Tuesday, March 18, 2008

black pepper

I'm all atwitter - my black pepper plant (Piper nigrum) is actually blooming! I grow it as a houseplant here in zone 5 in New York state. I've had this plant for a few years and was wondering if it was happy. Growth hasn't been stellar. It lives outdoors on the porch in the summer and comes inside for the winter. But, noticing the blooms, I believe it is adapting well to this climate. Hopefully, the blooms will lead to peppercorns. You can bet dinner spiced with that black pepper will be a special occasion!

The ground outdoors is still completely frozen and any sign of spring and growth is cause for celebration. Right now, green growth is the houseplants and the seedlings I have been sowing indoors. I use a grow light and my south facing windows. Right now I have seedlings of ginseng, tomatoes, white sage, bupulerum, hot peppers, hyssop, lemon balm, ashwagandha, adafetida, roselle, angelica (archangelica and sinensis) and a lot more. When you are a plant nut, it's amazing how a little seed can bring such happiness.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Talking About herbs

I teach crazy quilting and herbs. Maybe a strange combination, maybe not. I also write articles about each subject. In January, my article on calendula appeared in The Essential Herbal.
I will post it on the Green Spiral Herbs web site now that the next issue has arrived. Make sure you check out and subscribe to this grass roots, exciting magazine.

Today, the United Plant Savers Journal of Medicinal Plant Conservation arrived and it has our progress report about our Botanical Sanctuary in it. Go to United Plant Savers to read the update.

Another project which I am quite excited about is the start-up of an absinthe company in the Catskills. Why am I excited? Well not just for the taste of absinthe (however yummy that is)...the owner, Cheryl Lins, has asked us to grow many of the herbs she will use in this mythic, mystic concoction. We met with Cheryl a few months ago and gave her samples of our herbs and she was impressed with the quality of what we grow. She wants to keep as much as she can "in the Catskills". We agree! Here is a link to a newspaper article written about her last week:
Absinthe. Oh yeah, I'll let you know when bottles of this fine beverage will be available. You may have to come to the Catskills to get it though!

In the meantime, it's another frozen day here. Spring is still some time away, but seedlings in southern facing windows have sprouted and red-winged blackbirds have arrived in the yard. Not so very long now til my hands can get in the earth again.