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There is much the herb gardener can do this late in the season to be assured of abundance in the gardens in the coming year.

One important “to know” are the herbs that will self -sow (the dropping of seed in the fall that will sprout up and make beautiful new plants the coming spring/summer).

Basil, Borage, Clary Sage, Cockscomb , Coriander, Dill, Marigold, Pot Marigold, (calendula) Parsley, and Purslane, …are the most prolific of this group.

If you live in a climate with very harsh winters…then I would suggest lightly covering your herb beds, gardens, with straw or some other medium that can be easily removed when needed. This is a method I use on all the beds at Sage Hill; protects the soil, discourages critters from digging and keeps the worst of weather from making a harsh impact.

Some seed won’t show until the new spring…but some will take root and start growing the same year they are dropped.

Don’t be surprised if the plant and /or flower from the self-seeder isn’t the same as the mother plant, they most often take on different colors and sometimes shape…does not hinder the properties.

Plants that are allowed to grow where mother nature plants them will do best…self-seeders will land in some odd places…this is the charm of the idea.

So plant where you wish to, need to, or have to…but also let some self-seeders do their natural design and you will have a signature garden to be admired.

Loving the promise of Autumn~

Autumn Promise at Sage Hill Gardens

Growing vegetables in container gardens in the fall and winter is perfect for home, office or school projects. A variety of greens and root veggies can be successfully grown in containers regardless the weather conditions.
One very important fact to be aware of before you start…make sure you are using the right size containers….any plant needs room for good root expansion, good drainage from the bottom and good soil…success is bound be happen!

Greens and root herbs are the way to go with fall gardening. When you plant in mid to late August, September, or early October, germination can actually happen more quickly since the ground is still warm. However, you may need to wait a few extra weeks for maturation if you’re in a cold winter climate. Some of the best plants to grow in your fall containers are these hearty greens and herbs:

1. Arugula: These greens are so hearty, incredibly easy to grow, and since they’re also super expensive at the grocery store, growing them at home is both tasty and frugal. Arugula is great in fresh green salads or on sandwiches instead of lettuce.

2. Kale: A hearty and lovely green, kale thrives in fall and winter in all but the coldest climates. It’s somewhat cold tolerant, so it will survive early winter gales. But bring it inside if the frost is persistent for several weeks in a row. (In the SE region no worries)

3. Spinach: Another hearty green, spinach is a favorite for salads and savory baked meals alike. Spinach won’t survive the harsh winters of the Northeast, but will tough it out through the seasons in the rest of the U.S.

4. Turnips: Root vegetables are a great choice for the cooler container gardening months. Deep in the soil of your larger container pots, turnips will keep warm and thrive. And they’re also a great addition to those oven-roasted winter vegetable mixes.

5. Carrots: A family favorite, carrots survive larger containers by keeping warm deep in the soil. If it’s possible, you might even try burying your container in the soil to keep it even warmer. Carrots are great raw or roasted or even grated into sweet treats like carrot cake and muffins.

6. Herbs that compliment fall and winter food gardens and menu choices are; rosemary, sage, and thyme. Rosemary can be nipped if frost is severe and over a continued period of time…so keep check and shelter it if needed.

Replace all soil from the previous year in container growing…nutrients leach drastically from containers and dead soil will give you dead results.
Water on a scheduled system, water deep and allow drying almost completely before watering again.

Container Growing

A water (moisture) gauge for container plants is imperative for the best results with container growing.

Also a must is regular feeding…simply add fresh compost or Organic feed of your choice to the top layer of your containers at least every 4 to six weeks…Every two weeks is really my choice.

** Keep in mind…while container growing can be successful inside the home…for any plant to grow and produce well you must have a balance of good lighting for at least 6 to 8 hours every day…on the porch, in a solarium, cold frame or very lightly heated greenhouse works better than inside a residence.

Aloe Vera (Liliaceae) is a succulent plant with no stem, just thick fleshy leaves containing special sacs full of gel which oozes out when the the leaves are cut or broken. It flowers rarely and grows 2 to 3 ft tall.

Aloes should grow 3 years before you attempt to collect the gel.

They are not cold hardy except in some southern climates they can survive outside if caution is taken for protection.

Potted Aloe VeraI grow them in pots and move into a sheltered location before the first frost.

The gel of Aloe Vera is anti-inflammatory saponins and antimicrobial, vitamins C and E, soothing salycilic acid and minerals.

This plant is a must to have on hand for sun exposure, bug bites, burns, eczema,shingles, and other skin rashes that need speedy relief and healing.

It’s often mixed with cucumber juice and in this form can be drunk to help immune function, digestive function, and conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and Chron’s disease.

It is wonderful to break a leaf and apply the gel directly to the face and arms after being in the sun and/or water.

Aloe Vera doesn’t like too much water and thrives in a location where filtered sun is available…loves the shade in the afternoon. Also likes being left in one location…not too much moving around.

A good thing!

Our health is most often a direct result of what we eat, breathe and lavish upon ourselves.

Now please don’t go for the clicker, I’m not going to pound you with what you should be doing… belief is if you don’t like where you are, you will find a better place.

I’m here to guide and help you if you so desire.I hear folks say so often that making changes to a healthier way of eating is too expensive…….well, let me tell you, it is a lot less expensive than the doctor bills and the funeral cost.

Eat HealthyEating and living healthy is so simple and so much fun, once you commit. Granted you have to be willing to cut back (way back) on a few major items in your diet. Those being: refined sugar, bad fats, processed foods and colas. Aim for eating as much home-grown/locally grown foods as possible. Stay away from GM foods (genetically modified) and high fructose corn syrup.

Now just a little hint on how to start. Don’t buy or bake anything with refined sugar for 2 weeks. Instead eat fruit and drink plenty of water. By the end of the second week, your taste for sweets will have changed completely (if you don’t cheat). Once you get the refined sugar out of your system, it will react to it as an invader, you simply will not want it. In some cases it will take longer and some never are able to break the habit (and it is a habit) completely. But at least you can downgrade to a few well made goodies a week, versus sugar laden junk.

When excess salt is removed from our food and we get a taste of the real food underneath, ahh.. the pleasure of eating has only just begun.

Seasoning with herbs and herb blends can help you do that.
The same herbs can take the place of fatty seasonings as well.

I’m well aware that some foods just have to have some flavor from a good type seasoning other than herbs.. My favorites are; olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, and a good grape-seed oil for high heat cooking.

Please be aware that olive oil turns rancid when it reaches a certain high heat…so it isn’t good for frying. You know, frying isn’t all bad, it’s what you fry in and how you fry that makes the difference.
(When heating oil for frying…never allow it to smoke, if it does, toss it and start over.)
(Never allow the food to sit in excess oil and soak it up.)
(Never re-heat fried foods.)

So, do you agree that the simple changes could put you on the road to a better life with your health.

And if you really think about it, our health is all we have…once that’s gone, everything else really doesn’t matter. You can’t have a joyful, fun filled, satisfying life if you’re unhealthy.

Once you start and discover the good side……it will become a passion, and that is worth having!

Please feel free to ask questions or make donations of your own ideas. I’m a very receptive lady to others opinions.
I may not always like or use them, but I will take them and consider them carefully.


I believe I speak for many of us gardeners when I say….bring on the warm weather already …please!!! She pleads while watching from the office window, the huge, beautiful, snowflakes falling from the sky!

Sage Hill has a lot of new projects to share once spring arrives and construction can take hold.

Beds and plots are all in tip top condition and ready to plant.

We are also growing some things in the greenhouse this year that are new to our growing list, follow along and see our success…or not !

Lemongrass and ginger are two of the newbies. Going to be an interesting summer. 🙂

garden ready

Some reconstruction happening on the SH website, still much to be added and changed.

A new blog for your pleasure and need to know things, ‘good things.’ 🙂

I found this article to be very good reading, most of it we all know, but kinda updates all that knowledge and puts it into better focus.

Ok, while waiting for spring I’m headed out to wander in the snow 🙂

Enjoy, whatever is happening in your world today~

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Culinary Herbalist/teacher/speaker

Top Authors Give Proceeds to Middle School Gardening Project

(Jasper, AL) April 28th, 2013 – Top authors from across the world will come together on Facebook this Saturday to raise funds for a gardening project for students at Curry Middle School located in Jasper, AL. The project is Sponsored and coordinated by Bea Kunz of Sage Hill Farms.

“The project will be ongoing from year to year with different students and teachers participating,” states Kunz. She goes on to say, “I am thrilled to be a part of any project that enlightens or peaks an interest in better foods for better health.”

Kim Mutch Emerson, owner of Master Koda Select Publishing, LLC got wind of the project and gathered authors together from around the globe who were excited to offer the proceeds of their sales on Saturday, April 27th to this worthwhile project. For a preview of the books being offered you can visit this blog:

The benefit event will include games and contests for the attendees and takes place on Facebook this coming Saturday, April 27th from 10:00am to 3:00pm Eastern time. The public is welcome. Proceeds from the book sales will go to the Curry Middle School Organic Gardening Project. To join this worthwhile event, simply go to this link and click join:

For more information or to donate to this non-profit project contact Bea Kunz on her website at or Dr. Thomas Kyzer, Assistant Principal at Curry Middle School, Jasper, AL.


Simple greenery is one of my favorite Table-scapes for the summer.

Rosemary is also one of my favorite herbs for the summer usage…as you see-makes a lovey table piece, a small jar filled with the heady stems on the kitchen just speaks “home.”

How many households doesn’t look to the grill for easy and delicious summer foods. Vegetables on the grill is my best loved way of eating and serving them…squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes, and white corn…any and all take to the grilling like a June-bug on the rosemary.

Soak a few sprigs in clean water and toss onto the veggies or meat( rosemary, not the Junebug )…keep the rosemary soaked to impart the full flavor.

Good and good for us…


Bea Rigsby Kunz
32 Old Petersburg Pike
Petersburg, TN 37144

Fresh rosemary for sale…as well as basil, fennel, oregano, peppermint, stevia, sage, tarragon, and thyme .

herbs past and present

Many of you know me as a Culinary Herbalist, herb grower, gardener, and advocate for “Truth In Labeling, ” and promoter of all around better food habits for good health.

In the next few months I would like to introduce another subject dear to my heart and something I embrace and practice. (Herbs…for medicine.)

Let me qualify one thing clearly…I do not sell medicinal products, nor do I give medicinal advice.

My goal is to share information that will peak your interest and motivate you to look at all options for getting and maintaining good health. This can and should be a combination of practices. Herbal medicine, Western medicine, food choices, lifestyles, and spiritual health. Balance is what truly brings about the very best health.

From ancient times, herbs have played a vital role in the healing traditions of many cultures.
The alternative way of looking at health care, of which Herbs, past and present represent-can be just as valid today as they were 5,000 years ago.

Next post will look at Origins of Western Herbalism~ stay tuned .

Bea Rigsby-Kunz
Culinary Herbalist 

Disclaimer….Any and all herbal articles from and by Sage Hill is offered totally as educational information only. We do not intend this information to be viewed as medicinal advice for any given treatment.
Sage Hill does not sell Medicinal products nor do we give Medicinal advice.

The Concept of Sustainable Agriculture

Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals: Environmental health, economic profitability, and social and economic equity.

Sustainable promotes the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Sustainable means to be constantly aware of our actions toward the soil, water, air, energy, and the human connection to all of these concerns.

For far too many years we have been depleting our major resources and replacing nothing.

Giving back, putting back, better than what we take is the only way to ensure that next year or in ten years or 100 years, the earth will still be caring for us as it has for all of time.

Happy growing!

Bea Kunz

NOTICE: You may reprint this article by giving credit back to the author and by using it as written.

Finding Your Balance

The total surface area of land cultivated to grow genetically modified crops increased from 4.2 million acres in 1997 to 331 million acres in 2009. As of today, the United States is the largest producer of GM foods, accounting for 45 percent of the world production, followed by Brazil and Argentina, with 16 and 15 percent of the world share respectively.
**This data is at least 10 years old…with the most recent government move to allow, encourage  with   our presidents blessing…MORE GMO foods into our farming industry.

Keep in mind….NO long term research or Testing on any genetically modified foods prior to releasing into the mainstream food chain.

Advantages of Eating Locally and In Season~

Most foods on average travel 1,500 miles before it lands on our dinner table. Globalization of the food supply has dealt the environment, our communities, our health and our taste buds a very serious blow.

Air pollution and global warming, loss of family farms and local community dollars are just a few of the negative consequences of food globalization.

We, our children, and our grand children need to understand how our food system works.

When we know and understand the process only then can we act effectively for change.

It’s not always easy to find local and fresh foods, but it is worth whatever effort we have to put out to do so.

For those who can’t grow their own food, and there are many, search out any farms or farmers markets in your area. Be willing to eat whatever is in season in your area. This will make the search much easier and our bodies much healthier.

Many places are starting to offer fresh food co-ops, and while these may not be today’s harvest they are still fresher and safer than the local supermarket.

All across the USA, thousands upon thousands are seeking better food options.

Many of the large brands are now offering organic. Be aware that everything that reads organic…isn’t. There are many, many loop-holes that allow big companies to cheat, and cheat they do.

Companies and brands that are really organic will make it clear and easy to understand their product and packaging. There are many foods on the market now that are organic, we just have to be selective and not as trusting as we would like to be. We also have the option of internet shopping; this gives us access to many natural and organic foods that we might not find locally.

Read labels, understand the ingredients and what they mean.

Sugar is a good example of how misleading words can be. Any word on food packaging that ends in “ose” is a sugar. And the word “sugar” may not be on the ingredient listing at all.

Happy cooking!

Bea Kunz

NOTICE: You may reprint this article by giving credit back to the author and by using it as written.