Medicinal Herb Micro-Farming: How to do it!
A workshop with Michael Pilarski
March 17-18, 2018
Saturday/Sunday. 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Finnriver Farm & Cidery
$130 for both days
$75 for single day
Both days are recommended but a single day will cover a lot of bases.
There is a shortage of high-quality, domestically-grown herbs. This workshop will give you an idea of the possibilities of getting into small-scale medicinal herb production. Species selection, tillage, fertilizing, organic methods, spacing, propagation, planting, weeding, water, harvesting, and so forth. We will discuss examples of rhizomatous bed crops, subshrubs, annuals, biennials, 4-year root crops, long-term perennials, trees, etc. I have learned how to achieve good production starting in year one and every year thereafter. My systems are influenced by agroforestry and permaculture.
The workshop will be geared towards small-scale, commercial production. Yard-scale up to a couple acres. This workshop will be useful to people already growing herbs as well as people thinking of getting into herb farming. It doesn’t take a large production if you have a value-added business. The most land Michael has farmed at one time is two acres. He is currently farming two plots totaling ¾ of an acre with 100 plant species. My specialty is medicinal agroforestry systems, aka medicinal food forests.
I do a lot of my farming with hand tools. Generally I have my new plots worked up with a tractor. I then plant a perennial system and it is only hand tools after that. Tractors and rototillers are great tools at certain scales, but all scales of intensive herbal production require a great deal of hand labor, human eyes, attentiveness, and love.
The workshop will include hands-on time digging and cleaning roots, planting, weeding, and tool demonstrations.
Michael Pilarski, of Friends of the Trees Botanicals, has farmed a wide diversity of crops in permaculture and agroforestry systems. He has been farming medicinal plants for the last 22 years in western and eastern Washington with a focus on small-scale and low capitalization. An Herb Growers Cooperative is in the process of forming. Get in on the ground floor.
Bring a brown bag lunch. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and come prepared for the weather as we will be outside part of the day.
Topics will include:
Crop selection and spacing.
Propagation: seed (greenhouse and direct seeding), stratification, divisions, rhizomes, cuttings.
Field and bed preparation
Fertilization, organic methods
Agroforestry and permaculture perspectives.
We will discuss the growing particulars for crops such as:
Small, rhizomatous, bed crops such as meadow arnica, skullcap, sheep sorrel, horsetail, bugleweed,
Robust, rhizomatous, bed crops such as nettles, bugleweed,
Subshrubs, such as thyme, hyssop, oregano, garden sage, winter savory, betony,
Annual flowers, such as calendula.
Biennial flowers such as mullein.
Perennial flowers such as arnica, red clover, St John’s wort, yarrow, beebalm,
Long term perennial root crops, such as black cohosh, goldenseal, culver’s root, Joe-Pye weed, Echinacea,
Biennial roots such as burdock, yellow dock, teasel, valerian,
Perennial roots such as comfrey, elecampane, marshmallow, horseradish,
Long term perennials with harvested aerial parts such as boneset, meadowsweet, lady’s mantle, wormwood, mugwort, alfalfa,
Short term perennials such as catnip, California poppy,
Annual herbs such as holy basil, blessed thistle, sweet annie,
Fruit and berries such as elderberry, hawthorn, rosehips,
Seed such as burdock, Echinacea, nettles, milky oats
Straw such as oatstraw
Gummy buds such as gumweed
Barks such as willow, Amur cork tree, cascara, larch.
Shrub roots such as Oregon-grape, bayberry.
Flowers from trees and shrubs such as elderberry, hawthorn, linden, rose,
Nuts such as horse chestnuts, black walnut hulls
Twigs/leaves such as huckleberry, blueberry, bayberry,
Conifer foliage such as western red cedar, eastern white cedar, juniper, Pacific yew,
Tree leaves such as ginkgo.
Garden weeds such as dandelion, wild lettuce, sheep sorrel, shepherds purse, chickweed, plantain.
Michael Pilarski, 360-643-9178
Registration can be paid online with Paypal
or send a check to:
Friends of the Trees
PO Box 1133
Port Hadlock, Wa 98339
If you are coming from out of town we can give lodging recommendations.
Here is a url to a list of medicinal plants that Michael has grown:
Here is a url to a more in-depth article on Michael’s agroforestry farm systems and links to 19 youtubes.
Friends of the Trees Instagram page