Category Archives: gardening

Rhubarb seeds

Merry Meet All,

I was surprised to discover that I started a rhubarb plant from seed this morning. I checked my seed flat this morning. I gently dug with a stick to stir up the soil. When I reached something hard, I stopped. I lifted away a tiny bit of soil and there was a rhubarb seed with a taproot coming out of it. I had almost forgotten and given up on the soil. I was so cheered up by the sight of the rhubarb root. I had given up but I should have known better. Well now I can add rhubarb to the garden. My peas are growing well and the radishes- once I speared the planter to make a drainage hole.

I have seen planters with no drainage holes. Every planter must have a drainage hole. You invest so much in the plants, planters, seeds, water, watering can, soil, and whatever else. No exceptions. Every planter must have a drainage hole. If you have a drainage hole in your planter, your plants will not suffer from root rot or disease. If your planter has no drainage hole, create one yourself. Never feel guilty over making a drainage hole. Your plants will drown and rot otherwise. if I see a planter without a drainage hole, I just get so angry and then stab the poor thing.

When the rhubarb grows big enough, it will go out in my garden. It is easy to grow and can thrive on neglect. Preparing the soil before planting rhubarb will help the plant to grow healthy. I can’t wait for the harvest. Peas, carrots, rhubarb, radishes, and herbs!! The first year, you need to resist harvesting the stalks to let the plant establish itself. The second year, you can harvest more rhubarb than you can eat. Rhubarb freezes well so you can store it in the freezer then go crazy making lots of rhubarb crisp.

I am sharing the photos I took of my garden. You can see the planter that my peas are growing in and my radishes. If you are short on space, consider container gardening. Just don’t bring the pots in till the season is over. You won’t get bugs in that way.

Peas

Radishes

Happy Harvesting!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Filed under gardening, healthy plants, peas, planters with drainage holes, radishes, Rhubarb

Calendula- Flower of Litha

Merry Meet All,

Calendula – Calendula officinalis

Today we are going to talk more about growing seeds. I have experienced the frustration and joys that most other gardeners probably already knew. Calendula is a seed that is very easy to grow. It is also known as pot marigold. It is an annual flower but if you save the seeds, you can grow more the following spring.

When I opened the packet of the mixed calendula seeds, I was surprised. They did not look like seeds to me. I was unperturbed and immediately planted them in soil in the seed tray. A day or two later, tiny sprouts emerged and I was like, wow! They germinate fast. This makes them an ideal flower to grow. I put the seeds in the spots very close to the surface of the soil and I did not drown them in soil. Sow the seeds 1/4 inch in the soil. That can hinder their growth. Start the seeds six to eight weeks prior to the frost. Sow them outdoors after the risk of frost is passed.

Calendula flowers are grown for their sunny colourful blooms. You can grow the seeds yourself and gain many benefits from this herbaceous flower. It will grow in almost any soil and prefers to receive tons of sunlight. I plan to grow calendula to deter pest insects from eating my tomatoes and pumpkin vines in my garden.

Calendula can grow in pots or right in the soil. You can grow the seeds indoors for an early spring planting. You will grow more calendula flowers if you deadhead the spent blossoms. That forces the plant into more growth of flowers. Calendula self-seeds and will grow like crazy in your garden. It likes to be well watered and to be composted. Also, consider starting seeds indoors to help it withstand the insects munching on it. When the plant is bigger, it can survive that.

Calendula is used in lotions, balms, and salves. Many people grow calendula for those purposes. Wait for the flowers to finish blooming and save the spent flowers to collect the seeds. Dry the flowers indoors well. Check for aphids on the undersides and stems of leaves before bringing indoors. You will know when they are dried when the flower head breaks apart easily. The seeds are big and spiny. These are the seeds. Save them and you will have enough to grow next spring or in the same season, if you wish. Calendula grows well in pots and makes a good cut flower.

The flowers are edible. The flowers are also made into balms and salves for healing.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Filed under Calendula, easy flower to grow, flower, gardening, germinating, seedheads, seeds, sunshine

Midsummer Magic at Litha

Merry Meet All,

First, I am proud to announce that my essay about Tolkien’s research on Odin is to be published in the upcoming issue of Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine. The link to the Ezine is included in the list of links on the main page. Also, my article about thyme, that wondrous magickal herb, is published in the upcoming issue of Essential Herbal magazine. I love the cover of the new issue.

I have been working hard in my garden. I believe that every square inch of my garden must have a root or bud or flower. I know roots need room but no no, gotta cover every available inch with a plant. Today the soil was damp from rain while I uprooted several large plants and divided them up in my garden. I divided my organic mugwort, the leopard’s bane, canterbury bells and chives. I do have some large spaces in my garden at the back and i replanted the plants that can take shade.

Litha is almost here! Midsummer is a magickal time. Just one glance at my garden and I swoon. So I can attest to the fun one can have at this green beauteous time of year. Litha is the longest day of the year, leaving ample time for fun and frolic in nature. Decorate your garden by using pretty wires and stands to help tall plants grow. Spring is a great time to divide plants and disperse them in the garden. You can grow more plants from one large plant and best of all, it’s free.

Before you do a ritual, clean up your yard and garden. A beautiful garden is a wonder to behold. Maintain the beauty by storing your garden tools in a shed. Clean up the weeds. Use old leaves, grass cuttings, and old roots for mulch in your garden. Water the garden and rake the leaves. Now you are ready to perform a ritual.

Here are some ways to celebrate Litha:

Go for a long walk in the woods. Bring back some findings and include them in the ritual. Hold a drumming circle. Light a bonfire. Litha is a fire festival. Hold a bonfire at night but be aware of the safety of holding a bonfire. Light some sparklers.

Brush up on your pagan fiction. Write for a pagan Ezine. You can get paid to write for the Eternal Haunted Summer ezine. Read books like The Mists of Avalon, “Stonehenge” by Bernard Cornwell, or Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman. The book is very different from the movie. Curl up at the beach with one of these novels for even more fun.

Many blessings upon you.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Filed under bonfire, gardening, Litha, Midsummer, plants, ritual, wonder of nature

How to make your own garden cloches and plant labels

View of my garden

Merry Meet All,

I am hard at work in my garden. I hope you are, too. Today I searched around the house for cloches. Cloches protect tender plants and seedlings from frost, damage, and pests. I found a large plastic soda bottle and cut it up to turn it into a cloche. I placed a cloche on my tender romaine lettuce seedling, my pumpkin seedling, and the poppy seedling.

Making a cloche for your seedlings is easy. You can repurpose and recycle anything in your home. You can also reuse milk cartons, empty jam jars, vases, and pop bottles. You can reuse milk cartons to make plant labels too. Turn on one end a soda pop bottle. Cut the top off of the pop bottle and avoid harming yourself by keeping the blade away from you. Rinse and wash the bottle. Remove the plastic label and then cut in half again the pop bottle. A 2-liter bottle is ideal for this project. Use the two pieces for cloches and place gently over your seedlings in your garden.

Plant labels can be made from wooden popsicle sticks and a milk carton. Find a template for a label then cut a milk carton in half based on the template. Or buy a dozen popsicle sticks from your nearest thrift/ dollar store. These are very low cost and environmentally friendly. Label each plant label and set them at appropriate spots in your garden.

With a little creativity, you can have a fruitful garden by using these creative tips. May the Goddess bless you and your garden.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Filed under gardening, plant labels, recycling, tender seedlings

Our Sacred Plants

Merry Meet All,

The moon is waxing. This is a good time to plants herbs and flowers that grow above ground. Waning moon is time to plants herbs, flowers, and vegetables that grow below ground. On Mother’s Day, I gifted my Mother with three veggie seedlings I had grown from seed. I have so many that I can afford to share my bounty. I will have an amazing harvest in the fall.

I have decided that it would be best that I grow my veggies indoors. What, you ask? Well, I have competition for my greens. That competition is raccoons, birds, and squirrels. Raccoons are determined, clever and sly. I could be sound asleep in my bed at night and they would eat all my greens. So I let out a big sigh and resolved myself to growing my veggies indoors. I did not go to this expense to give them a free salad.

My Mother gave me a big deep planter. The sprouts are outgrowing their seed flats. Soon they will be moved to the big planters and set at the same southern facing window. I have no room and not enough sunlight in my garden anyway. The garden is in the northern quarter and gets a lot of shade. My onions will grow in my garden. Nothing touches my chives and garlic chives, because of the strong flavour and scent. At least I won’t have to worry about defending my veggie greens from slugs.

I bought a comfrey seedling at the farmers market this weekend. I am excited about growing comfrey. It is a traditional witch’s herb and has many amazing healing properties. I also hope to grow lovage and holy basil in the garden. Lovage gets big and attracts beneficial insects. It has healing properties too and is good in soups. These herbs are organic, too. Holy Basil is regarded as sacred in India. It is grown near temples and is a sacred symbol in the Hindu religion. I was floored to find organic seeds at the farmers market. Tulsi has many healing benefits and is often enjoyed as a tea.

It is a good nerve tonic and can sharpen memory. This famous sacred herb can heal fevers, coughs, a sore throat, treat kidney stones and heart disorders. For a small herb, it packs some punch. Tulsi is an important herb in Ayurvedic treatments. It is known for its strong aroma and has a stringent taste. It is also known as the “elixir of life.”

I know autumn harvest is a long way off, but with all this potential bounty, I think my enthusiasm is understandable!! Good luck with your gardening and I hope you’re blessed by the God and Goddess.

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Filed under gardening, healing properties of herbs, herbs and flowers, holy basil, raccoons, sacred herbs, vegetables

Beltaine- Solitary Ritual

Merry Meet All,

Beltaine is about the stirring of the green earth. The earth awakens and green sprouts push out from the soil. This ritual is fun to do. Just be sure to check the frost date in your area and be certain that the frost date is passed for this ritual, which is best performed outdoors.

You will need the following: seed packets, or seedlings, water, soil, gardening tools, tea, incense.

To begin, enjoy a cup of herbal tea and light some corresponding incense. Stick the end of the incense into the soil. Rain incense or patchouli or lavender incense would be appropriate. Prepare the soil for planting. Mulch, water and fertilize your soil. Loosen the soil to allow room for the roots.

Say a prayer to the God and Goddess. Also, invite the faeries to bless your garden. Now you can plant the seeds or seedlings. Get in touch with the soil again. Smell and feel the texture of the soil. As you place each seed in the ground, offer a blessing, such as:

May this soil be blessed in the womb of the earth,
Grow fruitful and full to bring forth the harvest
anew.
Cernunnos, bless this seed. Blessed Be.

Cover the seeds or seedlings with soil. Add compost tea, compost, or mulch to fertilize and add nutrients. Put earthworms back in the soil and remember that without insects, beneficial insects, there would be no plants. Do not add hazardous pesticides to your garden. That kills off the beneficial and predatory insects that feed on the pests. It also affects your crop by leeching into the plants you want to grow. Opting for an organic method benefits all. Healthy plants are naturally resistant to disease and pests.

Water the plants and thank the deities/ God and Goddess one final time. Say aloud:

Hail Cernunnos! God of fertility!
We honor you by planting these seeds
I ask your blessing for fertile soil and plants
Hail, Cerunnnon, master of the earth!

Once you are done, remain a moment and meditate on what you have accomplished. Know that now the fruit, herbs and vegetables, whether planted in the soil or container grown, are now about to bloom. Tidy up the weeds and old plants. Leave a crystal or milk and honey as a libation to the garden and the God and Goddess.

My article on thyme is to be published in Essential Herbal magazine this summer. I had an article on Wildcrafting Herbs with intent published in the May/June issue of Essential Herbal magazine this spring. You can click on the link here:

http://www.essentialherbal.com/index.php

Thyme is a beautiful and multipurpose herb that no gardener should be without. I am also having my article on Odin and Gandalf printed in the upcoming next issue of Eternal Haunted Summer Ezine. Here is the link: http://eternalhauntedsummer.com/

Enjoy Beltaine!

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Filed under Beltaine, Cernunnos, gardening, seeds and seedlings, solitary ritual

Spring Sprouts

Merry Meet All,

Beltaine is coming! Before you know it, you will all be dancing round the Maypole!! I bet you’re all excited. I will have lots of fun stuff here so you will be prepared for Beltaine. Beltaine is the third spring Sabbat in the Wheel of the Year.

I heard of a way to grow carrots. Or, rather, the carrot tops. You need the carrot top (without the leaves), and it should be one inch in size. Cut the carrot top off and place it in a bowl full of water. Push two toothpicks into either side of the carrot and suspend the carrot top just above the water in the bowl. Place the bowl on a sunny windowsill. Soon you will have nice green carrot tops growing. I plan to feed the carrot tops to my pet guinea pig, Magic. He will love that. I plan to grow carrots and peas in containers indoors as well. The slugs eat everything in sight.

My potted garlic is growing well. Graceful, long shoots are growing from the garlic bulb. I spotted tulips, my bugleweed and woodruff, chives, are coming up in my garden. Each passing day, it becomes more spring. This is an exciting time.

Stay posted, as I will be posting more about Beltaine.

Plants in photo: From left to right, garlic, orchid plant, tomato sprout begun from seed, umbrella plant, and carrot

Blessed Be,
Lady Spiderwitch )O(

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Filed under Beltaine, carrot tops, container gardening, earth, gardening, spring

Organic Heirloom Gardening

Merry Meet All,

I visited the local farmers market this weekend. I bought two packets of organic heirloom seeds: dil and brandywine tomatoes. I can’t wait to see them bloom into beautiful plants. I used an egg carton for growing the plants from seed. I put holes in the bottom of each hole for water drainage and added the soil and seeds and a blessing from the Goddess. I put the carton onto a tray and stored the tray on a windowsill. I put plastic over the egg carton to trap moisture.

The seeds are locally grown and open-pollinated. The company called Annapolis Seeds is from the Annapolis Valley. They strive for a diversity of seeds that can thrive in our climate. The seeds come from growers committed to sustainable farming methods. The seeds are 100% non GMO (genetically modified).

Egg cartons are ideal for growing plants. They are a good size, easy to use, and recyclable. You can use whatever strikes your fancy but bear in mind, it has to have drainage holes in it. You can use coffee cups, plant holders, even buckets.

I look forward to watching my plants grow. I hope this post inspires you to get started on your spring seedlings. I plan to grow more seeds this spring such as sage, thyme (the plant pot is sitting in a gold brass cauldron on my windowsill.) I bought the thyme plant- a favourite of faeries- at the Farmers Market this weekend. I also bought some organic homemade Earth Child Patchouli scented soap. I am all ready for spring.

Blessings,
Lady Spiderwitch

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Filed under Farmers market, gardening, heirloom seeds, organic, seeds, spring