Jessica Gorton

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since Sep 09, 2012
Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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Recent posts by Jessica Gorton

I've been reading The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer while planning my own medicinal herb business, and they use a small wood chipper to chop their roots. Way less expensive than a hammermill, but you can't powder roots with it. Still, I think for my purposes it'll work...
3 years ago
Plant number 1 is Butterfly Weed - Asclepias tuberosa, I'm almost sure. Not sure about number 2.
3 years ago
Maybe it's an over-abundance of nitrogen? The plants that you mentioned are doing well - squash-family stuff - love a "hot" environment. They can grow happily in an active compost pile. Maybe your other plants are being burned by too much fertility? But that doesn't explain the fungus in the one bed and not the other...
3 years ago
One thing I'd be concerned about would be the shelf life of powdered veggies. When you turn something into a powder, you are exposing way more of it to air, which will increase the rate at which you will lose nutrients etc. I find that for dried herbs, they stay far fresher if I leave them as whole as possible, then grind or crush them right before use.

Perhaps instead of powdering them ahead of time, you could make the soup with the chunks of veggies and then use a stick blender to puree the final product?
3 years ago
It sounds as if you've accomplished a ton! I'd love to see some pictures if you have the ability to post them - I'm always interested in other permies working in cold climates. I've been on my property two years, and feel like I could be accomplishing so much more....
3 years ago
Have you tried Arnica (topically, only take internally in homeopathic doses)?
3 years ago
I would think that if you started with dried herbs and a clean jar, a 40% alcohol would be more than adequate to keep mold from forming. Generally speaking, you want the final tincture to be above 35% or so for preservation purposes. The green film could perhaps have been small particles of leaf powder? The final red color looks right for a SJW tincture to me.

As for fresh vs dried tincture, while I agree that in general fresh herbs make for a more potent tincture, I've made plenty of tinctures from dried herbs that worked great. If that's what you have access to, then go for it! And one very important thing to remember about making tinctures from fresh herbs: the water in the plant itself is going to effect the final alcohol content of the tincture, so you can't safely make fresh tinctures from 80 proof vodka. Most herbalists start with everclear or other high-proof alcohol, and do some math to figure out how much they need to dilute it to get the correct final proof. So for beginners, tinctures from dried herbs may be the best way to go.
3 years ago
Your query led me to this, and now I have greenhouse envy....
3 years ago
I was so sad when I heard this! I was living near them when I was learning to farm, and what an awesome family and business...they will be missed.
3 years ago
Everybody has a different idea about the "best" woodstove out there - if you spend any time on woodstove forums, you'll a thousand opinions on a thousand stoves. That being said, after doing my research and reading a lot of reviews, I went with Pacific Energy's Alderlea stove, and so far I've been quite happy with it. It's not going to get you the efficiency of a rocket mass heater, but it kept our house plenty warm through a pretty cold Maine winter (though we do have an auxilliary stove in the kitchen - because of the layout, that room doesn't get the heat as directly).
3 years ago