A 2021 Apothecary Closet and Giveaway

Malory Ford

(Malory is giving away a set of all three books in the Legacy Series to one lucky winner.)

Every year around this time, my husband jokes that it’s time for the apothecary closet to make its appearance. It’s true, I was probably born in the wrong century.

I grew up in rural Alabama, but not so rural that we didn’t have doctors or hospitals. My mom is a gardener, but even she doesn’t have the fascination with growing her own food that I do. No, my fascination with food as medicine and growing herbs on my own came after my husband and I bought our first home in 2016. I started my first garden then, a 4×4 raised bed that has since grown into multiple beds boasting leafy greens in the fall and spring, root vegetables in the winter, and a bounty of all kinds through the summer.

Herbs might just be my favorite. They look beautiful, smell even better, and can be used in so many ways. I grow the usual, mint, oregano, basil, lavender, lemon balm and your general culinary and medicinal herbs, in addition to a few experiments here and there.

An herbalist I am not, and modern medicine shows itself in our home as often as is needed, but

I find that many of the common ailments that my family experiences can be calmed with an herbal tea or a salve made with something I grew in our backyard.

I tend to reach for peppermint before a bottle of OTC medication for an upset stomach, lavender and lemon balm when I’m feeling anxious, and of course my culinary herbs when my dishes need a little oomph. You’ll frequently find me running out to my kitchen garden in the middle of making dinner because I realize that something I’m growing just on the other side of the door would be perfect for the dish.

But of course, there are always more herbs than I know what to do with: enter my apothecary closet. Throughout the spring and summer, I’ll harvest the herbs from my small plot of land and hang them as bunches in the closet. Then, when they’re dry, I break up the leaves and put them in labeled mason jars to add to tea bags I purchase online and to soap and salve recipes for bug bites and general handwashing.

The best part, I get to share the wealth! Homemade herbal tea bags, homemade herbal soap, and homemade spice blends are excellent low-cost Christmas gifts that my family and friends really enjoy.

Herbs and traditional medicine show up in my books as well. Setting them in the Old West, I really couldn’t see any other option. One of my heroines is a female doctor who utilizes the herbal medicine techniques she learned from her grandmother in treating her patients. That same grandmother saves the day in an earlier book when an unwelcome scorpion shows up in the garden.

Anyone can grow their own vegetables and herbs, even on an apartment balcony. I live in a subdivision on less than a half-acre and grow much of the produce that we consume every year. My toddler frequently pulls bell peppers off of my plants and eats them like apples. We have been gifted with the earth’s bounty from our Creator, and stewarding that gift is one of my greatest joys.

Herbs as medicine can be powerful and can interact with certain medications or conditions you may have. Always consult your doctor and/or pharmacist before proceeding with herbal remedies.


A couple of excellent resources if you’re just getting started:

The Beginner’s Garden Podcast – https://journeywithjill.net/

The Pioneering Today Podcast – https://melissaknorris.com/podcast/


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56 thoughts on “A 2021 Apothecary Closet and Giveaway”

  1. I live in an apt and I am trying to grow indoor organic cherry tomatoes and if this works out well I’d like to try other ones as well. THank you for sharing your resources! 😀 And best wishes for a plentiful crop! 😀

    • Herbs can absolutely be done on an apartment balcony! If not, your local farmer’s market often has a plethora of great stuff!

  2. We moved in September so this year we are discovering what is in our flower beds. Next year we plan on having a little produce in raised beds. In the past few years we have had tomatoes and lettuce. A long time ago I canned 75 quarts of tomatoes from our garden plus froze some and had fresh. I guess you do less as you grow older!

  3. as a child we had 2 huge garden areas that kept our family in veggies from early spring peas until the famous winter radishes my dad would always grow. Hubs family did the same since there were 7 kids in his!

  4. I sure enjoyed reading about your enthusiasm for herbal gardening. It reminded me of historical novels where willow tea was the response for curing ailments back in the day. I was quite a vegetable gardener for many years. Now I switched to flower gardening, my favorite being Dahlias. This year, I could not plant the tubers myself, so my husband planted them for me. All sixty-five of them. That was a labor of love. I share the flowers with resort guests walking by and friends and neighbors. It is my total joy! Thanks for coming today. I enjoyed reading your blog. So fun!

  5. I grow a few tomato plants in containers in the back yard. I can’t really have a garden because we have so many ground hogs here that they destroy it. Also it stays so wet here which in not good on the tomatoes

  6. Good morning! Thanks for dropping by! I love your blog & it reminds me of how I need to get better about growing my own veggies! Thanks for the links. I’d love the opportunity to read your books. A giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list.

  7. I’ve planted 3 Big Boy tomato plants and I have flower beds. Years ago my neighbor and I went together to plant a garden. It was a first for both of us and we had no idea how few tomato plants we needed. We bought so many tomato plants (like 30 to 40). We made homemade catsup, stewed tomatoes, and any other recipe for tomatoes. We had the kids take them in a wagon and go throughout of neighborhood giving them away. We still had to many tomatoes and finally left the kids have a tomato fight.

  8. Nothing like home grown tomatoes and green beans. I’ve had the best success with those. Thanks for the article. I want to learn more about home remedies after reading your blog.

  9. That is so fantastic! I have grown some very basic vegetables and herbs in containers over the years, but never attempted an honest to goodness garden. I just don’t have the skill or the time or patience for all the weeding.

  10. I do NOT have a green thumb!! Plus, I live in FL, which means sandy soil. You have to really have patience, doctor the soil, and I just don’t have the patience, nor do I want to pay a lot for water to water things. I also have a lot of allergies, so I let others grow things and I admire them!

  11. Growing herbs gives me great pleasure since I use them daily. Easy and always a real boon for meals.

  12. Your post was wonderful and I do love learning about gardens and growing the herbs you mentioned. I will definitely try to be successful this season.

  13. Attempting to grow tomatoes. Not usually good growing things. However, I’ve tried Camimele tea and do know lavender is good for calming.
    My doctor is a person who doesn’t prescribe something unless needed. He prefers me to take Garlic, Centrum Silver, Cranberry
    Have tried Basil before. It wasn’t bad either.
    Maybe if I tried growing again.
    Would rather take herbs and supplements and my doctor agrees
    Would love to Win

  14. “Running out to my kitchen garden while making dinner” made me smile. I did that last night to get thyme for the beef short ribs I was braising for supper. Herbs are great for attracting bees and humming birds too. Last year we had three different kinds of humming birds on our garden sage blossoms.

  15. Your garden sounds beautiful and very special. How talented and capable to be able to grow so much in a small area. I would love to have a veggie and herb garden.

  16. Gardening especially herbal gardens are not as difficult since I cannot do heavy duty gardening at all. They provide me with just what I require. Your creative ability is wonderful.

  17. I love the photos of your apothecary closet. Natural remedies are definitely better. Too bad my apartment has no balcony and little sunshine which means plants don’t fare well inside.

  18. I myself don’t have a garden but my sister does! She has raised beds and grows a lot of different things, including herbs. Her rosemary bush is HUGE!

  19. We owned a farm, and now have about an acre of land, so I’ve grown vegetables for years but I’ve never grown herbs. I think I need to try my hand at it! Thanks for sharing the great advice!

  20. We live in the city. We have a small garden this year. My husband planted tomato, cucumber, green onion and patty pan squash seeds. Thank you for sharing your beautiful garden.

  21. We love growing herbs and veggies! I love being able to mix up a lotion or salve to help treat an ailment. We do use modern medicine and otc products when needed, but we do try to grow and eat fresh herbs and veggies. We just moved from a townhouse to a home on a 1/2 acre, so we are excited to grow more things.

  22. Have never grown herbs but we grow a vegetable garden and can our vegetables My daughter said she wanted to grow her own herbs because she loves using them in her recipes! Thank you for this amazing post !

  23. We have had some herbs and a vegetable garden for years. We only have garlic chives, lavender, rosemary at the present time. Our vegetable garden is a good size and produces enough to supply us, put some up, and give to family and friends. The kale produced all winter and even the Swiss chard wintered over this year. The rhubarb was early (I have already made 8+ strawberry rhubarb pies. Local strawberries are now out, so I see more pies and shortcake in the future. Our asparagus this year has been wonderful. We have enjoyed it and given away as much as we have eaten. We are picking twice a day and were getting a double handful each time for a while. I can’t wait until the regular veggies start producing. When I get a bit more organized, I will be growing herbs and drying them – at least I can hope that day comes.

    Thank you for some good information and inspiration. I now have more ideas of what I can do with the garden.

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