Making Herbal Salve & Replacing Oleanders with Blackberries

  • October 19, 2013 · 10:30 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

In this Meetup we will be saying goodbye forever to a row of oleanders and adding some natives and blackberries.  During and After our hard work we will have a demo on making an herbal salve that you can add to your first-aid kit to accelerate healing of minor cuts, bruises, mosquito bites, etc. As always, we will share our wonderful food and company together again.

During our day Tanya Kucak will be making herbal salve and you can participate in or observe the process at any point. By the end of the Meetup you will have learned how to make locally sourced herbal salve for about 50 cents an ounce (plus the not-insignificant cost of containers!) and be able to take home a container of salve.

For our work portion we will be removing a row of Oleanders that I planted about 15 years ago.   My inspiration comes from years of visiting Vasona Park and seeing the rows of wild blackberries.  They are thriving in a shaded area along the West side of the park.   My goal is to start these bushes so that they take over where the oleanders once were.  We will also preserve some other native plants and add some new ones.  Please bring Shovels, Axes, Picks, and other things to help get down to the roots.

The area is along the side of a busy street.  It gets late afternoon sun but is mostly in the shade.  The goal is to transform this area by keeping the Native plants and adding berries which will be both native and edible.

 

 

 

 

 

The Oleanders were sawed off with a Chain saw this spring but as you can see they have grown back and are thriving again.   There are native California manzanita and rosemary that are staying.  But the Oleanders need to go!  So our task will be to dig out the main root system, use axes, and remove the main root ball.   After this will will add some compost and good soil to condition them for the new berries.

 

 

 


If possible please bring any of these items:

  • For the work part:   Pick, Shovel, Spade (Fork), Axe, Chain
  • For the herbal salve:  1 qt double boiler (or double-boiler inserts), Heavy Duty Mixer (Vitamix-like), Electric or propane burners, Folding tables, net tents or mosquito netting, your own container if you have a small clean glass jar or metal tin (1-4 oz.) -- we'll have plastic containers or 4 oz. mason jars.
  • Bag for collecting harvested food

  • Some food items from your yard to exchange with other members (if you have any)

  • Potluck item that either contains something that you have picked from your yard/urban farm -- OR -- something that you would like in the future to come from your yard/urban farm.

  • If you do not have any of the above then it is OK -- just bring yourself and some good positive energy

AGENDA

1) A bit of work

10.30 - 1.00 Removal of oleanders and replant in the side yard

Herbal Salve Lab will be happening at the same time in the back yard:

10:30am (0:30) Prep: haul everything in, set up and sanitize work area, prepare dishwashing stations, etc. Ideally, 2 straining stations and 2 heating stations to expedite processing. Set up mosquito netting or something similar to keep contaminants out of salve while processing. 

11:00am (0:15) Pulverize herbs and oil in blender. (2 batches)

11:15am (0:30) Strain herbs from oil, using muslin or cheesecloth in a strainer over a bowl. Allow some time for cleanup. Measure volume of strained oil. Weigh appropriate quantity of beeswax.

12:00 (0:30) Carefully heat oil in double boiler over low heat and melt beeswax into it. 30 min.

12:30 (0:15) Test the consistency of a spoonful of the mix with icewater. Add beeswax or oil if necessary.

12:45 (0:30) Ladle 2 oz. of salve into each container. Immediately wash all equipment that has come in contact with the beeswax mixture!

Wait for salve to cool before putting lids on containers, 60+ minutes. Protect containers with netting tents to keep bugs and debris out!

Containers can't be moved until the mixture has set, and lids can't be put on containers until it has fully cooled. If lids are put on while the salve is warm, condensation can form. Moisture can lead to mold, which will ruin the salve.

2:15-2:30 Put lids on containers after salve has cooled.

2) Potluck and Socializing*

1:00 pm LUNCH -  People can get a plate and eat some lunch now, or take a break from other activities anytime during the day.

3) Herbal Salve Discussion

2:00 pm After lunch and while the salve is cooling, Q & A on salve making details, herb selection and preparation, etc.

-----------------------

*During the potluck we will have time to discuss the following:

  • Q & A about gardening/farming. Anyone can ask anything about a gardening or farming topic for others in the group to give their insights.

  • News and updates from our members: each member can share his/her progress on urban farming projects.

  • Ongoing discussion on our Urban Farmers Coop group.

  • Crop sharing-- Everyone who has harvested something from your yard please bring it and exchange it. Take home what you DID NOT bring.

    The Urban Farmers Coop events are working/learning sessions where we all pitch into a project at the host's location.

Here is what we do:

  • We meet to help out a fellow host farmer.

  • We do some work, exchange ideas, and learn something at the same time.

  • We bring food from our gardens so we can share with each other the wonderful foods we are raising.

  • After the meeting, we all take home something that we did not bring.

See you then!

 

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SOIL TESTS:   These mostly show the soil is Acidic or slightly acidic.  The area has been pretty much left alone and the Oleanders were very healthy.

Join or login to comment.

  • Barbara Haerther Du M.

    Thank you Jon for hosting this meet-up. I got there quite late so didn't help with the oleanders. But I had a wonderful time visiting with members. Thank you Tanya for your talk about herbal salves and for the jars of it to take home. I really interested in finding out more about medicinal herbs.

    October 19, 2013

  • Kati

    Regrettably missed good part of the event but stayed on to socialize; was enlightened by people who stayed on, particularly by Jon's experience & knowledge. Thanks.

    October 19, 2013

  • Ritu aka R.

    I had a good time! I enjoyed meeting everybody and looking forward to next time!

    October 19, 2013

  • Jon B.

    It was awesome to see everyone again. Thanks to everyone who came and contributed your hard work on removing the Oleanders. Thanks also to Tanya for the Herbal Salve- This was needed after the hard work and also great info to know. This is such a great group to socialize with and I look forward to every other Saturday. I will post some photos soon. See you all again soon!

    October 19, 2013

  • Becky F.

    What a fun time! I enjoyed all the people and the hard work and the good food after!

    October 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Leaving now, be there by 12:30

    October 19, 2013

  • Maisy

    hey Jon, I don't think I'm going to be able to make it. I've got terrible congestion and it's having a hay day with my asthma. just don't want to get anyone else sick. asked my husband to be sure and he said it upsets him when others come to work sick. and honestly, me, too. so, best thing is to not attend.

    October 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I will arrive between 11:30 and 12.

    October 19, 2013

    • Jon B.

      See you then!

      October 19, 2013

  • Nicole W

    I won't be able to make it today, something has come up

    October 19, 2013

  • joyce w.

    I only have a shovel,will bring it with me

    October 19, 2013

  • Jean C.

    Hi all, I will bring my persimmons to this event for the exchange!

    October 17, 2013

  • Ashwani T.

    Just a suggestion - to rent an electrical/gas pick from Equipment Rentals to dig through the hard soil

    October 16, 2013

    • Jon B.

      Do you know of a place to rent these? Does Home depot have them?

      October 16, 2013

    • Ashwani T.

      Home Depot has it

      October 17, 2013

  • Becky F.

    I can bring my cordless reciprocating saw. It works good on roots.

    1 · October 16, 2013

  • Antonio

    with table stove

    1 · October 16, 2013

    • Jon B.

      Thanks Antonio! See you Saturday. Do you have an axe?

      October 16, 2013

    • Antonio

      Nope

      October 16, 2013

  • Barbara Haerther Du M.

    We could also ask folks to bring regular picks or hammer drills (electric) if you have extension cords. Loppers will also be useful for cutting through bigger roots.

    October 16, 2013

  • Jon B.

    Hey everyone, We will be setting up for the Herbal Salve around 10:30 so anyone that wants to come earlier is welcome. The Salve will take several hours so we will be working on that throughout the day. If anyone has any of these items please let me know:

    For oleander removal;
    Axes, Picks, Shovels, Forks, Chain.

    For Herbal Salve:
    1 quart Double boilers
    Heavy Duty Mixers (Vitamix-like)
    Electric or propane burners
    Mosquito nets

    see you soon!

    October 14, 2013

  • Jean C.

    I will likely be late and not be able to get there until about 12:30-1:00 pm because I will be going to the annual CA native plant sale at Hidden Villa that morning.

    October 7, 2013

    • Jon B.

      That should be OK- we may not start the demo portion until later. Maybe I could swing by your place and pick up your blender/ pots in the morning?

      October 7, 2013

    • Jean C.

      Yes, will be okay.

      October 14, 2013

  • sue

    Unfortunately I have to be out of town on the 19th. I'm really sorry to miss the salve making.

    October 8, 2013

  • Jean C.

    I can bring a Blendtec tanya asked me to bring for blending the salve oils. I don't have a double boiler but I have some pots I can bring.

    October 7, 2013

    • Jon B.

      That would be wonderful, Yes please bring it along with your pots. Thanks and see you then.

      October 7, 2013

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