Disclaimer- We are not herbalists, and the uses of plants listed here are purely anecdotal. Please use medicinal plants carefully and with the help or advice of a professional.
Medicinal Aloes- There are more than 400 species of Aloe, mostly native to the African continent. Most of these, however have little or no medicinal value, although they are beautiful and often rare landscape plants. We offer four species that are considered to be choice medicinal Aloes.
Aloe Vera - Available year-round. Succulent perennial native to Africa. Prefers a partly shaded environment and makes a great houseplant. Protect from frost.
Aloe ellenbeckii - A beautiful, low-growing species of aloe with lightly speckled, pale green leaves and orange-red flowers nearly year round. Very nice non-bitter, clear gel for eating or using topically. Part shade, minimal water, protect from frost. Rare.
Aloe arborescens- Candelabra aloe. Highly medicinal aloe species native to southern Africa. The leaves are pale green, edged with soft spines and have a strong bitter flavor. Grows 6-8' tall with red flowers in winter. Protect from frost.
Aloe ferox - This species can only be grown from seed and will develop into a small tree-like form with sturdy trunk and spiny leaves which, when cut, ooze a yellow sap from the skin around the clear inner gel.
Ashitaba - Angelica keiskei-koidzumi. Biennial or short lived perennial native to southern Japan. Stalks and leaves of this plant are one of the few plant based sources of vitamin B12. Prefers regular garden conditions with plenty of compost and regular water.
Ashwagandha – Withania somnifera. Available March-Oct. Dried root is used as a tonic in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine. The roots can be dug after the second year. Perennial, hardy to about 25deg. F. Full sun, dryish soils. The leaves can be used as a poultice, but they are not edible.
Basil, Holy – Ocimum sanctum. Available March-Oct. Also known as Tulsi Basil, this plant is considered sacred in India. It is planted near doorways to bring good fortune, and may be eaten fresh or made into tea (fresh or dried). The herb is considered to be stress relieving, adaptogenic, and uplifting. We grow three kinds of tulsi - Kapoor (Rama), Krishna, and Vana.
Catnip – Nepeta cataria. March-Oct. This is the variety preferred by most cats. Once established, it is a very hardy perennial. Downy leaves make a gentle tea for upset stomach for humans. Full sun to part shade.
Chamomile, German. Matricaria recutita. Nov-May. Harvest the chamomile flowers when the white petals are open and dry them on a screen or in a basket out of direct sun. Successive harvesting can yield many flowers from a single plant, and homegrown chamomile tea is simply the best. Self – sowing annual, flowers to 2ft. Look for seedlings around where the plant was when the soil temperatures start to cool down in fall or early winter. Distinctly different from the Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), a perennial groundcover.
Comfrey Symphytum officinale. March-Oct. We grow two varieties - the True Comfrey which can be planted from seed and is a little bit slower growing, and the common hybrid variety which can only be propagated from crown divisions. Both types like to grow in moist soils, full sun to partly shaded.
Feverfew - Tanaceturm parthenium. All year. Very cheerful white flowers with yellow centers bloom to about 2 feet. Feverfew is an easy to grow, short-lived perennial and will reseed itself about your garden. Leaves are medicinal.
Goji Berry – Lycium barbarum March-Oct. Source of the delicious and healthful Goji Berries. Full sun, dry, well drained soils. Expect it to get big and to bear fruit in 1-2 years. Very hardy perennial. Loses its leaves in the winter.
Goji Berry, Black - Lycium ruthenicum March-oct. A relative of the common Goji, this one produces berries that are almost black in color and are said to be very high in anthocyanins, and can change the color of water a beautiful blue color. Long lived perennial tolerates poor soil and dry, sunny locations. Winter deciduous.
Gotu Kola - Hydrocotyl asiatica. All year. Perennial low growing creeper will quickly fill a moist sunny planting area. Native to India, the leaves are used medicinally in Ayruvedic medecine. Protect from frost, or bring one in for the winter.
Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis. March-Oct. Source of a delicious and calming lemony tea. Perennial, full sun to part shade. Lemon Balm forms a clump which gradually gets bigger, but it does not run like mints. It can be divided in winter or early spring.
Sage, Chinese Red - Dan Shen. Salvia miltiorrhiza. Spring-summer. Perennial sage with purple flowers in summer. The dark red roots are used in Chinese Medecine. Harvest after the second year. Full sun, average soils. Very pretty in the landscape.
Skullcap, official. Scutellaria lateriflora. Winter-dormant perennial with small blue flowers in summer. Leaves are used medicinally as a nervine tonic. Will spread like a mint, but hates being in pots, so find a place where it can have free reign. It is not picky about soil or sun as long as it gets a little water, and, like mint, will not cross a dry area. Available by special order only.
Spilanthes - Acmella oleracea. Year round. Tropical perennial native to South America. Also known as "Toothache Plant." Eating the leaves or flower buds gives a very lively sensation in your mouth - tingly and numb! The plant has many healthful properties and interesting culinary possibilities. Very fun in the landscape as well, the yellow flower buds look like little eyes. Protect from frost. Full sun, regular water.
St. Johnswort – Hypericum perforatum. Winter. A low growing plant during the fall, winter and spring, St. Johnswort sends up 2-3 foot stalks with yellow flowers in mid-summer. Tinctures and infused oils can be made with the flowering tops. A very famous medicinal plant, and easy to grow. Prefers poor soils, full sun, regular water. Available by special order only.
Stevia – Stevia rebaudiana. May-Oct. The leaves of this plant are many times sweeter than sugar but have no glycemic index. Easy to use - chop or steep the leaves fresh for teas and smoothies or dry them and crumble them into your cooking. The plant prefers rich, well drained garden soil, plenty of water, and lots of sun. It goes dormant in the winter so cut it back nearly to the ground in the fall and dry the leaves.
Turmeric - Curcuma longa. Winter dormant perennial. Source of the bright yellow root (rhizome) which is commonly used as a spice in Indian cooking. Very famous and increasingly recognized as a powerful anti-inflammatory. The plant emerges from a winter dormancy in March or April, sending up shoots which unfurl into big green leaves, and later booming with white flowers. Around November or December the leaves turn a golden yellow and fall over. Do not worry! This is the natural cycle of the plant. At this point it is time to harvest the golden rhizomes. You can dig down around the base of the plant and break off pieces or pull the whole thing up and save some of the pieces for replanting in the spring. Dormant roots will sprout best in soil temperatures of 80 degrees. Turmeric does quite well in pots, or in loamy garden soil with part shade.
Valerian – Valeriana officinalis. May-Oct. A beautiful garden plant in it’s own right, Valerian has fragrant white flowers in summer that can reach 5ft tall. All parts of the plant are medicinally active as a cerebral sedative. Winter dormant. Prefers full sun to part shade and rich, moist soils.
Wormwood - Artemesia absinthium. Year round. European native medicinal, famous for its use in the beverage Absinthe and for its bitter qualities. Perennial, drought tolerant plant with silver foliage that develops into a 3-4' bush. Super easy to grow.
Yarrow - Achillea millefolium. Year round. Native to most places in the world, and used medicinally wherever it grows. Clumping perennial has white flowers in spring and summer. Excellent for attracting beneficial insects to your garden. Leaves and flowers are edible and medicinal. Full sun, average soils. The yarrow that we sell is from seed collected locally, our native type.
Symphytum officinalis. This is the true comfrey, grown from seed
Krishna, Vana, Kapoor (rama)
Local Native Plants
All of our native plants are grown from seed that we collect locally, and much of our seed production is now from plants that we have established here on our farm. In establishing a stand of native plants it is important to keep in mind that they may take on a summer dormancy during which time they look a little bit stressed. DON'T PANIC! Too much water at this point can seriously harm the root system. Trust these plants and their inherent toughness. Know that you are creating long-lasting habitat for native birds and pollinators.
Buckwheat, California Native – Eriogonum fasciculatum. Year round. Low growing perennial prefers full sun and well drained soils. In spring, the pinkish-white flower balls attract many native pollinators. By fall the seed heads have turned a rusty color. Buckwheat looks attractive all year even with no supplemental water. The small seeds are edible, but it is not the same as the grain found in the store.
Chia – Salvia columbariae. Winter- early spring. Our native chia is a winter-spring blooming annual with pretty blue flowers. The seed is nutritious and can be used in the same way as store-bought chia seed, though they are different species. Prefers full sun and will reseed with the fall and winter rains. To harvest seed, wait until the whole plant has dried up in early summer and shake the seeds out of the dried flower heads into a bowl or basket.
Columbine - Aquilegia eximia. year round. Super pretty red and yellow flowers from mid to late summer. Set this native plant in cool, moist shade.
Coffeeberry – Rhamnus californica. All year. Also known as California buckthorn, this is an evergreen perennial shrub 6-8’ tall with red to purple berries in mid summer. An excellent hedgerow plant and good habitat for birds. Not related to coffee!
Elderberry – Sambucus mexicana. All year. This is our native elderberry – a perennial, mostly evergreen shrub or small tree 8-10’ tall. All parts of the plant are useful, edible, or medicinal, including the berries which make great jelly or syrup. Excellent choice for a hedgerow, and a great habitat for birds.
Ephedra, Green – Ephedra viridis. All year. An extremely drought-hardy plant, our native Ephedra will grow in full, hot sun with minimal care and reach a height of 3-4’. It does not have true leaves, so the whole plant has an interesting green twiggy look to it. Sometimes referred to as “mormon tea”, the stems can be chewed or made into tea for a mild stimulating effect. Does not contain ephedrine.
Grandfather Sage, California Sagebrush - Artemisia californica. All year. Our native sagebrush is not a true sage, but has the powerful aroma of our local mountains. This plant is a survivor of full sun and harsh conditions, but will also thrive in cultivation if it does not get too much summer water. Local native medicinal.
Madrone – Arbutis menziesii. All year. The farthest south naturally occurring stand of madrone is in the Santa Ynez mountains. A beautiful long lived tree with golden-yellow skin similar to the Manzanita. Slow growing at first, it can grow 2-3’ per year once established. Red berries are edible for birds as well as humans.
Milkweed, narrowleaf - Asclepias fascicularis. April-August. One of our local native milkweeds, and a food source for the Monarch butterfly larvae. This is a very easy to grow plant and can be placed anywhere in the landscape, including the edges where it gets minimal water and the soil is not so good. It is also a favorite of the yellow aphids and red milkweed bugs, so don't be alarmed if you see these. The plant seems readily adapted to withstand all sorts of bugs, and develops a sturdy root system. It also takes on a winter dormancy to rest from all the excitement of summer. Please be careful about planting non-native milkweeds as they may not actually be beneficial for the Monarchs.
Monkeyflower – Diplacus aurantiaca. March-June. This is sometimes called the bush or sticky monkeyflower and has apricot colored flowers. A 2-3' perennial that blooms in the spring and then takes on a summer dormancy. It will look like it wants water, but can be killed by too much summer moisture. Good hummingbird nectar plant.
Monkeyflower, Red - Diplacus puniceus. March-June. A rather irresistible plant, the red monkey has a long bloom time with many red flowers and shiny green leaves. Very showy. This is from seed that we originally collected from plants growing along the Gaviota coast and now have established here at our farm. Tolerates full sun on the coast or part shade inland. Evergreen, 2-3'
Monkeyflower, Seepspring – Mimulus guttatus. Winter-spring. Yellow flowers with red speckles and marking in the throat. The seep monkey flower grows near creeks and streams and will thrive in a moist place in the garden with some sun. Great nectar plant as well as having medicinal uses.
Monkeyflower, Cardinal - Mimulus cardinalis. Red flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. Sun to part shade and moist soils.
Mugwort, California – Artemisia douglasiana. Winter. Silver-green perennial to 3’ tall with aromatic foliage. Classic preventitive remedy for poison oak (experiment at your own risk!). Our native mugwort has great medicinal value and is super easy to grow. It will naturalize along streambanks, partly shaded woodland areas, and disturbed areas. If it is grown in the part shade, it really doesn’t need any extra water. Cut back the old stalks in the winter for new growth in the spring.
Penstemon, Foothill. Penstemon heterophyllus. Beautiful violet-blue tubular flowers on a compact plant. Can grow in full sun to part shade with very little water. Very showy! Long lived perennial, can take on a dormancy in late summer, but revives with winter rains.
Penstemon, Heartleaf - Keckiella cordifolia. A low growing shrub with red, tubular flowers from late spring through early summer. Hummingbirds love this plant and it does well in part shade inland or full sun on the coast. Great for a north or east facing slope.
Penstemon, Scarlet Bugler – Penstemon centranthifolius. All year. Native perennial penstemon with red tubular flowers in late spring – summer. A favorite hummingbird plant with silver foliage. Full sun. Looks great alongside the White Sage.
Poppy, California – Escholzia californica. Our state wildflower, and a beautiful, short lived perennial. Poppies will take on a summer dormancy and put out their orange or yellow flowers from winter through late spring. Bumblebees love them, and the whole plant is medicinal. Full sun.
Rose, California Wild – Rosa californica. All year. A thorny beauty, our native rose has single, pink flowers in spring or summer and red rose hips in the fall and winter. Sun to part shade. The flowers are edible and the seed heads make a great tea. Currently out of stock.
Sage, Black – Salvia mellifera. Often passed by unnoticed, most people recognize black sage as the smell of our local mountains. Glossy green leaves and white flowers in whorls. Full sun and dry, well-drained soils. We like to use the leaves in a face wash or foot bath, and they can be nice in a tea. Great bee plant and the first to bloom of our native sages.
Sage, Hummingbird – Salvia spathacea. All year. One of my favorite plants, and perfect for shady areas, especially oak understory. Hummingbird Sage blooms in the early spring with thick fragrant corollas and magenta flowers. True to its name, the hummingbirds will be busy around it. The flowering stocks can reach 3 feet tall, and the plant will gradually colonize an area. Evergreen perennial, part shade and occasional summer water. The leaves make a nice tea and the flowers are edible.
Sage, Purple – Salvia leucophylla. A hardy shrub with silver fuzzy leaves and purple flowers 3-4'. This is a very drought tolerant sage, though it does look better with occasional summer water and will eventually become quite large. Full sun, good drainage. Can be formally pruned into a tidy hedge or shrub.
Sage, White – Salvia apiana. Year round availability. A truly beautiful plant, the leaves are silvery–white and can be collected and burned as an incense or made into a tea. A long lived perennial with tall flower spikes in summer (can be 6ft tall) much loved by bees and other native pollinators. Prefers full sun and well drained, dry soils. While it will naturalize after its first winter, it does appreciate occasional summer water. Not recommended for culinary use – see Sage under culinary herbs.
Toyon – Heteromeles arbutifolia. Year round. Evergreen perennial shrub will grow 6-8’ tall and has big clusters of red berries in winter. Very adaptable to different conditions, Toyon will grow in full sun or part shade, including the understory shade of oak trees or the north side of a building. Great hedgerow plant. White flowers in summer are not showy, but provide pollen and nectar for native pollinators.
Western Wallflower - Erysimum capitatum. Jan- March. Biennial or short lived perennial native wildflower. This is a good early season butterfly nectar plant, growing 2-3 feet tall with fragrant orange flowers. Very pretty color for a native garden in full sun to part shade.
Woodmint – Stachys bullata. Winter. Also referred to as hedge-nettle, this is a native woodland creeper with fragrant foliage and pale purple flowers that will be visited by bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Grows in the dry to moist shade and can be summer dormant. Makes a nice tea.
Yerba Buena – Satureja douglasii. Occasional. Perennial woodland or stream-side creeper, the Yerba Buena is our wonderful native mint and is a great tea herb. Part shade, moist soils.
Yerba Mansa – Anemopsis californica. Winter-summer. Briefly dormant in the late fall, the Yerba Mansa has white cone-like flowers in the spring and prefers to live in moist to soggy soils. Will tolerate heavy clay. Highly medicinal! Spreads by above ground runners, and is a great candidate for greywater systems, pond edges and low-lying areas with seasonal flooding.
Escholzia californica, Penstemon centranthifolius
Basil – Ocimum basilicum. Available March-Oct. This is a fine Italian cultivar perfect for making all the things you love sweet basil for. Medium sized leaves. With some plants we mix the seed of a purple basil in for accent. The purple variety has similar flavor to the green. Basil likes to grow where your cat (if you have one) would spend the day. Not too hot, but not too cool. A little afternoon shade is nice, though it will take full sun. Put out a new basil plant when your first tomatoes begin to ripen since older plants tend to become bitter.
Basil, Penang Lemon- March-Oct. A very bright lemon flavor, this is a favorite thai basil perfect for seasoning fish, salads, and soups. A quick-to-bloom variety, we like to use the buds and blossoms as well. Usually added fresh just before serving.
Basil, Thai – March-Oct. Sweet basil flavor with the added mystery that defines thai cooking. Medium sized leaves with dark purple stems and purple flowers.
Basil, Holy - See medicinal plants section.
Anise Hyssop – Agastache foeniculum. Summer. Also called Licorice Mint, this plant is neither Anise, Hyssop, Licorice, nor mint. But no one wants to try to say “Agastache.” Nonetheless its sweet licorice flavored leaves make a wonderful addition to salads, teas, spring rolls… Edible flowers! Perennial growing to 3ft. Full sun. Cut it back after the flowers fade for a second growth.
Chervil –Anthriscus cerefolium. Spring and Fall. Delicate lacy foliage with an equally delicate flavor, reminiscent of anise. Used in soups and salads or as a garnish. Winter-growing annual.
Chives – Allium schoenoprasum. March-Oct. Easy to grow and use, chives lend a mild onion flavor to any dish. Goes dormant in the winter, but always comes back. Edible flowers.
Cilantro –Coriandrum sativum. Year-round. How we do love cilantro. Don’t forget to eat the flowers and seeds (coriander).
Cuban Oregano - Plectranthus amboinicus. A succulent plant native to Africa, the Cuban Oregano has found a welcome home in most of the places that it has visited. It is neither from Cuba, nor is it an oregano, but nonetheless has many culinary and medicinal uses. Try making a cold infusion of the leaves on a hot day, or use it with black beans, salsa... get creative! Perennial, protect from frost. Makes a good houseplant in a sunny window.
Dill – Anethum graveolens. Spring and fall. Delicate and frilly, be sure to give this taprooted plant a good deep watering when you plant it, and be careful not to disturb the roots. Full sun. Annual or overwintering annual.
Epazote - Chenopodium ambrosioides. Summer. A traditional mexican herb for seasoning beans. Has the property of aiding the digestion and helping to reduce flatulence. Epazote is kind of a weed, so plant it at the edge of the garden and let it reseed itself merrily.
Galangal - Alpina galangal. All year.Perennial member of the Ginger family, and classic Thai culinary herb. The roots and stalks can be used in soups and stir-fries, lending a unique flavor.Once the stand is established, you can harvest parts of the plant by cutting it away with a sharp knife. Perennial to 3' tall. Protect from frost.
Lavender, English. Lavandula angustifolia. March-Oct. Suitable as a culinary lavender or for dried flowers. Full sun.
Lavender, Provence. Lavandula x intermedia. All year. A very well behaved lavender and typical of the varieties that are grown in France for making essential oils. Provence is also a very nice culinary choice if the flower buds are harvested just before blooming.
Lemon Grass – Cymbopogon citrata. Year-round. Tall grass used in thai cooking to give lemony flavor to soups and sauces. The plump stalk is usually the part used in cooking, but the leaves make a very nice tea. Perennial bunch grass will grow to 3' tall. Full sun, moderate water. Will tolerate a light freeze, but should be protected from extreme cold.
Lemon Verbena - Aloysia citriodora. Spring-Summer. One of the most intensely lemon-scented plants, the leaves are great for teas and other infusions. Native to South America, Lemon Verbena is a perennial shrub growing to 6' tall and hardy to about 15 degrees. It is winter deciduous.
Lovage – Levisticum officinale. Summer. Native to Europe, Lovage is a largely undiscovered plant here in the US. It’s main use is as a seasoning for soups and broths, lending a mysterious, rich flavor to whatever you make. Perennial, full sun to part shade. Winter-dormant.
Marjoram – Origanum majorana. March-Oct. Another oft overlooked seasoning, somewhat milder and sweeter than its cousin Oregano. Remember to harvest the plant, flowers and all, to hang to dry in your kitchen for winter soups. Perennial, full sun.
Mint, Peppermint – Mentha piperita. March-oct. Wonderful spicy mint for teas and confections. Best to grow this in a pot as it does tend to run about. Mint prefers a wide shallow pot over a narrow deep one. Every couple of years renew your mint by turning the whole plant out of the pot, cutting it into 4 pieces with a big knife and replanting each of the pieces. Give one to a friend or neighbor.
Mint, Spearmint – Mentha spicata. March-Oct. When you see a recipe that calls for “mint,” this is the plant that is referred to. Perfect for all things minty – teas, mixed drinks, salads, and so forth. As with peppermint, best to grow this one in a large pot. Cut it all the way down to soil level from time to time and it will renew. Full sun to part shade.
Mint, Chinese – Mentha haplocalyx. “bo-he” The official mint used in Chinese medicine. Distinct from spearmint, the Chinese mint has a mellow flavor and makes an excellent tea.
Mint, Mayan - Lippia dulcis. All year. Tropical Central American plant has a sweet and minty flavor. Makes a great tea! It will root at the stem nodes as it grows, so it can form a thick stand. Protect from frost - bring one in for the winter.
Oregano, Dittany of Crete. Origanum dictamnus. Endemic to the Island of Crete, this is a very showy oregano with round, silvery leaves and little pink flowers with showy bracts. Does well in rock gardens with full sun and dry soils. Or you can show it off in a nice pot where it will hang over the edges. Culinary, medicinal and ornamental.
Oregano, Greek. Origanum heracleoticum. March-Oct. One of the herb garden essentials, oregano is spicy and aromatic. Great for pastas and marinades, it also has disinfectant and antifungal properties. Perennial, full sun
Oregano, Zaatar. Origanum syriacum. A fine culinary oregano from the middle east, this is one of the traditional ingredients in the spice blend, Zaatar. Upright habit, silver leaves, and spicy flavor. Perennial, full sun.
Parsley – Petroselinum crispum. Year round. A traditional garnish for nearly everything. Parsley is an easy to grow biennial. This means that it will go to seed in its second year. When it does, you can pull it out and replant or let the seeds ripen and fall to the ground. Little birds will thank you, and you will have a beautiful parsley patch. Full sun.
Saffron - Crocus sativus. Native to the middle east. Saffron is a summer-dormant corm (like a bulb) that is fall blooming. The stigma of the flower is used as a spice and food or fabric dye. Being native to a mediterranean climate, it should be easy to grow in our area if you can remember where you put it. Grows best in areas with warm dry summers and cool wet winters. Once it goes dormant in the summer, do not water the plant until fall.
Sage, culinary – Salvia officinalis March-Oct. This is the official species of sage for cooking with. Add to soups, pasta, marinades, and meat for a distinctive flavor. Also you can make herbal butters with the flowers in spring. Full sun, Perennial (though it does tend to be short-lived – expect 2-3 years for a sage plant).
Savory, winter – Satureja montana. March-Oct. Another often forgotten herb, Savory defines itself. Add sprigs of Savory to soups and broths for a wonderful rich flavor. Used fresh it is quite spicy and makes an excellent marinade. One of the Herbs de Provence. Perenial, full sun. Note, Summer Savory is a similar flavor, but is an annual and it is best to sow the seeds directly in early spring-mid summer.
Shiso – Perilla frutescens. March-Oct. Culinary herb from Japan. The Green Shiso is often used as a garnish, especially with seafood, or made into a condiment with daikon radish and rice vinegar. Purple Shiso is a traditional food dye for giving a pink color to pickled ginger or Umeboshi plums. Both have a remarkable, unique flavor. Grow them in the same environment as you would Basil. Annual.
Sorrel - Rumex acetosa. All year. The key ingredient in French Sorrel soup and a general salad and pot herb, sorrel leaves have a bright tangy flavor. The plant is super easy to grow and will form a large clump over time. Perennial, sun to shade, any soil - even heavy clay. Best harvested in spring.
Tarragon, French – Artemesia dracunculus. March-August. Of the many varieties of Tarragon, this is the most flavorful. A simple test is to eat a fresh leaf. If the tip of your tongue gets a little bit tingly, then you know it is the French tarragon. Perennial, though it goes completely dormant in the winter so try to remember where you put it. Needs good drainage and full sun to part shade. Does well in pots. French tarragon doesn’t make seed, so it must be propagated from divisions. The best time to do this is in early spring just as it is breaking dormancy. Dig the plant up with a sturdy garden fork and bravely break (don’t cut) the plant into two or more pieces. Replant one and give one to a friend.
Thyme, Summer. Thymus vulgaris. All Year. This is a fine leaf variety similar to a French thyme. Aromatic and spicy, thyme also makes a medicinal tea for the common cold. When harvesting, never cut deeply into the plant, just trim gently. Use fresh or tie in little bundles and hang to dry in your kitchen for later. Remember to eat the flowers. Perennial, full sun.
Thyme, Lemon- All year. A wonderful variation on our traditional thyme, and great for cooking with seafood or using in salad dressing to impart a little bit of lemony flavor. Also makes a good tea. Perennial.
Big Beef – 70 days, hybrid. Beautiful red beefsteak tomatoes, perfect for slicing. Great flavor and prolific yield through a long season make this one of our farm standards. This is your classic tomato, highly recommended.
Momotaro – 70 days, hybrid. This very low acid, medium sized Japanese tomato has a cult following. On the pink side of red and slightly peach-shaped, these tomatoes are perfect for salads, roasting, or slicing. Best thing to do with them is to sit in your garden and enjoy their sweet, complex flavor.
Carbon – 80 days, heirloom. We are replacing Cherokee Purple this year with Carbon because it is better! Dark purple tomatoes with green shoulders have a sweet, earthy flavor and silky texture. Very highly recommended!
Virginia Sweets– 80 days, heirloom. Giant yellow tomatoes with red streaking on the skin and red and orange marbling in the center. Simply gorgeous with a mild, almost tropical flavor. Very low acid.
Brandywine, Sudduth’s strain – 85 days. This is the tomato that made heirlooms famous. Large pink beefsteak type. The flavor is divine – sweet and rich – and the texture is smooth. A late season variety that prefers sun and warmth. Not recommended for coastal growers.
Paul Robeson – 78 days. Russian heirloom named after the famous singer and African American activist. A very dark purple tomato, similar to the Black Krim with slightly green shoulders and a very smooth texture. Ripens somewhat later than the Cherokee Purple but continues to produce late into the season. Exceptional flavor.
Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye – 70 days, OP. This new open pollinated variety is a red and green striped beefsteak tomato with rich flavor. This variety was developed in the Bay Area to produce well in cool weather, but we have found that it also stands up to the heat here in the Santa Ynez Valley.
San Marzano Lungo 2 - 80 days, Heirloom. The classic Italian sauce and canning tomato, similar to a roma but slightly longer. Great for salsa and drying as well. Very prolific, indeterminate (produces over a long season).
Matina – 58 days, heirloom. A cold tolerant, early variety originally from Germany, Matina will produce the first and last tomatoes in your garden and does well in coastal areas. Small red fruit with classic tomato flavor. Highly recommended.
Early Girl – 52 days, hybrid. Known to be reliable and productive in coastal areas, this is an old-time standby. Earliness, productivity, and disease resistance are the main attributes for this variety - nice medium sized red tomatoes with good flavor.
Dr. Wyches Yellow – 87 days, heirloom. A beautiful yellow beefsteak tomato with excellent flavor. Very reliable yields late into the season.
Green Zebra – 70 days, OP. This is a small tomato that has a bright tangy flavor and is light yellow with darker green stripes when ripe. Great for salads and salsa.
Sungold – 57 days, hybrid. The classic golden-orange cherry that will overwhelm you with its tresses of very sweet little candies. Early, productive, hardy in any climate.
Sweet 100 – 65 days, hybrid. A classic red cherry tomato that does well wherever you plant it!
Black Cherry – 65 days, OP. Slightly larger than an average cherry tomato and ripening to a sort of purple color. Rich sweet flavor with just a tiny bit of acid makes it an irresistible snack and a must have in your garden.
Blush – 65 days, OP. An elongated, pointy-ended cherry tomato, sort of like an olive only bigger. The fruits are yellow with orange-red streaks when ripe and have an amazing sweet, bright flavor. It’s like eating little exploding torpedos. A relatively new variety that is earning a cult following.
Indigo Rose – 75 days, OP. A mid-size cherry tomato that is colored almost black where the sun touches it and has a orange blush on the underside when ripe. Very good flavor and super high in all the healthy things that come with dark purple pigmentations – lycopene and atthrocyanins.
Sweet Pea Currant – 75 days, OP. Teeny-Tiny tomatoes the size of peas all strung together in tresses on the vine. Very prolific and fun to eat!
Artichoke – Cynara scolymus. Available September-May. We grow two varieties - Imperial Star, a large, prolific green globe type, and “Purple of Romagna,” an Italian heirloom variety with medium-sized purple chokes that are very flavorful. Set your artichokes out any time in fall for spring harvests. Space plants 2-3 ft apart. Artichokes produce well for at least 3 years. It is not unusual for artichoke plants to die back in the summer.
Arugula – year-round. Arugula is a fast growing plant, so be sure to harvest it regularly starting when it is about 4” tall. Eventually it gets away from you and goes to seed. If you allow this, it will resprout enthusiastically in your garden. Don’t forget to eat the flowers!
Beans – Phaseolus sp. Available March-July. All our beans are inoculated with mycorrhizae, a beneficial soil microbe that helps the beans absorb nitrogen.
Blue Lake Pole – A classic heirloom greenbean. Tall climbers can reach up to 8ft. Provide a trellis or tipi.
Bush type – very tender beans grow prolifically on a compact plant. Delicious and perfect for large containers or smallish gardens.
Broccoli – Fall- Spring. For winter harvest, set plants out in August or September - a February planting will be ready to harvest by April or May. The regular type broccoli produces one main head followed by smaller side shoots and the Calabrese type will make many small heads over a fairly long harvest season. Space plants 8-10” apart.
Cabbage – Fall- Spring.
Caper - Capparis spinosa. Long lived perennial native to the Mediterranean. The unopened flower buds are the source of the traditional capers that you can buy in little jars in the store. Beautiful flowers are followed by plump fruits, often called caper berries, and also found pickled. The entire plant is edible. The Caper bush is a low-growing plant with a diameter of 3-5' and requires full sun, excellent drainage, and little or no summer water. It is hardy to about 20 degrees F, but will lose its leaves in a hard freeze.
Cauliflower – Fall. Same culture as broccoli. Cauliflower produces one large head – it is a beautiful thing!
Chard, Rainbow – Beta vulgaris. Available fall through spring. Many bright colored chard. Plant the whole pot as a group and thin for baby greens or divide into groups. Save your favorite colors. Be very gentle with the roots if you divide them as they are somewhat delicate.
Cucumber – Cucumis sativus. March-July. Persian cucumbers are small with a smooth skin and tiny seeds. They have a very sweet flavor. Japanese cucumbers are a darker green with more bumpy skin. More cucumber flavor, very small seeded. Lemon Cucumbers are the kind that your grandma probably grew. Round pale yellow fruits are best harvested early as they do tend to become bitter. Lemony flavor. All cucumbers can be trellised.
Eggplant – Solanum melongena. March-July. Japanese eggplants are long and slender with glossy black skin. Perfect for roasting whole. The Italian variety that we grow yieldsa medium sized pear shaped fruit. Good for slicing and roasting. The Rosa Bianca is an Italian heirloom variety that is a beautiful white with lavender blush. Round and bigger than a softball with creamy texture.
Kale – Fall- Spring. This is a plant that keeps on giving. Harvest the lower leaves as the main crown grows and you will be eating kale all winter from an August or September planting. We offer several varieties – the Toscano or Dinosaur kale; Winterbor , a curly green leaf; Red Russian, a flat leaf with red and purple coloration; Red Chidori, an intensely pink and purple variety with small leaves.
Kale, Perennial - year round. Also called walking stick kale or perennial Collard greens, this is a giant in your garden, reaching a heigh of 6-8' tall and providing you with a year-round supply of greens. Frost- hardy, long lived, protect from gophers.
Lettuce – All year. For full sized heads, space your lettuce plants at 10” and give them full sun. They are deeply tap-rooted plants and so need deep watering once a week or so. Contrary to popular opinion, lettuce can be grown year round, it is just a matter of selecting the right varieties for the season. We do this for you!
Melon, Charentais. Cucumis melo. March – July. A hybrid version of the heirloom French melon. We grow the hybrid because it is more dependable and consistent. Small canteloupe type melon with a green outer rind and orange flesh. Very perfumey and sweet. Give 2-3 feet space. Can be trellised.
Napa Cabbage – Fall-spring. A classic Chinese cabbage for stir fry or making your own Kim Chi. Space plants 10” apart.
Onion, Bunching. Allium fistulosum. Year-round. Plant the whole group together for cutting (and re-cutting) or separate into groups for larger onions that can be grilled. Onion plants don’t mind having their roots disturbed, and can be transplanted a little deeper in the soil for a longer white shaft.
Onion, Bulb – For larger type onions, there are two planting windows – either grow them in winter for a spring-summer harvest or plant in spring-summer for a fall harvest. Onions require a little bit of patience, but growing your own is the best and it makes you appreciate your farmers.
Pak Choi – Fall- Spring. We just love the juicy bright flavor of this vegetable. Plant out at 10” apart and harvest individual leaves all winter or wait for the plant to fully develop and pick the whole thing all at once. Once it bolts (goes to flower) you can still snack on the side shoots and flowers.
Peas – Pisum sativum. October-Feb All our peas are inoculated with mycorrhizae to help the roots absorb nitrogen from the soil. Sugar Snap pea is the classic edible pod pea, sweet and juicy. It is a medium climber, so give it a trellis or strings to about 4 ft hight. English Shelling pea- we grow a variety called Alderman. It is indeterminate which means that it produces over a long period of time and can be a very vigorous climber – 5-7 ft. Snow peas- Oregon Giant yields many flat edible pod peas, great fresh in the garden and perfect for stir-fry. Medium height climber. Peas prefer to climb on natural fiber strings, not plastic or wire.
Pumpkin and Winter Squash – Cucurbita sp. Late June-early July. Pumpkins are really fun to grow, and while it is best sow the seeds directly in the soil, we do offer starts for some different varieties including Kabocha, Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti squash, New England Pie, and some ornamental pumpkins. You have a narrow time window for planting and should get all your pumpkins and winter squash in during the last two weeks of June or the first week of July.
Pumpkin, Styrian – This is the naked seeded pumpkin from Austria. Each plant yields one or two small fruits which are full ofhull-less seeds. They are super nutritious and tasty and you can eat them fresh or dried, roasted and salted. The flesh of the pumpkins are also edible.
Spinach – Fall-Spring. We grow an heirloom variety called Bloomsdale Longstanding. It has a savoy (crinkly) leaf and nutty sweet flavor.
Strawberries – Fragaria sp. Year-round. Strawberries are easy to grow and do well in pots. Try to plant them somewhere that you walk past frequently so that you remember to eat them.
Alpine Strawberry - These are the little tiny berries that are closer to the wild forest type. Our variety, Alexandria, makes a medium-sized bush up to 12” tall and produces almost year round.
Meize Schindler – This is an extremely hard to find variety bred in Germany. It produces small berries that are painfully flavorful and extremely fragrant. Really, you have never had anything like this. It does need to be grown near another variety for pollination.
Sarian is a variety that we grow from seed. It bears small to medium sized fruits with amazing bright sweet flavor and produces for a remarkably long season. Very prolific and disease resistant.
Tomatillo – March-June. Classic salsa ingredient - tomatillos are sweet and tangy. Same culture as tomatoes, but they don’t need a trellis. Be forewarned – they re-seed very vigorously so you really only need to plant them in your garden once, then they will come back forever.
Watermelon – Citrullus lanata. April-June. It really is best to wait until the soil warms up to plant your watermelon as they don’t like having cold feet. You may be surprised to know that watermelon are very drought resistant and make the best fruits when they don’t get too much water. Give them a good soaking when you plant them and then wait until you see the leaves get a little bit wilty on a hot day before you water them again.
Zucchini and Summer Squash – Truly one of the most prolific plants that you can grow. We offer a regular dark green variety as well as the Romanesco, a wonderful Italian Heirloom with pale green skin mottled with darker green. The Romanesco is a more vining plant, slightly less prolific than the regular type, but much nuttier flavor. We also grow Pattypan and Yellow Crookneck varieties.
aka, Lancinato, Toscano
Sweet Pepers- capsicum anuum
Bell – Sweet bell peppers generally start out green and gradually ripen to their final color – Red, Yellow, or Orange. They can be eaten in either stage. We grow hybrid varieties of each color and have chosen ones that have good disease resistance and leaf cover to protect the fruits from sunburn, and make blocky, sweet peppers.
Corni di Toro – Heirloom bulls-horn type peppers are long and thin, ripening to red or yellow. A traditional sweet Italian frying pepper. The plants are tall and sometimes need staking for support.
Round of Hungary – This is an heirloom variety from Hungary that produces lots of small, thick walled peppers which are very juicy and sweet. The plant is compact and self-supporting. Peppers ripen from green to red.
Aji Amarillo - (Capsicum baccatum) This is a perennial pepper native to Peru. The plant is really beautiful – a 3’ tall perennial bush that bears 3” long peppers in abundance over a long season. The flavor is excellent with sweetness and moderate/high heat. Also dries well for winter use. Ripens green to bright yellow.
Aleppo – Compact plants produce loads of small peppers which ripen green to red. They have a beautiful sweet/hot flavor and are commonly used dried to spice middle eastern and mediterranean cooking. From the town of Aleppo in Syria, this spice has become increasingly rare as war ravages the area. Prayers for peace.
Ancho/Poblano – This is a classic triangular-shaped pepper for grilling or stuffing. Makes great chile rellenos. It grows on a tall plant and sometimes needs a stake to support the many peppers. Often confused with pasilla.
Bishop’s Hat – (C. baccatum) These tall perennial plants are really delightful and produce lots of three-lobed peppers (green to red) that look sort of like a bishop’s hat. The edges of the lobes are sweet and fruity, but the interior is quite hot. Sometimes called a balloon pepper.
Cayenne – Long thin peppers ripen to red and have a medium heat. This is a great variety for drying and making chile powder with or for using in winter soups.
Chile Arbol Negro– Thinner and spicier than a Cayenne, the Chile de Arbol is a classic Mexican pepper. This variety is particularly special as the peppers ripen from green to black to red. The plant can reach 4’ tall and will live for several years in a frost free garden or greenhouse.
Habanero – This is a classic, fiery orange pepper on a compact plant. Very prolific, and can be a short-lived perennial if protected from frost.
Hatch - A classic New Mexican chile similar to an Anaheim. Long and thin, these peppers are generally used while green and are great for stuffing, roasting, or Chile Relleños
Jalapeño – A summer salsa garden would never be complete without Jalapeños. The perfect spiciness for fresh salsas and the classic flavor of a long summer day. Plants are very prolific and do not usually require support. Chipotle is the dried, smoked Jalapeño.
We also grow a variety called Jalafuego which is spicier than the average Jalapeño and a little bigger. Very beautiful.
Manzano – (Capsicum pubescens). This is a beautiful perennial pepper plant reaching up to 6 ft tall with purple flowers and slightly fuzzy leaves. The fruits can be red, yellow or orange depending on the variety and they have about the same heat as a Serrano, are thick fleshed, and have black seeds. Great for making salsa or spicing up winter soups. Protect from frost.
Padron – An heirloom pepper from Spain, and traditional Tapas, Padron peppers are harvested when they are very small and green, then quickly fried in oil with a little salt to make a tasty snack. About 9 out of 10 peppers have no heat, but you do get some spicy ones in there which makes it exciting. Very similar to the Japanese Shishito pepper.
Pasilla – A long thin, shiny green pepper with very mild heat – great for grilling, frying, or adding to salsas. The Pasilla will gain some heat and ripen to a dark red if left on the vine. Often confused with Ancho.
Serrano – Small, thick walled peppers are a bit hotter than a Jalapeño. Traditionally used green for salsas, they will ripen to red and gain a little heat and sweetness.
Shishito – A traditional Japanese variety similar to the Padron, but with no heat. These peppers are best picked while they are still small and green, quickly fried in oil with a little salt and eaten immediately.
Thai – Very small, super spicy peppers grow sticking straight up out of the plant. Used both green and red-ripe, they have a very distinctive flavor that is typical of Thai cooking. They are very prolific, so at the end of the summer when the majority of peppers have turned red, pull the whole plant out of the ground and hang it in your kitchen where the peppers will dry and you can make Thai coconut-milk curry soup in the winter.
Super Hot Peppers (Capsicum chinense)
Here is a sample of some of the hottest peppers in the world. All of these plants are perennial bushes that can get 2-3’ tall and will live and produce peppers for several years if grown in a frost free area. In general, these plants need very good fertility so if you are growing them in pots be sure to fertilize them regularly (once every week or two) for ongoing production. Also, be very careful handling the fruits and seeds.
Douglah Chocolate – Super hot pepper from Trinidad ripens to a chocolate color (does not taste like chocolate!) and has excellent flavor. Related to the 7-Pot, so named as a single pepper has enough heat and flavor for seven pots of stew.
Ghost/Bhut Jolokia - A perennial, super hot red pepper from India. While it is certainly a challenge to eat one of these peppers out of hand, we recommend using them with food – the flavor is truly amazing and hot sauces made with ghost peppers have people coming back for more even as they have tears in their eyes.
Fatalii – Small, elongated peppers ripen to a bright yellow color and have a wonderful citrus flavor. A bit hotter than the Habanero on good sized, productive plants. This pepper has a very dedicated following among salsa-makers.
Trinidad Scorpion – the scorpion was the world’s hottest pepper until recently when the Carolina Reaper usurped the title. It still will give you a respectable scorching and is fearsome to behold.
Carolina Reaper – Currently the Guinness Book of World Records champion of Hotness! Similar in appearance to the Scorpion pepper and really, truly, what can we say?