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 MICHAEL “SKEETER” PILARSKI      Photo: Mark Musick
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Friends of the Trees classes, trainings, herbs & news
September 2017

Permaculture Design Class

with Michael Pilarski

Port Townsend, WA
250 N. Jacob Miller Rd.

October 7, 2017

Saturday9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Co-Design a Local Property

Learn how to design your own property.

Work together to design a 10-acre farm outside of Port Townsend with renowned permaculture writer and farmer Michael Pilarski.

We will utilize the Permaculture design 8-step methodology.

We will study the interface between buildings, hedges, water, soils, wildlife,  aesthetics, fragrance, color and more

 Everyone will participate in the design process.  We will have an artist to work with us to get the design on paper. 

The Class will be led by Michael Pilarski: Michael has taught 40 permaculture design courses and hundreds of workshops on permaculture and related topics.   He has been farming and gardening organically since 1972.

Class Fee: $90

Contact Michael Pilarski

Registration can be paid with Paypal
address is zone1@friends of the

or send a check to

Friends of the Trees
PO Box 1133

Port Hadlock, WA 98339

Facebook Event page link; Please share

Northwest Washington Medicinal Herb Growers Cooperative

Friends of the Trees Society and yours truly hosted an initial meeting to form a Northwest Washington Herb Growers Cooperative on August 17. Seventy people attended and there is a lot of interest and excitement. Two models we are looking at are the Vermont Herb Growers Cooperative and the Sonoma County Herb Association. Local production of high-quality herbs for local needs and beyond.

Contact Michael Pilarski if you’d like to be added to the email list.

Herb Growing Training Series

September 20, Wednesday
September 27, Wednesday
October 5, Thursday
October 12, Thursday
October 26, Thursday
November 2, Thursday
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Bring a lunch.
Admission is sliding scale $25 to $50 per class. Pay at the door.
Meet at the herb patch at Finnriver Cidery, 124 Center Road, Chimacum, WA

A lot of people at the herb cooperative meeting were interested in growing herbs for market but had little experience. In response to this need for education, I will offer a series of growing workshops at my Port Townsend plantings this fall. At each workshop we will assess what work needs to be done that week, what harvests need to be done, seeds to be collected and demonstrate how this is done and do hands-on work. Every week is different. Learn and experience the annual rhythm to growing herbs.

The trainings will be held at our two farm sites at Finnriver Cidery in Chimacum and on North Jacob Miller Road near Port Townsend. There are over 100 species of medicinal herbs, culinary herbs, vegetables, berries and trees between the two sites. We will meet at Finnriver to start each morning off. In inclement weather we will spend some time under a roof for processing or classes. Outdoors work will happen each time, so come prepared for the weather of the day. Bring gloves and work clothes.

Finnriver Cidery

Books on Herb Growing

Book reviews by Michael Pilarski, Friends of the Trees Society.

September 10, 2017 version

Michael Pilarski with his books.There are a lot of resources on herb growing on the internet but less so in print.  Here are the best books I have found on the topic. They are all in my library and I consult all of them.

Herbal Harvest: Commercial Organic Production of Quality Dried Herbs. 

Greg Whitten, 1999, Blooming Books, Hawthorn, Victoria. Australia. 556 pages. 

Whitten’s herb farming experience is from Tasmania. We owe a debt of gratitude to Greg for sharing his herb growing experience.  This is a big book packed with useful information.  The book is little known in the United States. Hard to obtain. I recommend it highly. 

Organic Medicinal Herb Growing.

By Jeff and Melanie Carpenter, Zack Woods Herb Farm. Hyde Park, Vermont. 2015. The single, best book on the topic written from an American perspective. Easy to obtain. Every herb grower and would-be herb grower should read it.

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm. A Cultivator’s Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production. Peg Schafer. 2011. Chelsea Green Press. 312 pages. One of the only books on the topic written from an organic, US perspective from a California farmer. Valuable.

Growing 101 Herbs That Heal

Tammi Hartung. 2000. A commercial viewpoint from a Colorado grower.

Growing At-Risk Medicinal Herbs, Cultivation, Conservation and Ecology

by Richo Cech, Horizon Herbs, Williams, Oregon, 2002. The 2nd edition is now available from Strictly Medicinal Seeds for $24.95 plus shipping.

The Medicinal Herb Grower: A Guide for Cultivating Plants that Heal.

by Richo Cech, Horizon Herbs, Williams, Oregon, 2002. 159 pages. General growng information.  He does not give a species by species list.  Useful nonetheless. Horizon Herbs is now Strictly Medicinal seed company. Self published. The bindings on all his books go bad very quickly (if you use them).

Medicinal Herbs in the Garden, Field and Marketplace. Lee Sturdivant and Tim Blakley. 1999. San Juan Naturals, Friday Harbor, Washington. 323 pages. Small farm and business opportunities for herb growers in North America.  Gives growing information, yields and prices.  The price information is outdated but there is lots of good info for herb growers. They cover 75 of the main herbs.

Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach to Growing Food and Medicinals in Temperate Forests

by Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel. 2014. More or less about managing existing wild plants rather than planting new crops.

Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and other Woodland Medicinals

by Jeanine M. Davis and W. Scott Persons. 2014.

Cultivation of Medicinal and Aromatic Crops. A.A. Farooqi and B.S. Sreeramu.  2001. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India. 518 pages. 36 of India’s most important herb crops and 27 crops for essential oils. History, Importance, Present Status and Future Prospects of Medicinal Crops. Based on commercial herb farming in India. Subtropical to temperate species.  Practical info on soil, climate, land preparation, cultivation, planting, manuring, irrigation, interculture, mulching, pests and disease control (mostly chemical pesticides), harvesting, drying and yield. Helpful book for farmers.

55 Chinese Herbs to Cultivate in the Pacific West.   By Prasert Ngamsiripol and Mercy Yule, Seattle, WA, NorthWest Asian Medicinal Herb Network, 2015.  

Covers a lot of the Asian herbs not covered in “The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm”.

Good herb specific growing and harvesting information but typically only provides less than 1 page of information per herb.

Other useful herb books

The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses.  Deni Bown. Dorling Kindersley, London. Revised edition 2001. 389 pages, large format.  This is my main herb reference. Over 1,000 herbs covered, worldwide. 1500 photos. The info is relatively abbreviated but for each species she covers cultivation, propagation, harvest times (hard info to come by), hardiness, parts used, properties and medicinal uses. Very good information.  I’ve rarely, if ever, found any of her information that was suspect.  This book has been published under a number of titles. 

Medicinal Plants of the World. Ben-Erik van Wyk and Michael Wink. 2004. Timber Press. 480 pages.  Tropical to temperate. A huge compendium of species. Color photos of all species. Description, origin, parts used, uses and properties, preparation and dosage, active ingredients, pharmacological effects, and notes. It gives the common names in Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.

Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs. Steven Foster and Christopher Hobbs.  A Peterson Field Guide. 2002. Mainly ID, a bit on uses and warnings.  The main value of this book is it is a great, comprehensive checklist to find out what is medicinal.  They don’t leave many things out.

Fruits & Nuts: A comprehensive guide to the cultivation, uses and health benefits of over 300 food-producing plants. Susanna Lyle. Tropical to temperate but weighted to the temperate. 2006. Timber Press. 480 pages, large format.  A real coffee-table book.  Particularly exciting is that they give the health benefits of each tree and shrub. A major reference on fruits.  A great reference is you want to grow trees and shrubs that have both edible and medicinal products. Gives good info on propagation growing, etc.

American Medicinal Plants

Chrales Millspaugh. This is a 1974 Dover reprint of an 1892 publication. Although this is an old book, I like to consult it when researching American herbs.

Register and Volunteer for the 2017 Northwest Permaculture Convergence

The Northwest Permaculture Convergence is coming September 29-October 1, 2017 to Portland/Vancouver at the Clark County Fairgrounds, 17402 NE Delfel Rd, Ridgefield, WA 98642, just 20 minutes north of Portland. Map.

Register here.

NWPCC collageThe site offers tent camping and RV spaces, indoor space for presentations, skillshare and vendors. Delicious, nutritious meals are provided using produce donated by convergence attendees.

Friday site tours in east Portland will provide an early look at what a more green, resilient and peaceful world might look like. The tours will visit great examples of repurposing and regenerating the urban landscape, culture and economy.

The Convergence offers presentations, group sessions, lots of networking and social fun. It's a unique gathering where individuals, groups and organizations can show and tell what they are doing to help create a more peaceful, green and resilient (read this as permanent) culture and economy in scale from hyper-local to global. Permaculture, a powerful system of ideals, principles and actions for living within our ecological and economic means is the common denominator for many who attend.

This year's theme is “Bridge Building.” That means bringing people and groups together that have distinct, but related, ideals and vision who want to know and value one another. New connections lead to new collaborations.

The Convergence will focus on real life actions. Key topics include growing food, green technologies, wild spaces, education, transforming urban infrastructure, sustainable food and much more!

All are welcome to attend and volunteer. You can volunteer to help to plan or execute the event, and take on a coordinator role or simply attend and enjoy some good company.

Paid organizers are needed: Convergence Coordinator $1500, Volunteer Coordinator $500, Outreach Coordinator $500

Also needed are: Work Trade Coordinator, Trade Show/Vendor Coordinator, Presenter Coordinator, Skillshare Village Coordinator, plus Documentation, Entertainment, Child Care, Decorations, Sign Making, and on-site Builder

Kitchen helpers especially needed who live in Portland. Contact

To propose a presentation, e-mail

There are a number of scholarships and work trades to offset the modest cost of registration.

Skillshare Village is looking for you to share your special skills. E-mail to sign up.

VVendors are welcome. E-mail to sign up.

Register here.

Here is a downloadable Convergence poster to post around your city, town or neighborhood.

Contact the Northwest Permaculture Convergence at:

Ecosystem Restoration Camps!

John D. LiuJohn D. Liu and allies have recently succeeded in setting up their first ecosystem camp in a degraded and depopulated part of southern Spain.  John D. Liu is one of the most eloquent speakers I know of on fixing up the plant with restoration work done by the people.  We need these all over the world. Here is a youtube from the camp.

Together, We Can Restore Earth!
Aug 20, 2017. 
651 views. 5:49.

 Let's go camping! + restore the earth! We are Ecosystem Restoration Camps and we want you to join us. Together, we'll be part of a global solution to climate change! Watch the video + share! :) Ecosystem Restoration Camps ( ) is a grassroots non-profit engaging volunteers to restore degraded land worldwide. We need YOUR help to make the camps a reality! Donate or volunteer with us to help build the first camp. In this video, Cori Chong and Tristan Sea travelled to our first camp in southern Spain in July 2016. There, they filmed and interviewed an international team of Ecosystem Restoration Camps members. Join our Community and Become a Member:

Intro Ecosystem Restoration Cooperative
, 4,326 views. Oct 1, 2016.

“This is a short video introducing the Ecosystem Restoration Cooperative and the Ecosystem Restoration Camps. This is a self-organizing, direct action to train and deploy everyone to mitigate and adapt to human induced climate change by restoring ecological function on a planetary scale. Welcome to join the Cooperative.” Very eloquent.  States the solution. Work done by cooperatives with horizontal decision making.  Do not put the current institutions in charge.

One of their actions is putting wood working and metal working fabrication shops in the camps early on to produce our camps ourselves. Organize camps and cooperatives all around the world. Immediate, low cost solution to world’s crises.


Friends of the Trees Botanicals Farm, 2017 Seed Crop

Dear plant people,

Would you like any of the following seeds from this year’s seed crop?  Please let me know so that we can optimize production to meet your needs.

Friends of the Trees Society has been selling seed since 1978.  Here are our main seed crops in 2017.

SeedsAnise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Arnica, Meadow (Arnica chamissonis)
Ashwaganda (Withania somniferum)
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)
Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Bugleweed (Lycopus americanus)
Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
Culvers Root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
Echinacea (Echinacea purpureum)
Elecampane (Inula helenium)
Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides)
Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)
Ground cherry (Physalis peruviana)
Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa)
Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum)
Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum)
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Mint (Monarda citriodora)
Madder (Rubia tinctorum)
Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum)
Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)
Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora)
Spilanthes (Spilanthes acmella)
Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis)
Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua)
Sweet Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Teasel (Dipsacus sylvestris)
Zi Cao (Lithospermum erythrorhizon)

$3 a packet (generous amounts).

We also sell by the ¼ ounce, ounce and pound. Here is the url for our 2016 price list

2017 will be a much higher production but we can’t count the chickens before they are hatched.

The 2017 seed list is also posted on our website HERE.

Call for a Washington State Sewage Sludge Moratorium

People just outside of Davenport, in eastern Washington, who live in a beautiful wooded canyon, are trying to stop plans to dump municipal sewage sludge up above them in their watershed.

Some of the folks are part of Tolstoy Farm, one of the oldest communes of the 1960's. Neighbors got together and formed "Protect Mill Canyon Watershed" to oppose the permit. They have expanded the scope of the struggle to call for putting a stop to permitting the dumping of sewage sludge on farmland statewide.

Please join the Call for a Washington State Sewage Sludge Moratorium!

No more sewage sludge on agricultural land! Too many chemicals!

Sign the petition:

Learn more at:

Contact Info:

Michael Pilarski
Friends of the Trees Society
PO Box 1133
Port Hadlock, WA 98339 
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This newsletter is distributed electronically by the Inland Northwest Permaculture Guild Newsletter Service.