In this episode of Homesteading Basics, I’m going to share a tip that has helped me to keep my special plants thriving and happy—even when conditions are very challenging (as in, 100°F heat, intense direct sun, and high winds):
So, which plants are the most important? Well, for me, they include plants that I am going to use to make medicine, tender plants that require special care, and a few plants that are just personal favorites of mine—mostly because they make me happy.
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Keep Special Plants Close to the House
As you’ll see in the video, I keep some of my most special plants close to the house—and I mean really close. The turmeric that I’m standing next to is only about 4 feet from the house, and about 10 feet from my front door. It is planted along a walkway that I use all the time—at least several times a day. So, I always know exactly how these plants are doing. On hot days or windy days, I know when they’re suffering from dryness. And because they’re so close, it’s very easy for me to grab a watering can and take care of them.
So, they’re never neglected. And trust me, I neglect a lot of my plants. The plants that I select for my orchard and other gardens that are far away from the house have to be very tough. But I keep tender, special plants like these very close.
I make regular trips down this walkway with watering cans full of water and fertilizer. And you can tell that all of the plants along this walkway get special care because they usually look great!
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Make Use of Your Microclimates
This walkway is situated on the east side of my house where it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. During the summer months, the microclimate here is cooler than the surrounding areas. During the winter, this area is warmer than the surrounding areas because of the heat radiating from the house. So, this is an ideal spot for tender and sensitive plants.
On the opposite side of my house, it’s a much different scene. The direct sunshine on summer afternoons creates a microclimate of extreme heat. You can see the solution I came up with to control the heat in this video: “Create Cool Shade with this Easy Plant.”
The microclimate here on the east side of my house is perfect for tender medicinals like turmeric. With the constant attention and interaction that these plants receive, I will be confident that they will make good medicine when the time comes to finally harvest them.
Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of “homegrown food on every table.” Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.