Sunday, March 4, 2012

an inventory of our herb seed

although it is nowhere near time to start any seeds, i thought i would do an inventory of our seeds here on the blog for future reference and to get ready for starting our seeds in the next few weeks. jambaloney is going to build us an access database so that i can sort through and return report metrics on our seeds, but he has just been too busy with other stuff. however, we both realize that if we are going to do this "homestead" thing and try to grow as much of our own food as possible - then the happpy-go-lucky manner in which we used to garden back in the city will have to change. of course, i will keep hardcopies of our inventory as well!

oh and a nifty thing about the Manor? the previous owner appears to have been very interested in herbology - he left 3 big binders full of hand-written notes about different herbs, their use for a variety of ailments, and how best to take each one: tea, infusion, in food or topically. as i have been interested in herbology for years, i was quite pleased by this find! he also planted several herbs like chives and rosemary - both of which were thriving last summer. the only problem is that they self-seeded all over the front lawn!!! i, of course, saved seed from both herbs as the chives were to die for and the rosemary too! i will be digging up both from the lawn and moving them to a more appropriate place this spring. regardless, i have bags of saved seed from them to last several lifetimes!!!

in addition to that - we have naturally-occurring medicinal herbs growing wild and all over the place here - such as St. John's Wort, Heal All and Evening of Primrose!!! Can you believe that?!?!?! so of course, we have bags of dried flowers from all of these, as well as saved seeds from each.

for now i am inventorying our herb seed. a lot of these herbs will self-seed and come back once established, but i still think it is important to have extra seed on hand to share and trade. i think being able to grow your own food is an incredibly necessary skill to have if SHTF - but i think that it is an essential skill to be able to save seed from that food that you grow to be able to provide for yourself, and others, in the future, if S really does HTF!

oh and one last thing - all of our seeds are certified organic and GMO-free!


AMARANTH: hopi red dye, polish, elephant head


BASIL: low growing lemon, purple ruffles, sweet, greek, italian large leef

BEE BALM: panorama

BORAGE: blue, white





CHIVES: regular, and seed saved from the ones that were already growing here

CILANTRO/CORIANDER: calypso, confetti

CLOVER: red and naturally-occurring


CONEFLOWER: narrow-leaved and from seed saved 2 yrs ago



CRYSANTHEMUM: edible shungiku

CUMIN: black

DANDELION: naturally-occurring


FENNEL: florence

FEVERFEW: flore pleno

FLAX: scarlet

FOXGLOVE: common, large yellow


HEAL ALL: naturally-occuring


LAMB'S QUARTERS: good king henry and naturally-occurring

LAVENDER: hidcote blue, lady, butterflies

LEMON BALM: common and from seed saved 2yrs ago





MUSTARD: yellow


NASTURTIUM: strawberry cream, whirlybird, alaska, empress of india

OREGANO: vulare, greek

PARSLEY: champion curled, italian

POPPY: field


QUEEN ANNE'S LACE: naturally-occuring


SAGE: garden, white, painted

SAVOURY: summer, winter



TARRAGON: russian


THYME: summer, magic carpet, english




YARROW: naturally-occurring

well that's the list of our herb seed. i am still on the lookout for bergamot, sumac and sorrel. i am going to ask jambaloney's mom to get me some sumac - it grows all over ontario but not here in cape breton.

next up will be an inventory of our vegetable and fruit seed.


  1. Herbs are at top of my list this year too...mine are in sad shape.

    1. dear sweet one - i had such an herb garden back in the city - it was beautiful!!! last year, due to rushing and all kinds of crap, my herbs took a real hit from not being properly cared for. this year; however, i intend to be the year of the herb - bahahaha!

  2. Replies
    1. yer darn tootins buddy! seeds from field poppy can be used as a pain medication and the petals can be added to drinks for "prettiness". plus they are just all-around pretty!

      you should grow field poppies too! they are an excellent source of pollen for bees! bees love them!

    2. Actually the Mrs is in charge of flowers but yes she does grow some. I tell her she is an outlaw poppy producer as well.

    3. teehee. then i am glad to be in such good company!

  3. How wonderful to have had notebooks on herbology left for you ! The best I ever got in a house I bought, was a small package of air filters for the heating system ! I only grow a few things in terms of herbs here, I can't really take credit for. Different varieties of mint grow so easily, and I like to make my own mint sauce. I also grow chives which I harvest and chop into cheese omelets. The chives helps to cover the gaminess from duck eggs, when I use the duck eggs for omelets or quiches.

    1. Jane - you would love the notebooks! the previous owner left a lot of junk - but he also left the notebooks and a bunch of paintings that he made. i have kept the paintings aside in case we ever meet up with him again - apparently he only lives about an hour and a half from here. and ooooh - i love chives and duck eggs. haven't had a good duck egg in years. lucky you!

    2. Perhaps at some time Kymber, you can get a couple of ducks. Ours have nothing more than a fenced area, and what amounts to a nice dog house to live in. They don't have a pond,because I like a flatter washbasin out there that they can swim in, but that I can tip out and clean. Periodically, we move them, so that their impact on he ground is not too great, and it all recovers. I would love to give you duck eggs if I could. (Of course distance and laws make that impossible just now.)
      I think it's lovely that you kept the paintings for him. I miss Nova Scotia so much. There is just so very much that recommends it. Strangely, I felt better there than anywhere I have ever been in my life. Something perhaps about living up against the salt air.

    3. Jane - another friend of mine has suggested getting ducks! we have wild ducks here and i would love to get some to come and "live" with us. i know that you would send some duck eggs in a heartbeat because you are just such a sweet person like that! i kept the paintings because there was so much work put into them. but the previous owner did come back the week before our purchase date and took some stuff like his computer and tv. i guess he didn't want the paintings nor the notebooks but i still have them.

      as for missing NS - are you planning to come back and visit any time in the future? we sure would love to meet you if you did! i missed my island for 25 years...i yearned for it. and i yearned for the air. and the sound of the ocean's roar. so i can really relate. just remember - Nova Scotia misses you too!

    4. We have a teeny house with a caretaker family in Southern NS. We come each year, but only for a short while. We come long enough to love the ocean, walk the beach, and decide what needs to be done to keep the house happy and living. The caretaker does everything in terms of maintenance and winterization and wakes up the house in Spring. We decide and pay for the larger maintenance, like the deck, the porch, roofing replacement, siding repair, well pump replacement, and this year, probably barn replacement. You see, we do not own the house, it owns us, and our children after us, and in some way that we don't completely understand, it owns the caretaker, who owned it three owners ago, in the 1980s. This is the home where our souls live. We also believe that my father and our youngest son live there, though we can't tell you exactly why. I think that this place in southern NS is where the Earth ends and Heaven begins. I think it's likely about nine hours from you. (Probably also an alternate conduit to Heaven) We fly into Halifax, and then drive about four hours to our house. We think you are likely three and a half hours from the airport in the other direction. We do need to get to Baddeck sometime also. I am in NS even when I am here at the farm. I also dream in NS, and I even separate my rubbish in my dreams exactly as we do in NS. LOL

    5. this is the home where your souls live. and you believe that your father and youngest son live here. and you believe this place to be a conduit to heaven.

      i truly understand, dear one.

  4. I'm a little jealous of your milder climate; we're somewhere between a zone 4 and zone 3 here depending on the winter temperatures and snow cover. It is too cold here to leave rosemary and lemon grass outside over the winter. Planting them in pots and bringing them in for the winter seems to work alright, except the rosemary usually dies after 2 or 3 years. Thyme and sage are a marginal gamble depending on the winter.

    1. Mrs. S - we are in a funny little micro-climate that flips between a 6a and 6b...i love the milder climate! back in the city we were about a 5b - another micro-climate thing happening - but we really do have much milder winters and more even and temperate growing seasons! i love it here!

  5. I love having fresh herbs, but it gets so hot and dry here that they don't do well on their own (except for rosemary). I've been thinking about just growing a few in pots in the house. I have a ton of dill and coriander seed for cilantro from when I was growing it and kept some seeds.

    1. 45er - there is nothing in the world better than fresh herbs. we like to make our morning tonic using a sage leaf, some lemon balm, chammomile flowers, and whatever herb is growing. it is a lovely start to the day!

  6. Well, you learn something every day. :-)

    I had to look up sumac, cause I was thinking what would you want that for? My parents had tons of sumac at their old place and they were the most annoying weeds we ever had to deal with. I had no idea they were so useful!

    1. oh Wendy - we had sumac growing everywhere back in ottawa. and now can't find any?!?!??! ARGHGHGHGHGHGH! but we will see if we can get jambaloney's mom to get us some - she is good with getting viable seed and whatnot as she farmed for years as well. sumac is a wonderful addition to your herbs!

    2. Well, I have to say that you inspired me. If sumac is so useful, what else have we got growing around here, and why am I letting it go to waste? So I've been going through the seed catalogue at richter's (, and making some notes. The problem is, now I want everything!! The next problem is, even if I could afford everything, not being familiar with the plants, too many would overwhelm me and I wouldn't know what anything was by the end of the season. So I'm debating between common spices that we currently use versus medicinal herbs. And then I think I should maybe just pick stuff that all gets processed the same way, like maybe stuff that gets used as a tea for this year, then add roots next year, and seed the year after, to give me time to get to know the plants.

      So, my question is, if you had to start all over, where would you begin?

    3. Oh- and richter's has sumac, if jambaloney's mom can't find some for you!

    4. oh Wendy - thanks so much for the tip about where to get sumac! to answer your question, if i was to start all over, i think i would begin where i began when i first started my herb garden - and that is with cooking herbs. i would do sage (makes the best tea in the world!), rosemary, dill, mint, oregano, thyme, savoury and cilantro. that's how i started my first herb garden. once i got used to those i started adding medicinal herbs like ecchinacea, lemon balm, stevia, etc.

      i have found that once herbs have "taken" to their tire or raised bed, they thrive without needing much attention at all. i think your way of going for tea, then roots, then seed will be very beneficial to you. good luck my friend!

  7. Those notebooks sound like a real gold mine. He may not have meant to leave all that. You certainly have an impressive list of herb seeds. I have sweet basil seeds. That's it!

    1. PracticalP - the previous owner came and cleared some stuff out about a week before our purchase date - he took his computer and tv and did tidy up a smidge - he stacked all of his paintings neatly in the closet. we asked the real estate agent if he wanted his paintings, books, clothes, etc. and she said that he did not. i have kept the paintings just in case he ever changes his mind. the notebooks are quite lovely and he organized them in a way that i would have organized them so that is a double plus. i really enjoy the notebooks!

  8. I love your list of herbs! I plan to keep adding my list each year.

  9. Donna - i had been saving seed from my beautiful herb garden back in the city. they were all lost in the flood we had last year. but our stepdad Ted gave us a generous gift and we were able to replace all of our seed in one fell shwoop. we are still grateful! and yes, i love my list of herbs too. only need a few more and then i will have all the cooking and medicinal herbs that i want.

  10. Beth at Red Barn FarmMarch 5, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I have bergamont seed to share? Not sure what the customs restrictions are between countries. I'm down south of you in the U.S.
    Though I have to share that Bee Balm and Bergamont are the same herb (at least to my knowledge) My seed is a true bergamont with that Earl Grey taste as a tea.

    Would love to swap any seeds.Mail me @

  11. Beth - i just got your comment. email coming in the morning. and yes, new dear friend, we will share our seeds! thank you!

  12. Haha, growing herb seeds makes me think about the Herbology class in Harry Potter!