Friday, December 5, 2014

Farm Day: Little Red Bird Botanicals - Roots and Seeds

Where did the year slip off to? It seems just last month I was photographing budding cohosh and baptista in the garden. But the blossoms have all withered, the vibrant reds, yellows, purples and greens have mostly all faded to browns, and the time of the root is thick upon us.

While the backyard ornamental and vegetable gardeners may already be knitting their winter sorrows, the herbal gardener knows better. 
Late fall is the time to harvest root medicine and save seeds for next year's garden.
On a surprisingly warm day at the end of November I joined Holly of 
Little Red Bird Botanicals to harvest and close up shop for the winter. 

There were many surprises hiding around the garden. The rue was still in full swing, as if it hadn't noticed the cold, several Praying Mantis egg sacs were found, holding the almost microscopic bodies of hundreds of next generation predators, and some shockingly vibrant colors were unearthed in our root digging process as we harvested echinacea and ginger.

We dug the marshmallow root that has been growing for three years and foraged for yellow dock and dandelion roots. We even harvested a whole bucket of sunchokes that we layered between levels of dirt for storage for the winter. 

Praying Mantis egg sac

Echinacea root buds in neon pink
Ginger roots

Tiny sprouts on the Marshmallow Root 

The pinwheel seeds of the Marshmallow - a trademark of the whole family

the sunchoke harvest

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