German Chamomile

$ 4.00 

german chamomile
matricaria chamomilla

days to maturity: 65 days
plant spacing: 4 plants per square foot
sunlight requirements: 6-14 hours
look out for: mildew and rotting caused by overwatering and humidity
harvest notes: harvest flowers fresh daily, or leaves for fresh use also
annual

Chamomile is a beautiful plant that we are happy to be offering to home gardeners. For years we had trouble getting store bought plants to flower and we blamed it on the heat; but then we saw our friend Dan Dillons prolific chamomile patch in Homestead and realized we had been buying the wrong variety! So we bought seed for the right variety and here we are. While the delicious medicinal tea is made primarily from the flowers the leaves are also medicinal, edible and smell and taste of bubble gum. Chamomile is prized for its versatile health benefits which include: lowering blood sugar, reducing menstrual pain, reducing inflammation, helping with sleep and relaxation and treating cold symptoms. Chamomile leaves can be used as an add-in to salads and more. Try mixing them into chopped butter lettuce dressed with olive oil, salt, and just a quick spritz of lemon. Combine snipped chamomile and mint as a leafy covering on top of a ricotta-spread hot flatbread, or chop chamomile finely and add it to yogurt with a touch of grated garlic (as you might with dill) as a dip for crudités. If your chamomile plant starts looking like its covered in white spots or fuzz then its got a case of mildew. This means your plant is either being watered too much or is in too much shade, allowing the mildew to thrive on the plant. While harvesting with a “chamomile rake” is the traditional method you only really need that if you’ve got a whole lotta plants! picking the flowers lovingly from each plant ought to do it for now.

 Image courtesy Starbright Farm.