Two Mints on my allotment presently. How many mints are there? 7,500. Yes. The Mint Family Lamiaceae includes mints, sage, lavender, basil, thymes. Mints alone have 600 varieties including peppermint, spearmint, chocolate, orange, apple, liquorice, ginger etc.
Mint the herb of hospitality. Makes a good tea. Peppermint is good for the digestion. And anti-inflammatory for the lungs. Topical.
And the wonderful smell. Mint sauce. Mint on potatoes.
Fifteen allotment food parcels delivered so far and more to go. Amazing how much harvest can come off the allotment in March and April, traditionally the hungry gap.
Nothing in the parcels has been planted this year, that is all to come, seeds are in and beginning to emerge. All the harvest is from perennial herbs, or spinach and chard and kale that I have left to overwinter and has continued to produce new leaves. And of course the rhubarb comes up year on year.
More perennial plants will be needed as the climate changes, plants that work together with other plants in layers, forest gardens that look after themselves and give a continuing crop.
I saw my first two ladybirds today. And a Small Blue butterfly, and a Brimstone.
Yesterday I harvested nettle tops from behind the allotment shop with scissors and gloves. First ones had greenfly on so had to go further up and luckily the fly had not spread that far. Collected a carrier bag full and took them home to make soup.
My Culpeper herbal says nettles are dominated by Mars which means they are hot and dry. As Winter is cold and moist, eating nettles in Spring will ‘consume the flegmatic superfluities in the body of man’ (and I hope woman too). He continues to say that they ‘open up the pipes and passages of the lungs which is the cause of wheezing and shortness of breath, and helpeth to expectorate tough flegm, as also to raise the imposthumed pleurisy, and spend it by spitting.’ Hildegard agrees nettles are warming and that they purge and remove mucus from the stomach, and are good for a coughing horse.
Sounds like we should all be eating nettles during this pandemic.
I have been making up allotment food parcels for friends and neighbours during this pandemic. I wrap them in newspaper with an elastic band, all recycled. A kind of bouquet.
Today’s parcel included: spinach, chard, parsley, 2 kinds of sage, 2 kinds of mint, borage, comfrey, chives, lovage, rosemary, sorrel, rhubarb, kale, lemon balm, oregano.
I deliver to their front step and text them to collect.
I have given out 7 parcels so far, more to go.
OAK GALL INK
I made my first ink today. It works but it is pale. Maybe I should have left the crushed and boiled galls for longer. I will soak them for a day or two and try again. Exciting and disappointing both at once. I read that oak gall ink has been used since Roman times. It would have been used to write the Magna Carta.