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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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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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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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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Primrose; The Flower of February

Good Witches Homestead

COMMON NAME:  primrose
GENUS:  Primula
SPECIES, HYBRIDS, CULTIVARS:
P. denticulata-lavender, purple, or white flowers; grows to 12 inches. P. japonica ‘Millar Crimson’-flowers whorled around 24-inch stem; blooms May-June. P. polyanthus-best known; colors are red, pink, blue, gold, and white, all with small yellow eyes.
FAMILY:  Primulaceae
BLOOMS:  spring
TYPE:  perennial
DESCRIPTION:  Primroses form an attractive rosette of crinkly, light green leaves. The flowers are generally brightly colored and occur in tight bundles on individual stems above the leaves.
CULTIVATION:  Needing partial shade, primroses thrive in well-drained, rich soil. They are indigenous to cool, moist meadows and woodland environments  Duplicating these conditions as closely as possible will create the best growing conditions for primroses. The soil should not be allowed to dry completely. To retain vigorously blooming plants, divide clumps every four to five years. Seeds should be sown in midsummer for bloom the following spring.

Primrose is beloved…

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Aromatic Herb for February; Tansy

Good Witches Homestead

Tansy {Tanacetum vulgare}

Tansy is an upright herb with a crown of bright yellow clustering flowers. It is a member of the Asteraceae family and is also known as common tansy, bitter buttons, cow bitter, mugwort, and golden buttons. It grows to a height of three feet and produces pinnate, lance-shaped leaves that are uniformly toothed. Its button-shaped flowers sit atop erect, reddish stems.

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Native to Europe and Asia – and of possible Asian origin – the plant was likely first cultivated as a medicinal herb by the Greeks. In the eighth century, it grew in the herb gardens of Charlemagne and at the Abby of Saint Gall in present-day Switzerland, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At that time, it was used to treat…

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Home Brewed ‘Love Oil’ for Valentines

Wylde and Green...

It’s a funny one for me, St Valentine’s Day, I know it is supposed to be about ‘the one you love’ but I always think about it as a general celebration of love and partnerships of all kinds.

I feel it most as my love of nature, which awakens with a passion at this time of the year. With the emergence of Spring – who could not fall in love with Mother Nature on a new Spring morning.

So, this little ‘Love Oil’ is not just to promote the traditional sense of the word love in a relationship, but it’s an all-encompassing positive love fest – love for our families, love for our friends, love for Mother Nature – perhaps she needs it most of all right now, and love for ourselves.

Most of the ingredients are from my dried herbs/flowers from last year, with some kitchen ingredients thrown in…

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February in the Low Desert

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

In February, continue to prepare for frost events and take necessary frost protection measures. Don’t let a warm week in February fool you into believing spring has arrived. The low-desert can still have periods of freezing temperatures during the month.

Mesquites may ooze an amber-colored resin; this can be normal or released as a result of an injury. The exudates are often sweet smelling and tasting. If the exudates are dark in color, sticky and odiferous it is caused by a bacterial infection called slime flux.  You can prune affected branches, but once it has been established the tree will remain diseased and take years to die.

February is still a good time to prepare a new vegetable garden bed for spring planting. Prepare your vegetable bed by using a digging fork or rototilling to approximately 12-18 inches deep. Do not work soil if it is too wet as it…

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Natural Dyes from your Flower Garden [Infographic]

ecogreenlove

We plant gardens for food, health, and beauty. But did you know that many plants yield natural dyes for yarn, fiber, and fabric as well? The truth is that humans have been borrowing nature’s colors for thousands of years. This concept is back in vogue as it opens up a whole new world for many – especially those who value organic practices.

Botanical dyes are earth-friendly, biodegradable renewable resources. Crafters are also drawn to them because natural plant dyes produce hues that are much more complex than their synthetic counterparts. Color doesn’t stop at flower petals. Depending on the species, it can also be found in other parts of the plant, such as leaves, stems, roots, and fruits.

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Lavender for Body and Soul

Good Witches Homestead

Lavenders have everything for the modern garden as an amenity plant. They are
evergreen, fast-growing, compact and fragrant. The origins of its name are
probably from the Latin word Lavare indicating the plant has another use as it
means to be washed and suggests it was regularly used to perfume bathing water.
There are numerous references to other qualities of lavender in Roman times – such
as a cure for mild epilepsy and as a laxative. The production of lavender for
aromatherapy, perfumery and alternative medical purposes are now well developed
in countries where various species of lavender are found naturally i.e. from the
The Mediterranean to the Middle East, India, North Africa, and Asia.

Climatic Factors

Lavender production requires dry roots and shoots, free draining soils and
reasonable light levels. Low fertility sandy soils are ideal with a Ph range of 6.0 to
7.0. When selecting suitable sites frost…

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