Time to Harvest Latham Centers’ Agway Herbal Garden!

September 15, 2015

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Marigolds from the Herb Garden

In June, Agway donated Marigolds, Chamomile, Rosemary, Mint and Lavender to Latham Centers’ very first Herb Garden. The garden was dubbed, The Agway Herbal Garden in honor of our generous community partner. Implementing the Herbal Garden in our vocational program was a multi-staff effort between job coaches, vocational, and residential staff.
While the garden has enabled students to learn about horticulture, it has also emphasized the importance of responsibility (watering), fine motor skills (planting and weeding), patience (the entire growing process), team work (scheduling with other students), and even creative license (making infused soaps). Next, the students are going to harvest the plants and use them for our All-Natural Goat’s Milk Soap.
It started by students clearing the plot of land. Second, students and staffers helped to plant up the garden with the herbs provided by Agway. Over the course of the summer our staff and students have created a watering and weeding schedule, and have had to keep their eyes on the plants for any critters or over-growth! Finally, it is time to harvest! Each herb has its own therapeutic qualities and process by which to dry process the plant:
Marigolds: Cut to flower and dry in tub that is in greenhouse.
-Wound Healing: Studies show marigold flowers help to promote regrowth of blood vessels in the skin… thus speeding up the healing process.
-Oily Skin: Infusing marigold flowers in water is a simple and effective treatment for oily skin. It also helps with acne and other skin blemishes. 
Lavender: To dry lavender, cut a bunch with approximately a hundred stems and bundle with a rubber band toward the bottom of the bunch. Hang your bunch, upside down in a warm, dark, dry room with adequate circulation.
-Anxiety: Naturally, lavender’s scent is relaxing for people with Special Needs, or any sort of high-stress situation.
Rosemary: Cut in ½ each steam and dry in designated tub.
-Promotes healthy skin and hair: Rosemary contains riboflavin (vitamin B2) which is part of what makes it a stimulant. When applied to skin and hair it aids in the regeneration of healthy cells. Using rosemary in shampoo encourages faster-growing and stronger hair. When soap or body wash made with rosemary is used skin tends to look and feel younger. Rosemary is also an astringent, which aids in maintaining the buoyancy of skin.
Chamomile: Cut to flower and dry in a tub that is in the greenhouse.  
-Chamomile soap has lots of healing effects on human body. It is used for treatment of skin infections. It reduces itching of skin and also softens it. The anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory components of Chamomile soap makes it the perfect option for skin soap. It helps in removing any skin infection and also produces a cooling and soothing effect on skin. It helps in curing various skin problems like acne, pimples, swelling etc. The various antiseptic mineral oxides of Chamomile makes it a perfect option to prevent body from bacterial infection.
Lemon Balm Mint: Cut the majority of the leaves down and dry in a bin and label.
-Bug Repellent: 
When it comes to pesky bug bites in the great outdoors, lemon balm serves as a natural bug repellent. It contains very high levels of an essential oil called citronellal, which helps to keep bugs at bay. A quick and easy repellant is to crush a handful of lemon balm leaves in your hand and rub directly all over your skin, avoiding the face.
Thank you so much to all who were involved, and will continue to be involved, in this amazing process!