Chamomile is a fantastic polytunnel plant. It is often grown for making herbal tea, which has extremely relaxing properties and is said to reduce stress and promote good sleep. These common domestic herb is also frequently used for other purposes in herbal medicine. But look beyond these usual uses and you will find that chamomile also has a wide range of other uses, both in the garden and in your home. Here are some unusual uses for chamomile that you might not have considered, to help you make the most of this useful crop:
Chamomile as an Fungicide
You may be surprised to learn just how useful chamomile can be for organic gardeners. A liquid feed or plant tonic made with chamomile and sprayed onto you plants can help to combat a range of diseases. Chamomile is a fungicide and is said to help prevent damping off in seedlings.
Chamomile as a Compost Activator
Chamomile can also be added to your compost heap to speed up the rate of decomposition. It is one of a number of different herbs that are said to serve this purpose. Speeding up your compost heap can help to keep your garden functioning well and makes sure that you have the ingredients necessary to return nutrients to your polytunnel system.
Chamomile as an Insect Repellent
Both when growing and when dried, chamomile is excellent for repelling insects. You can use dried chamomile to make a range of candles, unguents and balms for use when camping or when in your garden in the summer months.
Chamomile Hair Shampoo
Chamomile can also be used in hair care. An infusion of chamomile flowers is said to be a particularly good hair shampoo, especially for those with fair hair. Simply use in place of purchased shampoos in a sustainable hair care system.
Chamomile as a Dye Plant
Chamomile is also a dye plant. Yellow to gold dyes can be obtained from chamomile flowers and can be used in a range of fabric dyeing and arts and crafts applications. It is just one of many dye plants that you can grow in your polytunnel.
Chamomile gives value to a polytunnel garden, both when it is growing, and when it is harvested and used around the garden and the home. Are you making the most of this useful flowering herb? Do you have some unusual uses for chamomile in your polytunnel? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.