Witchy Wednesday–Magickal Gardening

Two posts in a week, look at me go!

I really love spaghetti squash. Mostly because I’m a child and I love things that look like other things. But I’m also an adult, so things that look like other things and are actually healthy are a perfect combination. Spaghetti squash is high in folic acid, beta carotene, potassium, and vitamin A. Not to mention it’s high in fibre and low in calories. I like to eat it like pasta, with a Sardinia bolognese. But it’s also nice as it’s own thing. Right now I’m obsessed with a sweet potato and spaghetti squash hash browns that I top with a poached egg and a little of that Health salt .

 

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Earlier this week, I cut open a squash and found that it had sprouted. No problem, I scooped the seeds out, coated the flesh in coconut oil, and baked (skin side up at 350 for 45 minutes) as usual. But it tasted a little funny. I kicked myself later because I thought I could have planted it and had unlimited squashes! It just so happened that that day a friend of mine led a talk on Gaia and how to honour Her if you have a mind to, and this friend had recently posted a pic of a spaghetti squash dish. I told her my funny story and we both lamented me throwing the sprouts down the garbage disposal.

20160713_143641My sprouted squash.

It turns out that I had another squash, and by the grace of Whoever, it had sprouted too! So I called my friend and offered her half. I gave it to her today and planted mine, and here we are talking about magickal gardening.

plantingProof

So, MAGICKAL GARDENING–How and why?

I’m going to answer the second one first. ‘Why?’

Paganism is, by and large, earth- or nature-based. We like nature and the natural world, and most of us find the stress and speed of modern life draining. We long for a simpler, healthier time when people slowed down and lived by the natural biorhythms of time. Free and easy.

We also tend to worship nature deities, and it all ties in. The modern world is full of processed materials and mass produced ‘necessities’ that we don’t need at all, but the bloated marketing industry of unfettered capitalism tells us we do.

Growing your own plants also gives you control over how they’re treated, how we deal with pests, what nutrients we put into the ground. It puts us in tune with the specific geology of our regions, literally the very dirt, water, and air of where we currently are, plus the lunar and solar cycles. Some of us like the feel of dirt under our fingernails, the thrill of nurturing something from a seed to a producing plant. Not to mention that as magickal practitioners, there is power in using something that you made yourself, or grew, in this case. It’s a whole different level of personal. And there’s an undeniable satisfaction to going outside in the evening and sitting in your garden as the chaos of the world moves around you.

So a lot of us like the ‘back to basics’ feel of growing our own plants.

In our yard, we have several things we grow ourselves. It’s difficult because it’s so hot (especially in the summer, in the dessert, and during a drought). So I took pics of the nicest looking things.

plantsHere we have our herbs. Sage for purifying and chicken. Chamomile for calming. Honeysuckle is one of my favourite plants. And three types of lavender (the English is new this year so it’s still a bit shrimpy and hiding behind it’s larger Spanish sister).

Trees and shrubsHere we have out trees and shrubs. The Crape Myrtle is one of my favourite trees. The Scotch Pine, which has lent branches to two of my wands. The French Lace rose that gives roses to my Rhiannon shrine. And some of our orange trees (cue California jokes).

20160713_171207Here is our rosemary bush, with a table for comparison. Yeah. You can see it from SPACE.

How?

The first, and most important part of gardening is to know what grows in your area. There’s a lot of genetic tinkering with plants these days to make them more flexible, but there’s still only so much a person can do. Here in Southern California, we have hot dry air and sandy acidic soil. That makes it perfect for the kind of plants you would see in the Mediterranean: citrus, olives, cucumbers, pines, oregano, rosemary. We are the world’s largest producers of pistachios, and if you drink pomegranate juice, it probably comes from us.

However, more delicate plants like nasturtiums, carrots, things that like a good cold snap, have a hard time here unless they’re given plenty of shade. And let me tell you, that is hard to come by.

Now, California does grown like 75% of the food eaten by humans (the midwest beats us in corn, but that goes to cattle), and we’re a big state, so not much doesn’t grown here. But my particular area is pretty arid.

Next, you’ll need to decide what you want to grow from what you’re ‘allowed.’ Herbs are great. You can dry them in the oven and use them for spells or kitchen witchery (if they’re edible), making incense, whatever. Fruits and veggies are great to eat. Flowers are lovely. Trees provide shade. And ground covers great for putting nutrients in the soil, cooling everything down, and filling in the awkward dirty patches between plants (just make sure the roots don’t choke the other plants).

After that, it all depends on the plant. Ask your nursery what sort of nutrients, seed depth, light and water requirements each plant needs. A lot of times, living plants (in the plastic or paper boxes) will have little tags that tell you, and seed packets are pretty informative. It’s helpful to keep a journal, not just to keep track of watering days, but also to keep more in tune with your plants and track their progress.

So that’s a pretty basic overview. I know it’s not much, but the concept of magickal gardening is so vast and varied that it’d be difficult to sum up in one book (look at Ellen Dugan! She has like 4!), let alone one little blog post. So I will periodically be revisiting the topic to talk about different things. What to plant for specific reasons, and where. What to do with some of the things now you’ve grown them. Plant lore. SCIENCE. Faery garden magick. What to give an ailing plant, or just if you want to give it a boost. Maybe even more in-depth ‘lectures’ on growing from seeds or sprouts.  We’ll see. All feedback is welcome. Let me know what you’d like me to discuss more!

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