Merry meet all,
You may all love to brew herbs in mysterious potions as part of your spells. But what if you could grow them yourself? Not only do you get to have control over how organic and natural they are, but you can tend them and grow them to suit a specific purpose.
If you don’t have room for a herb garden, then grow them in pots. From seed to harvest, have fun growing the darker family of herbs.
MUGWORT Believe it or not, you can order organic seeds. I bought my seeds from a local supplier, Annapolis Seeds, and from Horizon Herbs. It spreads through underground rhizomes. Mugwort is made into teas, dream pillows, and aids with psychic development. It should be in every Witch’s garden.
ROSEMARY A good herb for memory. Its pleasant earthy scent reminds me of the earth’s scent during rainy afternoons. Use in teas and incense.
BELLADONNA Use this sparingly. If you don’t believe me, watch Practical Magic. It is used as a sedative.
CHINESE LANTERNS. I warn you, these plants are invasive. If you plant them, plant them at the back of the garden or near a garden. They grow those orange pretty dry paper like flowers. The seeds are inside. But they are perfect for arranging into an autumnal design. Dry them and save for a potpourri, wreath, or for a horn of plenty.
GARLIC Plant garlic in the fall and watch as sprouts bloom in spring. The stems grow a few feet high. You can save one clove from each bulb you harvest and then replant in the fall for a spring crop. You can braid the scapes or cut them and eat them. When you harvest garlic, wait for the stems to turn brown and dig them up carefully. Include the roots and dry them to cure the garlic. The flavour is amazing. Use garlic to keep away psychic vampires! Garlic is renowned for guarding health. As you plant the cloves in well dug composted soil, charm or empower each clove to grow for protection and health.
MOONFLOWER You can grow a lunar garden. Moonflower opens at night. It has a beautiful scent so plant it near a window to enjoy the fragrance. Moonflowers are perfect for a lunar garden. The large white flowers add the perfect mystical energy for an esbat. Train them to grow on a trellis. Lambs ear and dusty miller are lovely grey plants that also add to a lunar garden theme.
MANDRAKE This notorious herb is known for being TOXIC. Handle it with the utmost respect. There are different kinds of mandrake. The plant grows berries and flowers. Wear gloves when tending it. Never consume any part of the plant. Use as an incense or for root work.
Rue A true Witch’s herb, this mystical herb can be grown from seed or a seedling. I can say from experience, plant it in full sun. I planted one in shade and it never grew the next spring. I will pot it up in the fall and trim it back. Dry the leaves to use as an incense, tisane, infusion, or even in an ointment. The grey green leaves tell of an older time. Use caution when consuming rue.
PUMPKINS I can’t think of anything that evokes more awe and magic than pumpkins. They need 20 -30 feet to grow. They need full sun and plenty of organic matter. Cover the plants with a row cover to help them grow, to keep out pests. Harvest in the fall and allow to cure in the sun for a few days. How fun can it be to carve your own pumpkin? Roast the seeds and turn the fleshy fruits into pies, soups or bread. Mmmmmm Pumpkins are magical and beneficial to your health. Let the vines compost in your backyard garden. I have a tomato vine from two years ago that is still composting! I also put my fall pumpkins over the spring garlic and tulip bulbs for nutrients. I saw no sign of the composted pumpkins but as they composted and gave their nutrients to my bulbs, but they can work wonders for your soil! Good soil is necessary for growing herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables. Use copper wires to keep out slugs.
SAGE Ah yes, sage. Depending on which type of sage you wish to grow, you can’t go wrong with this herb. The sage for cooking is garden sage but for smudging and purifying a room prior to a devotion to Hekate, use white sage or clary sage. Use mugwort, lavender and cedar for purifying and cleansing sacred space. My guinea pig familiar Magic runs when I burn sage but Penny, my familiar cat, doesn’t mind. Sage can be grown from seed or a seedling. White sage is hard to acquire depending on where you live. I bought organic seeds and I had very little germinatio. I finally had two seeds germinate out of a 100 seeds. Empower the herb with the intent you wish for it. Use garden sage on your roasted chicken! Mmm
WITCH HAZEL l I finally have my witch hazel, I have waited a year for this plant. You can use the leaves in an astringent or tea. Store the seeds or you will have ten witch hazels in your garden. Use the boughs for dowsing rods. In the fall to winter season, when everything in your garden has died back, the dreary days of winter are brightened by spidery, fiery coloured flowers. Make your own astringent and divine with the boughs. Its a permanent plant and you will need room. Give the roots plenty of room in the soil.
You can order seeds from a nursery or acquire from a friend or from a nearby nursery. Research seed suppliers. Store your seeds in paper envelopes and they should remain in good quality. Use good quality seed starting soil. Save your seed starter pots. Wash the pots in warm soapy water with bleach. This kills any insect eggs. They should last a long time with care.
Plant small seeds if you are starting from seed, which I am starting to find more satisfying, near the surface of the soil. Plant bigger seeds a little deeper in soil. Start in the early spring and late winter season. This lets you grow your seeds to seedling size and be ready in time for when the soil reaches the proper growing temperature and past the risk of frost.
Think of your intent with your plants. Never use or grow anything to harm anyone. Grow your plants with love. Protect them from pests or weather. Provide trellises or supports if they need them and weed the garden!. Fertilize them regularly. Use your seeds, flowers, buds and leaves or what have you in moderation. They might be witchy herbs but you should only ever consume something in moderation.
That said, enjoy your harvest! It is so satisfying to reap what you sow, literally, because it came from your garden and your own efforts! Once you have grown some of these lovely plants, there are so many ways to use them. You can make ointments for an astral travel, meditation, health, healing, foods, incense or teas. You are limited by your own imagination, Invest in some nice magic herb books like those by Raven Grimassi, or Scott Cunningham. They tell of many ways to use herbs and other plants. Save some seeds to plant next spring for another fall harvest.
Blessings, Lady Spiderwitch )O(