Gardens, Plants, Wild Foodism

Medicinal and Culinary Uses for the Shy Violet

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

While violets’ delicate blossoms are a treat only for the observant, the plant has enjoyed a long history of medicinal and culinary use.

Leigh Hunt, an English Romantic essayist, and poet is the first known author of the phrase “shrinking violet.” In 1820, he published a passage describing a bit of woodland in The Indicator, a poetry magazine: “There was the buttercup, struggling from a white to a dirty yellow; and a faint-colored poppy; and here and there by the thorny underwood a shrinking violet.”

Hunt was almost certainly referring to the native English, or sweet, violet (Viola odorata). This shy plant can often go unremarked underfoot, and it carries its small, slightly recurved flowers level with or just below its leaves. The phrase “shrinking violet” took a few decades to catch on — but when it did, it spread rapidly, much as its parent plant does…

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Gardens, Spiritual Toolbox

The Druid’s Garden: Principles of Sacred Gardening

The Druid's Garden

Part of my own Druid's Garden! Part of my own Druid’s Garden!

One of the greatest blessings of gardening and growing things is the deep energetic connections that you can develop with plants. When I grow a pepper in my garden, I have developed a relationship with that plant from the time I planted the seed in February, where I tend it and keep it sheltered from the winter weather, to the planting and mulching of that small pepper in late May. This relationship continues as I nurture it into maturity throughout the summer, where flowers and the actual peppers start to emerge. I monitor that pepper plant for insects and disease and do what I can to ensure its success. Finally, I watch the peppers grow large and fat in the heat of the summer. At that point, I have an eight-month relationship with that pepper plant. When I eat the pepper in late August, I know…

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Gardens, Herbals, Odds & Ends

Let Spring Begin…

Good Witches Homestead

Spring is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts.  It’s a time to let go of old habits, get rid of old or unwanted things, and give yourself a new start in life. Whether you’re looking to do a deep cleaning of your house or health, we’ve got the natural products to help you do it.

So, what are you waiting for? Take advantage of this time of year to enjoy the simple things in life and take the first steps towards a new you!

Good until 3/04/2019

A Little Something Worth Trying

Forest Fresh Diffuser Blend

Step in to spring and warmer weather with this diffuser blend. It’ll have you wanting to head out to green mountainsides for a spring picnic!

Spring Vernal Equinox

Date When: March 20, 2019; March 20, 2020

Ah, Spring! A time when “a…

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Food, Gardens, Plants

The Bee Friendly Trust transforming station platforms into habitats for honeybees to thrive

Life & Soul Magazine

The Bee Friendly Trust is transforming railway station platforms and other neglected sites in the UK into forage-full habitats in which honey bees and other pollinators can thrive.

The Bee Friendly Trust works with railway authorities, volunteers and schools to provide a network of flowering habitats for honeybees. They build planters and create mini orchards on railway station platforms, solar farms and other land – filling the planters with bee-friendly flowers to form pollinator corridors across urban centres and beyond.

Honeybee numbers have been steadily declining in the UK, mainly due to habitat loss, climate change, toxic pesticides and disease. Yet without them, around a third of the food people eat wouldn’t exist.

The Bee Friendly Trust say: “We want to create a world where honeybees and other pollinators have the habitats they need in order to thrive, and in which individuals and communities feel inspired and empowered to nurture…

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Food, Gardens

Ryerson Urban Farm: Student-led rooftop farm creating opportunities to learn about growing food

Life & Soul Magazine

Students from Ryerson University in Toronto have converted a green roof on campus into an urban rooftop farm.

Ryerson Urban Farm began as a student initiative with the mission to grow food on campus and create opportunities for people to learn about growing food.

The urban farm aims to build capacity for rooftop farming through production, education and research. It also operates productive growing spaces across the Ryerson University campus using spray-free, ecological methods

The students sell the produce at a farmer’s market, to CSA (community supported agriculture) customers, and they give some to the campus food room, which is a place where students can have access to free food.

Ryerson Urban Farm is designed in the market garden tradition, with over 50 crops and more than 100 cultivars, along with three rooftop bee hives.

In addition to growing food on the rooftop, Ryerson Urban Farm also have a variety of…

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Gardens, Plants

Seed Libraries where library members can “borrow” fruit and veg seeds for free

Life & Soul Magazine

Public libraries across the US are offering library members free fruit and vegetable seeds to promote sustainability.

Known as seed libraries, these collections of complimentary seed packets are being made available in hundreds of libraries across the country. While some institutions simply give the packets away to library card holders, others allow them to be “checked out” with the understanding that the seeds of any future plants will be returned to the library.

A seed library is a place where community members can get seeds for free or for a nominal fee and is run for the public benefit. Many seed libraries are open in public libraries and community centres, and are run by nonprofits, clubs, or school groups.

The Seed Library Social Network, an online resource for anyone wanting to set up their own seed library, said: “For some communities, getting folks to garden and grow some of their own food…

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Gardens, Herbals, Plants

Essential Oils and Flower Essences

Good Witches Homestead

Essential oils and flower essences bestow a concentrated dose of plant energy.
In most cases, however, you may want to work with the whole plant. You may find that if you wish to work with a particular plant, you’re obligated to grow it yourself. This may be for a variety of reasons.
* Some plants are rare to an area. You may need to nurture some indoors or order from a specialist nursery.
* What you desire may not be marketable: the alchemists treasured fresh morning dew caught upon the leaves of lady’s mantle. They called it “water from heaven” and prized it as an ingredient in many enchanted potions. If you want some {and you very well might; it’s reputed to provide a beautiful complexion!}, you’ll have to grow it and gather it yourself.
* In some cases, it’s best to have your own fresh stock of plants, to…

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Gardens, Plants

Starting Plants: Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden Transplants

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Some plants can be started indoors early in the season, before soil and air temperatures are warm enough to plant outdoors. From a seed-starting perspective, most of our common vegetable plants fall into one of three categories.

  • Don’t do well direct-seeded outdoors – these plants seem to do better if they are started in a controlled environment. The reasons may include poor germination rates or too short of a growing season. Plants that fall into this category include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, pumpkins, winter squash, onions, Brussels sprouts, gourds, and melons.
  • Do okay either started indoors or direct-seeded – these plants could be done either way. Some plants have a short enough growing season that even though they can be started indoors, the economics of doing it don’t justify the time and expense. Plants that fall into this category are peas, beans, corn, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, spinach, Swiss chard…

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Gardens, Plants

Starting Your Seeds Indoors This Winter

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Expert answers to your herb-growing questions.

Q.  This year I want to grow some of my herb plants from seeds. What are the steps to starting seeds over the winter?

A.  Seed starting is like baking bread- you need the right mix of ingredients, the right temperature, and viable yeast. In the case of seed starting, the ingredient list includes a lightweight growing medium and containers for planting. Provide the right temperature with a warm greenhouse or sunny window; and seeds, of course, are the viable catalyst.

Use a commercial potting mix or seedling mix for the growing medium. Choose from egg cartons, yogurt cups, flats of six-cell packs or small pots when it comes to containers. {Note: Fiber- or peat-based pots should be soaked well before adding soil.} Like yeast, seeds have a limited life, be sure the seeds are fresh or packaged for the upcoming growing season for…

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Gardens, Plants

A Seed Starting Ritual for Nourishment, Connection, and Relationship

The Druid's Garden

All of the potential and possibility of the world is present in a single seed.  That seed has the ability to grow, to flourish, to produce fruit and flowers, to offer nutrition, magic, and strength.  Seed starting offers us a chance to connect deeply with the seeds we plant, and to , from the very beginning, establish and maintain sacred relationships with our plant allies. Seed starting is a truely magical druidic practice, and in today’s post, I want to talk a bit about the magic of seed staring and share a simple ritual that you can do to bless your seeds as you plant them. Some of my earlier posts on seed starting can be found here (a general philosophy of seeds from a druidic perspective) and here (recycled materials for seed starting).

Seeds coming up! Seeds coming up!

One of the most important parts of a druid practice, in my opinion…

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