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Is there anything more refreshing than early morning CCF tea sipping in oversized linen shirts with the first glimpse of warm sun rays on your face? July brings mornings when I love waking up before 6am to soak in these precious hours. We open up all the windows wide and start the fans blowing to cut the humidity that built up over night and absorb the early morning bird chirps that flood the neighborhood. During this month too...the oppressive southern humidity starts to settle in, the heat melts onto my skin and the garden is heavy with fresh, heavy, nutrient abundant veggies. Everything just feels thick and laden right now, and anything to take the edge off is most welcome. This time of year, my appetite really shifts into a scant reflection of what is once was six months ago, and I find myself craving more raw fresh fruits and veggies (which is not really great for my vata digestive tract on the regular...) and over the years I've found that the perfect solution to this predictable seasonal shift in digestion is incorporating CCF tea into my daily rotation. 

CCF Tea (Cumin, Coriander, Fennel), is a traditional Ayurvedic tea to support digestion and works as a tonic herbal support for any type of digestive seasonal shift. I find that when my diet shifts towards more raw foods (which are generally harder for the body to digest), my vata constitution has a harder time processing these foods. The combination of cumin, coriander and fennel naturally helps to ignite agni (digestive fire) to break down foods more efficiently and has the added benefit of enhancing absorption of nutrients as well. Coriander has the subtle ability to expel heat, cooling over heated (or excess) areas of the body. Cumin is a more warming and stimulating spice that aids in the absorption of nutrients and promotes detoxification, while fennel is a cooling, gentle carminative in the gut, helping to soothe and calm the lower digestive tract.  This seedy combination of herbs is relatively energetically neutral (not too cool, not too warm) and is truly ideal for almost all Ayurvedic constitutions to consume during any season. During the summer months, I often make a fresh batch in the morning and let it cool for about an hour before I pack it up in a mason jar and take it along with me for the day. 

This month, I've also been craving more minerals (and I've been so thirsty!!), so I've added in a bit of nettles to my CCF tea batch to quench my mineral lusting thirst and it works like a charm. Nettle is jam packed with nutrients and minerals including magnesium, potassium and tannins along with high amounts of zinc, calcium and chromium. It's a beautiful anti-inflammatory as well and I clearly love this herb like no other because it's been added to so many other monthly steeps I've made this year. 

When I prepare my CCF tea, I almost always use equal parts of all herbs, and I also keep a steady supply of Banyan Botanicals CCF Tea on hand as well. Nettle I'm harvesting locally if it's in season, and otherwise I keep lots on hand from  Mountain Rose Herbs who harvest their nettle domestically in the US. 

CCF Tea + Nettle

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried Nettle leaf
Serves 1

Mix all ingredients together and add to a tea steeper or to the bottom of a glass container. Cover with 2 cups hot water and let steep 12 minutes. Strain and sip before or after meals to promote healthy digestion, or strain and let cool to pack away with you for the day. 

 

Developing and tending to our little urban garden has been kind of our homeowner obsession since the day we moved into our 1929 brick four square almost exactly four years ago. We've made barely any structural or major updates to the interior of our house (although we continue to dream of a kitchen big enough that we can both actually cook in it at the same time...), but our backyard garden has been in constant shapeshifting mode since day one. We made space for a large organic garden and two large raised beds immediately after moving in, and this year is the first year we really went all in and landscaped/hardscaped the the bejesus out of it. Greg and I both have undergraduate degrees in landscape design and horticulture (respectively), so we totally know what to do and how to do it...we just had to make a plan that reflected what we both wanted, while allowing each of us some creative flexibility in terms of our tastes. He likes the symmetrical, straight line well tended shade garden. I like the wild and weedy english country garden vibe. 

C'est la vie.  

Above all, we like working together and making new things, especially in the garden. We love gardening. We love eating lots of veggies. We like sharing lots of veggies. We like having a big crazy garden that we can escape to at the end of the day - it's our garden therapy. Gromit also likes chasing rabbits, trying to catch the neighboring honey bees (unsuccessfully) and jamming her face in the open morning squash blossoms. Even in a city, we make time and space for creating a living habitat that nourishes us (and our fur creatures) - body and soul. 

Rainbow chard, grown from seed (our favorite green!!). We purchased almost all of our seeds this year from High Mowing Organic Seeds

Newly planed red cedar raised beds that Greg salvaged from a job and planed in the backyard. They're absolutely beautiful, and red cedar lasts forever. This cozy bed houses our climbing cucumber plants, some squashes & zucchini's. 

     

Let's just give compost a minute to shine while we're here. Our garden would be nothing without good compost, and we devote an unapologetically large amount of time to making sure we've got good stuff going in all the time. We compost almost everything after meals and meal prep (except meats) and even bring home extra compost from the juice bar at Ellwood Thompsons. We dumpster dived a large barrel a year ago, cleaned it out, painted it black and turned it into a rotating composter that just eats compost. It's SO HAPPY. We add to it daily and give it a good spin. Egg shells, greens, fruits, leftovers in the fridge, flowers that are past their prime....we compost almost everything. This years compost will be going in the garden for next year, and so on and so on. I'm a firm believer that how we tend our garden soil is reflective in how we tend to our gut microbiome (and you can read my previous post about that here). 

We tried our hand at laying stone for a walkway from the shade garden into the veggie garden and it turned out pretty freakin' awesome. (Props goes to Greg for most of that task.) We surrounded it with yellow creeping jenny and... purple succulently plants that we can't for the life of us remember their name ...

First rhubarb harvest - pickled and saved for this delicious post!

Spaghetti Squash...April to June

     

Dill & Snap Peas!

Yellow Squash and Rainbow Chard in Late May

     

Beets for days....Beet greens are one of our favorites too! Sautéed up in lots of garlic, olive oil, and extra fresh dill. 

Cucumber hide and seek :)

#myotherhouseisagreenhouse Look at those tomatoes! ALSO - you can't see it but Greg installed an underground irrigation system (!!). There are 5 zones, covering the entire large tomato/beet/blueberry/basil bed (below) and the 2 raised beds for the chard, squashes, cucumbers, zucchini's, and green onions. He was on a roll, and installed an irrigation system for all the potted plants we have on the front porch too (that man literally can't sit still). This may sound like an extravagance (and...it kinda is), but in our case it's a total necessity. We're in Richmond, VA. The mosquitoes have been SO BAD the last 2 years we basically had to abandon our garden mid season because we couldn't stay outside long enough to water it. Never again. 

Gromit has a new food obsession: snap peas. A+ for dog treats. 

Along this side of the garden (deemed "Lindsay's side") will eventually grow up to be the wildflower and herb garden. We have a neighboring bee colony so I wanted to plant loads of pollinator plants to keep the bees extra happy. I packed it with yarrow, sunflowers, echinacea, Russian sage, joe pye weed, bee balm, ornamental sage, Black Eyed Susan's, St. Johns Wort, a new little fig tree and our rhubarb patch. 

And it begins....

Happy Summer Solstice, ya'll. I'll be continually adding organic gardening posts throughout year - if you have questions or things you'd like to learn more about, leave them below and I'll be sure to touch on them in future posts!


Summer is abundance, with gardens overflowing, vegetables and fruits cascading out of their nutrient rich beds and flowers emerging in all their glory. Everything seems to come in waves in my garden - the squashes and beets and rhubarb and chard all ready to be part of my summer meals all at once. Not being one to waste even a single rhubarb stem, the only way I can seem to manage this onslaught of seasonal abundance is to quickly pickle and save the ripeness and sweetness of these summer veggies and enjoy them later in the season. June is the summer solstice, and what better way to celebrate than with a June Pickled Picnic featuring rhubarb and beets from earlier in the season! Get the recipes for my pickled rhubarb and pickled beets + how I set my summer picnic spreads on the Suite one Studio blog....

HELLO, I’M LINDSAY.
Herbal medicine and nutrition is my expertise. Understanding plants, their properties, and their powers is my passion.

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