbs in the urban environment.
- The Medicinal Herb Grower, Volume 1 by Richo Cech: The very first book I’ve bought and I’ve just started reading it. Since I’m primarily interested in growing medicinal herbs it seemed a great place to start. But it does seem a bit more oriented to folks with more substantial yard space than I or most city dwellers will really have. Still a good start.
- Urban Farming: Sustainable City Living in Your Backyard, in Your Community, and in the World by Thomas Fox: the second book I bought and have just started reading as well. Not focused on medicinal herbs, but focused on farming in an urban setting so it covers a broader range and things I’ll not do (yet!) but all interesting.
- Herbal Remedies in Pots by Effie Romain: Tragically out of print, but I managed order a used copy on-line which I’m eagerly awaiting in the mail each day! I read excepts from this in an old issue of Herb Quarterly from the mid-90s and thought it brilliant. Very much about both growing medicinal herbs and growing them in more space conscious urban like environs. I suspect it will be amazing!
The next couple of books I’ve ordered and haven’t received but they round out things by focusing more generally on growing herbs in a more classic gardening sense or gardening specifically in Massachusetts and New England. So they should round off things nicely for filling in some gaps that the others might not cover.
- Growing & Using Herbs Successfully by Betty Jacobs
- Your Backyard Herb Garden: A Gardener’s Guide to Growing Over 50 Herbs Plus How to Use Them in Cooking, Crafts, Companion Planting and More by Miranda Smith
- Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs by Tammi Hartung
- The Massachusetts Gardener’s Companion: An Insider’s Guide to Gardening from the Berkshires to the Islands by Barbara Gee
- Month-By-Month Gardening in New England : What to Do Each Month to Have a Beautiful Garden All Year by Jacqueline Heriteau
There are three magazines I’ve been checking out and will continue reading:
- The Herb Quarterly: I’d heard of it before, but not once was this mentioned in any of the herbal classes, workshops, etc. that I’ve been in. Which is a shame because I would have been reading it a long time ago had it been on my radar. Covers medicinal and non-medicinal herbs. Growing, cooking, history, etc. I’m now a subscriber and it will help immensely in planning my mad gardening schemes.
- Urban Farm : I’d never heard of it and it is apparently new. The first issue I’d grabbed had a new column on beekeeping and articles on container gardening and on seed catalogs and how to choose where you want to order – just right for me. It covers other things that don’t apply to me now but are both interesting and may someday. So a subscriber now!
- Mother Earth News: A classic which covers stuff that may never apply to me but really interesting nonetheless. The first issue I grabbed had some eye opening articles on fertilizers that in fact were killing plants. I’ll continuing check it out even though it won’t probably be as central as the other two.
Lastly, here are a couple of blogs and on-line resources that I’m finding useful and even fun:
Wow, that’s a whole lot of info-dumping! Down the line as I gather more info and check things out, I may just turn this into a resource page.
But, as you can tell, I tend to dive deep into learning, especially when there’s herbalism afoot! Plus, I’m both really excited and finding this stuff just fascinating.
As I start doing things and experiment, there will be pictures and descriptions but less link madness! :-)