Course 12 | Backyard Gardening and Cultivation
Learn all you need to grow a medicinal herb garden. These lessons include garden planning, growing, propagation, maintenance, and herb harvesting, drying, and storage.
Meet your course instructor
Lindsay Hounslow | Medical Herbalist, Organic Master Gardener
Lindsay’s interest in plants was cultivated in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. During 10 years of work as a naturalist guide, Lindsay gained a deep appreciation for ecology and her clinical practice integrates her respect for the profound nature of connection within our web of life. She has a deep love for plants and a passion to increase the availability of safe, effective medicines in a form that nurtures our shared spiritual and ecological health. After studies in geography, nutrition, and yoga, and mentorship in energy work, shamanism, organic gardening, and herbal wildcrafting, she dedicated herself to herbal studies and was one of PRC’s first Diploma of Phytotherapy graduates. She is a professional member of the Canadian Herbalist Association of BC and is on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of Herbalist Associations. She practices herbalism in her home community of Fernwood, Victoria and is a happy gardener, yogi, and mother.
Growing your own medicinal herbs is one of the most rewarding ways to work with herbs and it is an empowering way to engage deeply with your own healing process. This course gives you the knowledge and skills to develop your herbal garden, regardless of whether you are starting at the beginning or looking to expand on your abilities as a herb gardener. After completing this course you will be able to plan and create a garden, select the best plants for your garden, assess and improve soil health, propagate new plants by various techniques, and harvest and dry medicinal plants.
This course is grounded in the understanding that, as humans, we are part of an ecological web. We discuss various relationships within the garden – including human-plant relationships and the relationships between plants and soil-based organisms. The tools offered are based on organic methods and informed by the principles and ethics of permaculture, which are explained in our discussion on garden design.
You are shown how to assess your potential garden space and design and plan your herb garden. We discuss considerations for establishing a garden and choosing materials to use for building garden beds and for pathways. In order to create a healthy organic garden, we build your knowledge of soil including the physical and biological aspects of soil health. We discuss soil in-depth and learn about soil testing, including skills you can use at home, as well as soil amendments, mulching, and how to compost effectively.
We explore plant life cycles and how to research for plant selection. We look in detail at multiple methods for propagating plants and provide you access to video demonstrations as well as detailed instructions with written and visual aids to help you apply your knowledge and build your skills in the garden. We look at some specific examples of herbs to grow as well as more general procedures that can be applied to any herb you wish to grow.
We discuss medicinal weeds in the garden and learn how to make use of them to improve your garden health in addition to human health. While our focus is on outdoor gardens we also cover herbs for growing indoors and container gardening. Finally, we go into detail about how and when to harvest medicinal herbs and how to dry and store them for future use, completing the cycle and giving you the knowledge for herb gardening from start to finish.
By the end of the course, you will have the ability to:
- Plan a medicinal herb garden.
- Research plants to obtain all needed information about successful cultivation.
- Plan herbal cultivation and harvest according to plant life cycles.
- Propagate and maintain various categories of herbs.
- Understand propagation skills including seeding, stem cuttings, root cuttings, divisions, and transplanting.
- Amend soil for plant growth.
- Conduct a basic soil test.
- Create new garden beds.
- Recognize and utilize under-appreciated garden ‘weeds’.
- Select herbs for container gardening and indoor gardening.
- Harvest medicinal herbs for use.
- Grow specific select plants.
Section I | Welcome
2. Course outline
3. Why garden?
Section II | Getting started
4. Organic gardening & permaculture
5. Planning your garden site
6. Plant selection
7. Plant life cycles & growth forms
8. Building garden beds
Section III | Foundations of gardening: soil
9. Understanding soil
10. Soil testing
11. Soil amendments
14. Sheet mulching
Section IV | Propagation methods
15. Plant propagation methods overview
18. Root division
19. Stem cutting
21. Root cutting
Section V | Herbal cultivation
22. Specific herbs to cultivate
23. Medicinal ‘weeds’ in the garden
Section VI | Indoor and container cultivation
24. Container gardening
Section VII | Garden maintenance
25. Garden maintenance
Section VIII | Herbal harvest, drying, & processing
26. Introduction to herbal harvesting
27. Harvest timing & equipment
28. Harvesting specific plant parts
29. Harvesting aerial parts
30. Harvesting flowers
31. Harvesting roots
32. Drying & storing your herbs
33. Options for drying
34. Processing dried herbs
35. Storing dried herbs
Section IX | Conclusion
36. Course review