Fourth Graders learned how Spanish explorers, padres and soldiers had to bring food, seeds, and medicinal herbs and the seeds to grow them when they first came to San Diego. Padres brought seeds for food and medicines, including beans, melon and squash, according to ships’ records. Mission gardens served as apothecary gardens for colonists.
Earlier this year, fourth graders planted herbs such as oregano, basil, and thyme, to go in the already thriving Spanish Colonial Herb Garden. This month, they harvested some of the herbs — mint, white sage, and lavender — to make three products. First, they boiled white sage and mint to make a medicinal tea. They took dried lavender and made it into lavender sachets, which would have come in handy in an era when bathing was an awful lot of work, due to the difficulty of hauling water. Then they made an ointment of beeswax, warm Crisco (the recipe calls for lard), and mint run through the blender. The resulting green ointment was thought to soften the skin — and the students found that it works well!