organic growers school

Last weekend, I attended the Organic Growers School in beautiful, Asheville North Carolina. This year is the second year I have gone and what an educational, fun-filled, jam-packed weekend! I drove up with my friends, Cyndi and Julie and a few of our Ladies Homestead Gathering gals were there as well. My brain is still fried from all the new info but I will try and decipher my notes for you. 🙂

Here are a few of my absolute favorite classes –

Propagating Woodland Botanical

We studied some of the native plants that are slowly diminishing from our part of the country due to poaching and aggressive harvesting. North Carolina has the most abundant supply of native medicinal herbs because of their wonderful mountain climate.

Ginseng – Panax quinquefolius, was historically abundant but it is increasingly threatened. We can propagate these plants so that they continue to grow and spread. Ginseng is a slow growing plant that can take up to 5 years for a good root to harvest. Propagate by seed and seedling. The 1st year you have 1 leaf, 2nd-3rd year 3 leaves and by 4-5 years you have the 5 leaves. When you dig up the roots, they kind of look like a little man. Weird huh? 🙂 To grow(can be challenging), plant in the woods on a NE facing slope near oak, poplars and birch. Not too close to the water, definitely on a slope and in a 70% shaded area.


Goldenseal, Hydrastis canadesis, the natural habitat is West NC. Plant near Poplars, hickory. Propagate by cutting and seed. The plant has serrated, maple shaped leaves with red berries. Wonderful natural antibiotic that works well with echinacea during cold season.


Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadesis, Herbaceous perinnial needs well drained soil, again in the shade but will do well on the north side of the house. Appetite stimulant in cattle feed and recently used in cancer studies. The leaves curl over the white flowers, then opens, then the flower goes away. Kind of a quick process. When you cut the root, it bleeds red, dark orange hence the name! Some people are very sensitive to the liquid so be cautious. Bloodroot is used as an anti-microbial, a dye, treats skin lesions(actually eats away moles, cancerous growths), prevents tooth decay, toxic in large doses.


Black Cohosh, Cimicifuga or Actaea racemosa, known as the Women’s Herb, HRT alternative. In very high demand. Propagate by division and seed. The plant has a very strong smell, dead bug smell, some call bugbane? Root is very dark, almost black. The stalk flower can grow 8 feet tall with white, blue flowers.

Black Cohosh
Black Cohosh

So for all of these plants, site selection is critical. You want mixed hardwood forest, some pines ok. If you find any of the above plants, then your choice is simple, plant near where you found some. Good air, drainage, rich soil, leaf mulch, high organic matter and should stay moist year round.

If you want to start planting these and don’t know where to start, you can contact UNITED PLANT SAVERS.

We propagated two plants to take home, yay!

Goldenseal – We cut the rhizome into pieces about 1″ with an obvious bud and a healthy mass of fibrous root. Stuck it in some good dirt and took it home, put it in my mini greenhouse. As soon as it pops through the soil, I will transfer it to the woods, scared!

Black Cohosh – It definitely needs a bud. Stay away from the old blackened end. Stuck it again in some dirt. When planting these in the ground the goldenseal will be planted somewhat shallow and the black cohosh deeper but the can go near each other, about a foot apart. Wish me luck!


If you want to get any of these herbs in dried form, visit the link for Mountain Rose Herbs. If you do order from them through my link, I receive a very small commission from them. Thank you.
Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c
Will post the next class later or tomorrow. The outside is calling my name!!!!!! Enjoy the day. 🙂


Shared with Wildcrafting Wednesday!

You May Also Like