"Merry Meet and Blessed Be!"

"Bide the Wiccan law ye must,
In perfect love and perfect trust..."

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Witch's Secret Garden

Most every witch has an herb garden whether it be small pots on their kitchen counter to flower beds in their yard. If you happen to be one with extraordinary luck to have the space to spread out I would suggest doing so! Some plants return each year or provide all year long. As you plant flower beds around your yard try to look into herbs such as sage, rosemary, and other flowering herbs. Not only will they look nice and return next year, but they will also provide fresh herbs for both kitchen and coven, and they will encourage bees to help pollinate your garden! Here are a few tips for when and where to plant them for the most harmony. Even if it's just some plants around your house!
Nothing is better for our bodies than what the mother provides for us! PLANTS! They produce oxygen, they provide us with needed nutrients, they can even heal our ailments and cure sicknesses! All we have to do is provide them with a little love, a little of the God's sun shine, and water from the Goddess! Tending to a garden can provide valuable calming effects. Nothing can provide for your body better than your own organically grown plants!

When considering a spot, whether it be your whole yard, a small patch, or an area of your house, consider the functions of the garden. Would you like it to look decorative, would you like it to be a place of meditation, how much space do you have? Will you also use this garden for outside rituals? What are your cardinal directions (this will be very important for planting)? Are there things you would like to include in your garden, rocks, decorations, scrying balls or pools? What herbs are your favorites, what vegetables or fruits do you love? How much time do you have to devote to it, how much time can you clear up for it? 

The first step to good plants is good soil! This is easily done in pots inside but you must feed them often or change out the soils! You have to re-pot them as they grow anyways so why not change out for good quality dirt. In your garden you will need to feed and build your earth. I would suggest organic compost for this because you want to encourage earth worms! Chemicals kill them. Their poop is good for the plants! Most chemical/commercial fertilizers are salt based and full of chemicals that can end up in the ground water. Cow poop, chicken poop, bones (but not the meat), and organic kitchen wastes (plant peelings, and scraps) are great for adding nutrients to the soil. However animal excrement can contain live seeds that will grow! Also be sure to wash anything you intend to use out of your garden! Organically grown plants tend to be stronger more resistant plants anyways. Be sure to keep the dirt good and loose so the roots can grow deep. If you are planting in pots be sure to use good big pots! As big as you can so they have good deep soil to keep them from getting root bound!

I suggest raised beds or some type of boundary that you can fill in with compost and extra soil. I found my yard at my new home to be  rocky, I'm talking boulders, I am using these to enclose my beds. This helps you get between plants as well as being pretty and establishing that those plants are supposed to be there. Placing wood chips around the plants, especially cedar, helps deter weeds and provides compost as it decomposes. It can also hold the moisture in better, but also has better drainage. Raised beds will also keep fools from treading across them. Touch your plants and talk to them! Touching plants, especially the "fuzzy" ones helps strengthen the plants, and talking to them provides valuable carbon dioxide for them to grow.

I suggest getting  a Farmer's Almanac because it can help with planting at the right moon phases and planetary alignments as well as the proper time of the year for planting specific plants. It will also help to increase your garden's energies by planting them during Sabbats. This isn't hard to do considering the Witch's Wheel follows seasonal changes including equinoxes and solstices. Be sure to check and see what grows best in your region for outside plants.

Some of the best herbs to plant, inside or outside, are Chives, Rosemary, Basil, Lemongrass, Sage, Catnip, Thyme, Lavender, Dill, and Coriander. Rosemary can be a nice decorative bush that keeps growing all year! Thyme, Catnip, Sage, and Lavender are perennials and will return year after year.  Chives and Lemongrass are bulb plants that will continue to produce as long as the bulbs are active. You may also want to plant various mints. They are wonderful for use in teas as well!

I always suggest people learn to grow food for their tables. You know how it was grown, where it was grown and it's age when you grow it yourself! I would suggest basics, tomatoes, corn, beans, squashes, melons/pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchini, and cabbages and lettuces. The last of which can be grown all year as long as care is taken for frost. You may also chose to grow broccoli, brussel sprouts (my kids love these), carrots, potatoes, onion/ garlic, and peppers. When growing any type of root plants be sure to give them good deep loose soil to grow into! 

My reasons for knowing the cardinal direction is to be able to arrange things accordingly. If you wish to add a water feature it should be to the west, you should plant tubers (potatoes, root plants) in the north since they grow deep in the earth, you may want to plant beans in the east if you plan to grow them on supports so they can reach up into the air, and in the south I like to plant sunflowers! I leave the very middle clear so that I can set up a ritual area for meditations. I suggest putting things into your garden that reflect a calm place for you and try to make it somewhere you want to be. A bit of advice on water features though, if you don't intend to have the water moving, like a fountain, be careful of mosquito larva! They sell organic pellets you can place in bird bathes that are safe for the birds, or empty them out except for when you are meditating. If you chose to use a rain bucket get one of the sealed ones to keep out larva and other unwanted things. Sadly some areas have laws over the collection of rain as well. Yes it's stupid I know but please check your area. I like to can things I grow and save them for later use in the year but also you should share with friends and family as an offering for the bounty you have received. Freezing is also a great means of saving food for later use. 

Be sure you save seeds from the things  you plant so you can use them the next year as well. Also you should move things around year to year and take care to re-compost your soil during the winter months. Take care of your garden and it will take care of you!

Blessed be, 
Lady Alice