Week 9: Visiting neighboring gardens and a great variety of medicinal plants

The week started with walking garden tours led by three folks involved in our neighboring community garden spaces.

07-05-16 CTGEA - Line of students passing through NewFarms

Bonnie led the class through community garden plots rented out through Burlington Parks and Recreation. She explained that a portion of these plots are part of the “family room” – a garden-based program for parents and children. A program which, some years ago, she and her children were involved in.

Alisha, a UVM student who is working with New Farms for New Americans led us over the hill and into the fields of many refugee and immigrant Vermont families. This space is a project of the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) and its mission is to promote digdity and equal opportunity through farming.

Derek, a recent CTG graduate, led the class around the Discovery Garden. We learned that this garden was previously focused on children’s education, but is now a space for the community at large. We finished by picking out some horseradish roots from a communal space and almost everyone happily chewed on one.

Read more about the first two spaces, among others, here: Burlington Area Community Gardens

and an article on the Discovery Garden here: New Discovery Garden


06-29-16 CTGTT Golden Kate offers plants for tasting
Herbalist, Kate Elmer, visited students at Tommy Thompson last week


This week she spent time at the Ethan Allen CTG, sharing her knowledge about herbalism and the medicinal plants surrounding our garden.

One of the plants we stopped by to talk about was right beneath our feet, plantain. Though considered a weed or grass to mow by many, it is actually a useful herb. Medicinal folklore, science, and many more sources I am sure, explain that plaintain can be used externally as a remedy for rashes or cuts and even insect or snake bites.

Open the following link for a salve recipe: Plantain Medicinal Uses and Recipe

Yes, plantain can be collected and added to salves or balms but it can also be used quite simply. Kate explained the “chew and spit” method. This is as it sounds –  chewing up the leaves and then spitting this liquid/pulp onto the wound or rash.

Plantain is a simple perennial that propagates by seed.

Narrow Leaf Plantain


Broad Leaf Plantain


Another common weed we learned aboutwas Vermont’s state flower: the red clover.

Do you see the two with four leaves?

Learn more about red clover here: Red Clover as Herbal Medicine and even more detail here: Medical Center – Red Clover

We also found a herb called yarrow in the garden. It is pictured below, one flowering and the other with only its segmented leaves.


Yarrow, in one of our shared plots


Kate showed us that this plant also grows in great abudance in the fields outside of the garden. She explained that yarrow can be used internally for helping (or even breaking) fevers, or externally as a poultice for bruises, rashes, swelling and so on.

Finally, week 9 seemed to bring all pea varieties to life! The ornimental peas flowered while the shelling peas and snap peas burst bright, full and delicious.

Shelling Pea

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