Fall Gardening with a Green Witch

A bittersweet time for the gardener, we usually think of autumn as the harvest season.

But a few duties remain.

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First, it’s bulb planting time!

My husband gifted me an amazing raised bed for our anniversary that I plan to turn into a vegetable garden in the spring.

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For now, I decided to sew some garlic, which needs a long time in the ground before harvesting.

I got these garlic bulbs from a talented herb gardener in West Virginia.  I’ve never truly tasted garlic until I tasted hers.  Expertly knowledgeable, she recommended to me the spiciest hard-neck variety.  Here’s hoping it takes!

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Also on the list, tulips and hyacinthus, my two favorite spring flowers.  I love bulbs because they encourage us to look forward to the future, they come back every year, and they keep doubling, so you can dig them up and give them away to friends.  I always smile in the spring when these pop out of the ground, and thank myself for taking the time to plant them in the fall.

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This marks my first year as a window gardener.

Pinching off some tender herbs right from the plant in December sounds like a spectacular natural luxury to me!

I decided to focus on basil, which makes all the difference in winter batches of spicy sausage Italian red sauce.

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It was with some skepticism that I tried propagating herbs.  I put little stock in internet gardening advice.  I never believe it until I see it with my own eyes.   It sounded too easy.

Just clip beneath the nodes, and stick in water.

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Wait for the roots to grow.  (Pardon the unfortunate state of my cuticles—no point in doing your nails before you work in the garden.)

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Plant in soil.  I put landscaping rocks at the bottom for drainage.

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It’s really that easy!  I’m amazed!

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Inside A Witch’s Herb Garden

After toiling all spring in my garden, I finally have a chance to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

I made these little signs for my backyard herb garden and sprayed sealer on it to weatherproof it, but I’m still not sure if they’ll hold up.  We’ll see!

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Medicinal & ritual herbs are in the backyard, but I keep kitchen herbs on the front steps, where they are more accessible.

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I try to grow a new herb every year.  Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.  This year, I am growing stevia.  So far, it’s been pretty easy.

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This book made my summer reading list this year.  Somehow, I ended up on this publisher’s promo list of bloggers.  They occasionally send me review copies.  I really enjoyed this one, which is a nice introductory primer to wildcrafting.  It’s really helped me a lot on my nature walks.

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I consider the woods near our house an extension of my garden.  I collect firewood there, and I use references like the one above to identify various plants for ritual and medicinal purposes.

This is my new favorite, in season right now.  I first noticed it growing wild along highways and roadsides.  It’s called Chinese Trumpet Vine.

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Medicinally, it supposedly makes a good blood tonic.  I probably won’t use it that way.  But it might make an appropriate offering to Chang’e.

Back in my own garden, the perennial flowers have done well this year.  Foxglove quickly became my favorite flower of the last few years, except I can’t seem to keep it alive!  I buy a new one every year anyway because I love having it so much.  Associated with fairies and hallucinogenic flying ointments (don’t try it!  it’s poisonous!), foxglove has a special place in the heart of any garden witch.

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I just started growing scotch broom a few years ago.  Ruled by the element of water, scotch broom can be used in banishing rituals and purification.   Gather a bouquet and place it near the front door for protection.  The Goddess Tree has a nice little article about it here.

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