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The Medicinal Herb Grower, Volume 1 Paperback – September 1, 2009
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"The most difinitive herb grower's guide on the planet, a book that breathes with aliveness, humor, and how to really do it!" --Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac.
"Richo and I are fortunate in having a diversity of medicinal plants growing in our backyards. The world is fortunate in that Richo has distilled his years of growing experience in this excellent new book. A very different book--no bibliographic echoes, all good personal gardening and nature first hand. This book is a pleasure to read, and a treasure of valuable cultural information. --James Duke, PhD
I love the illustrations and anecdotes that make for reading much like James Herriot--of whom I am a fan! --Pam Grove
About the Author
Richo was born in 1955 in Iowa City Iowa, the son of a caring mother and an accomplished physician. He was always fascinated by plants and especially seeds, and demonstrated from an early age an unusual talent for collecting and germinating diverse seeds. His professional work as an archaeologist in East Africa blossomed into a nascent ascent into ethnobotany. On his return to the United States in 1975 he and his wife, Mayche, and their fledgling family set up a homestead in a remote area of the coast mountains of Oregon. Here they delved into the art, science, and horticulture of growing diverse gardens of medicinal herbs. Richo has written extensively of these experiences in his book "Making Plant Medicine" and now continues the story in "The Medicinal Herb Grower." His writing style is much like James Herriot (of veterinary fame) but of course he discusses herbs, not horses. The early gardens contained scores of species of plants that were unusual at the time, and later gardens contained hundreds of species. Eventually, Richo and his family produced gardens with over 1,000 species of medicinal herbs from all over the world, with extensive collections from america, china, south america, europe, the middle east, and east africa. Seeds and organically certified medicinal herb plants began to be distributed under the auspices of "Horizon Herbs, LLC" which eventually grew to be a major player in conservation of medicinal herbs, distributing millions of seed packets of viable, organic, hand-collected, open-pollinated, heriloom, and not gmo'd seeds worldwide. Richo's second book "Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs--Cultivation, Conservation and Ecology" was well-received by numerous growers, farmers, medicine makers, and also by the conservation community. It provided detailed information on the cultivation of 20 native american medicinal herbs at danger of extinction, including extremely detailed information on propagation biology, cultivation techniques, processing and yields. In recent years, Richo has been travelling worldwide (e.g. Yunnan, Zanzibar) to collect medicinal herb plants, focusing on finding the native land races of common medicinal herbs. His findings are well documented on his website at horizonherbs.com, and he contributes as a guest lecturer at herb gatherings nationwide as well as Bastyr University. His daughter, Nadja, is an associate professor of chemistry at University of Greensboro in North Carolina, where she engages in medicinal plant research. His daughter, Sena, has now illustrated three books. His wife is an accomplished cellist and editor. His son is a well-known builder of large geodesic domes. He has three grandchildren--Jaiden, Naia, and Nova Rose. The Cech family motto is "Sowing Seeds Worldwide for the Benefit of People, Plants and the Planet."
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Top Customer Reviews
I can't imagine an avid gardener being disappointed with this book, nor a nature-lover. The knowledge relayed in this book is clear and simple enough to get the beginner started to success with hope and confidence based on good solid advice, yet so detailed and insightful that even the well-seasoned gardener or horticulturist is sure to learn something to enhance their own skills and knowledge.
On a more personal note, which may or may not be useful to you, this book had the strangely wonderful effect of bringing countless memories of my own learning experiences, observations, quandaries, and happy musings to the forefront of my mind. I seemed to relearn things I had forgotten or discarded for various reasons. And I sometimes felt like the author was putting many of my own thoughts and feelings regarding soil, sun and all things green, into words much more eloquent and organized than most of my attempts have been. I also felt a renewed confidence in my efforts to garden with Mother Earth, and I sensed a strong kinship in our love for growing things, for harmony between living beings, and in our hope for the greater good. I have a very strong feeling that a great many other gardeners, horticulturists, nature lovers, landscapers, botanists, and those of us who are compelled by the concepts of agroforestry or permaculture, will have similarly invigorating and validating experiences if they will sit down and savor this book.
That being said, Richo's experience and knowledge are far beyond my own in years, applications, and successes, which gave humbling perspective, and motivating vision. I am grateful for people like him and his family. If you love plants, whether you are confident or not with growing and harvesting them, I encourage you to give this book a chance to open your eyes and lift your heart. May your thumbs turn green in the living soil. Peace.
While I really enjoyed the more natural approach of propagating plants, I would have wished for more practical information. The strange thing is that the book in many cases is geared for a bigger operation than the home garden, as for example he mentions a rototiller to till beds. No home gardener would need to till his herbs mechanically. But a commercial herb grower on the other hand would need more in depth information.
The information presented is often very basic. There is little infomation on setting up a nursery space, what to do to keep the dreadful slugs out of the trays or how to protect very tiny seeds from drying out.
What I especially miss are propagation techniques for different plants. Especially how to harvest the seeds, which plants do cross, how to prevent cross pollination etc., as seed saving books don't include herbs.
There is a small section on building a greenhouse and a shade house, but it is so short that it is useless unless you are good at building, but then you don't need these instructions.
The illustrations are really nice and cute, but I would have wished for photos for examle how different plants look in the seedling stage to distinguish them from weeds or how his setup looks like, in short, more informative illustrations.
There is a usefull chapter on potting mixes.
Strangely, I don't regret having bought that book. The author runs an awesome seed company and he must really have a lot of knowledge. I would suggsest that he goes back to his desk and writes something bigger, better with all that knowledge he must have and with a plant by plant description.
I also recommend his "Making Plant Medicine".