FAQ

Q: What’s included in the kit?

Our Medieval Herb & Tea Garden is a ready-to-use container garden kit that includes Basil, Thyme, Sage, and Parsley , our beautiful, hand crafted garden pottery , the Small Garden Biodynamic Preparations Kit and a 16 Quart bag of Organic Mechanics Premium Potting Soil.

Q: What is Biodynamic spray?

The Josephine Porter Institute, a leader in Biodynamics research and a developer of plant health products for the past quarter century, produces JPI spray. Provided in concentrated form and optimized for home garden use, this 7-in-1 Biodynamic spray is included in our kit to strengthen the herbs, improve the quality of the potting soil, and fine-tune herb development to the natural rhythms of the cosmos—the cycles of the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars. Growers are guided by a cosmic calendar (also included in our kit), where phases of the lunar and astral cycles indicate the ideal time for sowing, pruning, or treating. Pioneered by Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), an Austrian scientist and educator who deplored the over-dependence on agro-chemicals—biodynamics takes you beyond organics, allowing you to work with these life forces to increase the physical health of your soil and the plants growing within it.

Q: Can you tell me more about the included soil?

The Finest Potting Soil in the World is Part of The McEwen Farms Medieval Herb & Tea Garden. As is true with any farming or gardening, the better the soil, the better the results can be. That’s why each Medieval Herb & Tea Garden kit comes with a 16-lb. bag of very high quality, 100% organic, peat-free potting soil from Organic Mechanics, a well known supplier of soil to professional gardeners at arboretums and botanic gardens. This container-blend soil includes compost, pine bark, coir (coconut husk fiber), and worm rice hulls. Meeting the highest standards for organic certification, it was recently awarded the prestigious Seal of Approval from Organic Gardening magazine. It’s full of living organisms, to help create a top-quality nutrient base—the ideal growing environment for your herbs. This soil also requires less watering, since it enhances the distribution of moisture.

Q: Can you tell me more about the included seeds?

The highest quality seeds transform into the highest quality herbs. Among the popular herbs that were grown in medieval gardens or in small containers—for cooking, brewing tea, or practicing traditional folk medicine—were Basil, Thyme, Sage and Parsley. Our Medieval Herb & Tea Garden includes high quality seeds for all five of these herbs, so that you can plant any or all of them. You’ll also receive easy-to-follow care instructions, along with a calendar indicating when to plant the seeds at the optimal astral time. Or, feel free to use your own seeds or cuttings to grow other herbs, vegetables, or flowers.

Q: Can you tell me more about Basil?

A: Basil is a deep green annual, a member of the mint family, which thrives on rich soil and sunlight. It was first grown in Italy, where it’s considered a sign of love. With its rich, spicy and mildly peppery flavor, Basil is most often used in tomato sauce, pesto, salads, soups, stews, and sauces, and is often served with lamb, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, and mild vegetables. Ever since the Middle Ages, Basil tea has been used to aid digestion, and dried Basil leaves, with their fine fragrance, have been added to sachets and potpourris. It’s also used in cosmetics.

Q: Can you tell me more about Thyme?

Thyme is a short, creeping perennial herb with tiny leaves. It prefers full sunlight in the summer, but will grow in partial shade, and needs a cold environment in the winter. Thyme was loved by the early Greeks and Romans, who used its oil as an after-bath rub and burnt it to get rid of stinging insects or noxious odors. During the Middle Ages and beyond, it was also used to season cuts of beef, and helped to combat the plagues that swept through Europe. Considered to be “very nearly the perfect useful herb,” Thyme has also been used in cough medicines, to soothe upset stomachs, and as an antiseptic. Today, its primary use is to flavor and/or garnish food—beef, lamb, veal, poultry, fish, soups, stews, salads, breads, vegetables, clam chowder, eggs, butter, and a variety of cuisines: French, Cajun, and Creole. 

Q: Can you tell me more about Sage?

Sage is a light green, round-leaved, sharp-smelling, and winter-hardy herb that will flourish in a sunny location, but will also grow in the shade. In the winter, you can put it somewhere cold, so it can go dormant. During the Middle Ages, it was used as a disinfectant, as an astringent, to relieve coughs and sore throats, and “to help the memory, by warming and quickening the senses.”  It was so prized as tea, according to one historian, “the Chinese were willing to trade their own fine green tea for it in a ratio of 4 to 1.” Sage has been used in a variety of ways: medicinal; ornamental; as an insect repellent; in cosmetics, perfumes, after shaves, and soaps; to attract bees; and to color silver hair (but if discontinued, the hair may turn green!). Today, Sage is most commonly used for culinary purposes—with or in beef, liver, pork, veal, lamb, sausages, meat pies, asparagus, lemons, salads, omelets, soups, poultry, potatoes, breads, tomatoes...and more.

Q: Can you tell me more about Parsley?

Parsley was often grown in large quantities in medieval kitchen gardens, but you can grow it in just one (or perhaps two) of the pots included in our Medieval Herb & Tea Garden. It loves moist soil and sun, but will settle for part sun, and grows best in temperatures between 60o and 65o F, but can tolerate temperatures in the low 40s. In ancient Rome, Parsley was used after orgies as a breath freshener and aid to digestion; it has a high chlorophyll content. It’s also high in vitamins A and C, several B vitamins, calcium, and iron, but eating large quantities may irritate the liver or lead to certain other health problems. By the Middle Ages, Parsley was used to “treat” asthma, dropsy, jaundice, and illnesses associated with the kidney, the liver, or the plague. Today, Parsley is most often used as a garnish with steak or fish, but it’s an important part of certain ethnic foods in the Middle East, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, and Spain.

Q: Can we use our own seeds or cuttings?

A: Yes, the soil environment in your Medieval Herb & Tea Garden is ideal for most herbs and vegetables.

Q: What do I receive if I order multiple kits?

Order two or more kits and we’ll include an extra supply of top-quality organic seeds in each one, at no extra charge. What’s more, we’ll guarantee each kit for 30 days from the shipping date, to help ensure your complete satisfaction!

Q: Do you give back to the community and/or help fund sustainable projects?

Yes, a generous portion of the proceeds will go toward restoring a 19th Century farm in rural Wisconsin to the way it was before the wide use of chemicals and other harmful agricultural practices.