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This is a bit of a round-up post, with information about online resources, herbal education, a documentary, and a gardening tip.
First, I need your input. I am in the process of re-vamping the Links page—instead of the short list that you see now, I want to create here a more comprehensive list of online herbal education resources, organized into categories such as blogs, Web sites, courses, webinars, e-newsletters, forums, etc., along with descriptions. If you have favorite resources that you’d like to share, please let me know in the comments section of this post—provide a link as well as a short description.
Second, I finally signed up for Aviva Romm’s Herbal Medicine for Women course! I’m starting this weekend, and I’m absolutely thrilled. I’ve been hankering after this class pretty much since it was first made available (you know I’m a fan), and with all the ever-growing time constraints and competing priorities, I finally decided to stop making excuses and make it happen. I’ve already checked out the student web site and the student forum, and I’m on cloud nine. Doubtless, you will be hearing much more about this along the way.
Third, PBS made a documentary called What Plants Talk About, and it’s available for free viewing on their Web site (I love PBS). It’s about how plants communicate and interact with each other and with the world around them, their natural intelligence—pretty amazing stuff. If you watch it, I’d love to hear what you think.
Lastly, for the gardeners—I learned about this awesome low-tech setup for garden irrigation this week. This is definitely on my future project list. Any favorite gardening shortcuts/tips?
Have a beautiful and blessed weekend! I’ll let you know when I have the Links page up and running…
Early March and spring is right around the corner. I thought it would be good to take some pictures, check in with the herbies as they venture out into the chill. Imagine my surprise when, four days after taking pictures for this post, this happened:
Ah, March. In like a lion, true to fashion. Let’s see if it goes out like a lamb?
Stay warm everyone! And if you’re on the East coast, enjoy the snow and stay safe!
It just occurred to me this weekend that gardening might be a good topic to include on the blog. Sure, I suppose you could practice herbalism by simply ordering all your herbs online and never actually meeting the plants in person, but what kind of way is that to make friends? Call me old fashioned, but I think the best way to connect with a plant is a lot like how you connect with other people: encourage growth, nurture it, visit and observe it regularly, be a good listener. You might be surprised to discover that you’re beginning to form “relationships” with your herbal allies.
First you’ll want to prepare a garden bed—the wee planties need a place to grow. The best time to build up garden beds is generally in the fall, but I’ve never been good at taking my own advice, so this weekend we were celebrating 105 degrees in Richmond by building garden beds. Because that’s my idea of fun, apparently 🙂 Three beds enclosed with landscaping timbers for fall vegetables, and one bed enlarging the bee and butterfly garden—a lovely spot for herbs and beneficials. We’ll probably just do a wattle fence around the bee and butterfly garden this fall – not necessary, but it helps deter the dogs.
My favorite method is sheet mulching / lasagna gardening. It’s comparatively simple—no digging up sod and no tilling and only minimal weeding.
Step one: lay out soaked cardboard (easiest to use a wading pool) or thick wet sections of newspaper down in a layer where you want the new garden bed to be. The soaked cardboard will suffocate the grass underneath it and prevent it from popping back up, even with wiregrass!
Step two: top the cardboard with a layer topsoil, compost, sand – whatever you use as your growing medium. I use a mix that’s equal parts compost, topsoil, and sand, which provides plentiful nutrients and good drainage. Depth can vary, but I generally aim for around 8 inches.
Step three: mulch over the soil with straw (not hay). This does wonders for helping with retaining moisture, as well as further discouraging weeds.
Step four: each fall, add more compost and more straw to replenish the bed.
And that’s it! Pretty simple, eh? After years of digging up sod, tilling, battling weeds, I’m soooo glad to have found this method. I’ll never go back, and my back is ever so grateful.