An April afternoon at the Place of Gathering
We've just made our first foray of the spring out to the Place of Gathering, up at Dayton MT, one of a few different places where we'll be growing the Essiac herbs! It hasn't greened up a lot yet, but my favorite six months of the year officially began today! The Place of Gathering has great energy and Dayton is always so sunny.
We will be direct-seeding Sheep sorrel within a few weeks, if spring decides to stick around. I started Burdock in seed trays and will transplant it out there. Ditto on Turkey rhubarb. I am planting a veritable grove's worth of Slippery elm seeds, and they will probably stay in their pots for at least a year. This year I am soaking the seeds for 24 hrs. before planting. Update: They are planted, but what a soggy mess..I took "soak" literally. But when they dried off it was as if they'd never gotten wet.
Horizon Herbs has Slippery elm seedlings! They are $15 each + shipping, and they will be shipping later this month. To my knowledge they are the only place in the whole US you can buy Ulmus rubra seedlings. I have never even found Slippery elm seed except from Horizon and an online place called TreeHelp.com. What I would really love is to just go back east and harvest seed in the early summer because Slippery elm is no stranger to those parts. This just in - Horizon is out of Slippery elm seed for now, but there will be fresh seeds in May, which is when they will be ripe.
The distribution map shows Slippery elm hasn't really made it across the Rocky Mountains yet, but there is no reason it can't :)) After all, it was up in Northern Ontario when the Medicine man gave the English woman the herbal formula that was later refined by Rene Caisse into Essiac, so Montana will not be too far north for it. Plus, if I am not mistaken, Horizon Herbs is growing Slippery elm onsite at their farm in Oregon and you can't get any further west of the divide than that ; ) I must mention Richo Chech's great book, Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs. It has a whole 13-page chapter devoted to growing Slippery elm.
The video below was shot at the Place of Gathering a few days ago by the amateur moi (in the "not ready for prime time" genre..). It is a quick tour of the classroom building, the water and the hugelkultur beds. And I couldn't resist a few stills at the end of the Mission Mountains on the way home.. Enjoy!
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