A ‘Greener Garden’

One of the greatest benefits of having a garden is controlling how your food is grown. Growing organically ensures your food is free of commercial pesticides—pollutants that seep into the ground or atmosphere. Starting an organic garden is the perfect way to ensure you are giving healthful eats to your family, and protecting the earth.


1. Right plant in right place. Don’t fight your site, but rather, embrace your sunlight levels, climate, and soil type, and choose varieties that will naturally thrive in your gardens’ conditions, reducing the need for excess water or amendment.


2. Compost. Reduce landfill waste by composting yard scraps and food waste. These organic products create methane in a landfill environment which, unharnessed, is a pollutant.


3. Water wisely. Conserve water by watering deeply and less frequently, encouraging plants to build deeper, water-mining roots. You can also improve your soil’s ability to hold water by adding organic material. Water in the evening or morning to prevent excessive evaporation. Mulch will insulate and protect soils, further slowing evaporation. Finally, make sure you are watering with just the right amount; under- or over-watering can cause plant stress, which acts as an open invitation to pest and disease.


4. Prevention is key to a healthy garden. Rotate plant families (see inside of packets) annually, so they are not grown in the same space but once every three years, reducing debris build-up and a potential for disease. Clean up the garden at the end of the season and avoid composting any disease or pest-infested material. Invite beneficial insects into the garden by sowing flowering varieties they are attracted to (like borage, alyssum, and dill). This way, when pests arrive, you already have a hungry, resident army waiting in the “wings”. Scout for pests, diseases, and natural predators weekly so you can identify problems early, and decide if action is needed. Use organic pesticide as a last option, to avoid harming bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects. If you must spray, do so in the early morning or evening when most bees are less active, and avoid spraying flowers.


5. Sow a cover crop! Cover crop enriches the soil, fights weeds, and breaks up compacted soil naturally. Cover crops can also be used to create an insectory (a dedicated area that provides habitat for beneficial insects).


6. Know your strengths. Submit a soil test for analysis. By understanding your unique garden site you can know exactly what amendments are needed, avoiding pests, diseases, and pollution, which can be caused by over-fertilizing. Improving soil by reaching the ideal, 5–6% organic matter also helps conserve water and prevent run-off.



8 Ways to Feel Closer to the Earth

Spring is the time of year the Utah mountains are covered with lupine and poppies and our gardens are rich with nettles, cleavers, and nourishing spring greens. We’ve been making lots of herbal medicines with the plants around us, and all this abundance reminds us to be thankful. With so much gratitude for all the Earth has to offer, we’re dreaming up more ways we can grow closer to the Earth.
1. Create a herbal apothecary. By learning more about medicinal plants, you can create a kinship with the world around you. You’ll start to notice all the herbal medicine right at your feet that can easily become your next tincture or tea.
2. Be conscious of water usage. In light of worldwide water shortages, it’s important that we conserve water, keep it clean and give it back to the earth. We can do this by opting for drought-tolerant plants over a lawn, installing water efficient appliances or by simply taking shorter showers.
3. Take off your shoes. Let those toes breathe! When you are in a comfortable and clean space, let yourself get dirty and grounded into the healthy soil.
4. Observe and journal. This is how many naturalists and botanists came to understand the plants, animals, and cycles of the earth. Whether you’re just listening to the birds or sketching some plants, this attention to detail will help you make more connections with the world around you.
5. Spend uninterrupted time in nature. Whether you’re hiking, camping, biking or all of the above, make sure to set aside a few times a month when you can unplug from modern media and relax. You can even try meditating with the plants.
6. Try forest bathing. Yes, you heard it here first. This Japanese practice, also known as shinrinyoku, is a way to reduce stress and improve overall wellness. Take a walk, breathe deeply and hug a tree. It’s for your health.
7. Give back to the Earth. Any food waste you have is an opportunity to feed the soil. Composting is an excellent way to give back to the cycle of life.
8. Plant the seeds of tomorrow. Whether you’re creating a veggie garden or a herbal sanctuary, nourishing yourself with the plants from your own hard work feels incredibly rewarding. Strictly Medicinal Seeds is a great company to buy herbal seeds from; we like to buy extra to share with our friends, family, and neighbors.
Through doing simple activities like these, we realize we’re not separate from nature and are truly a part of it. By living mindfully, we can positively impact our environment.
We hope you’re feeling the abundance of spring and that you find even more ways to connect with nature.

One comment

  • Oh, how I miss my herbal apothecary. I did not know much about the herbs in it. Yet, I liked to have certain herbs in it, just in case something came up. There were so many things that grew on their own in the garden, and in the forest. There were also a few things that just smelled good, like the various eucalypti!

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