Friday, February 18, 2011

Wildcrafting and a personal update on the blog and our gardens--

While I am still editing the compost article (which turned out to be a major undertaking since most of the info was out of date,) please be patient. I am editing it live and sending out new versions daily; not a professional practice, but once I started proofing links, a necessary one.  We here at "Brugh na Bhride" (which is what we call our 1920's, partially-restored, money pit, behemoth of a home in Lynchburg, VA) have been working on our magick garden planting--so far--peas, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, turnips and watching our crocus's bloom.  The daffodills are in bud, but nothing else is in bloom yet. We have tons of flowers, herbs, vegetables, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mulberries, apples and more on the way. We have a lot crowded on our tiny 1/4 acre urban homestead lot.  Watch for pictures of our endeavors soon and some from last year for comparison.  In the meantime, please enjoy these links about wildcrafting and wild edible plants.  I know many of you are interested in wildcrafting and I am just starting out on this additional magick gardening path. Wildcrafting is the Goddess with her arms held out for us to enjoy Her bounty, but only if we are careful, thankful and make sure we do not take more than what She can give. 


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Learn all about composting at these sites near you---

There are hundreds of places that practice and teach composting.The list grows longer daily. Here is a partial list of those centers. PLEASE post your local composting center's information in the comments section of this blog. 



HUNTSVILLE: at Huntsville Botanical Garden, 4747 Bob Wallace Ave SW, just 5 blocks east of the Space and Rocket Center (256-830-4447.)



PHOENIX: Sources for Composters in Maricopa County

City of Phoenix
Buckeye Landfill
(602) 262-6598 Office

You can purchase old trash containers with holes cut into them to make composters for $5.00. They are open on Saturday unitl 4:00 p.m. Take I-10 to 19th Avenue, South on 19th Avenue to Lower Buckeye Road, West on Lower Buckeye Road to 27th Avenue, then South to the Landfill. You do not have to be a resident of Phoenix to buy containers.
Town of Gilbert
Sanitation Department
(602) 503-6437
The town offers free backyard composters to residents, and will even deliver. These are recycled trash containers that have the bottoms and wheels removed, and holes drilled in the sides and top.
City of Tempe
(602) 350-8265
Free to residents. Composters have lids, bottoms have giant holes. Tempe will deliver.
City of Mesa
(602) 644-2222
Available to residents for $5.00. Should you ever return the composter, they will credit your account.
City of Chandler
(602) 786-2863
Free to residents. Chandler will deliver.

Check with your local municipal recycling or solid waste department to see if they offer composting containers.

TUCSON: Tucson Botanical Garden at Alvernon Way and Grant Road. Every Wednesday, the Gardeners of Tucson host an informative plant clinic. The Tucson Organic Gardeners have helped to create the Home Compost Demonstration Site. There are 60-70 classes and workshops offered annually on a variety of horticultural and desert environmental concerns.


The Los Angeles County Department of Public Works operates 11 Learning Centers throughout the County. They are equipped with educational and demonstration materials designed for our Smart Gardening workshops. Each has various backyard and worm composting bins, and drought tolerant plants. Some of the centers also include grass recycling demonstration areas to show how easy and beneficial grass recycling can be.

1. Santa Clarita
    Castaic Lake Water Agency
   27234 Bouquet Canyon Rd
    [photo] [map]

2. Calabasas
   Gates Canyon Park
    25801 Thousand Oaks Bl
    [photo] [map]

3. Arcadia
    L.A. County Arboretum
    301 N Baldwin Av
    [photo] [map] [$8 fee]

4. Covina
    Charter Oak Park
    20261 Covina Bl
    [photo] [map]

5. Rowland Heights
    Peter F. Schabarum Park
    17250 E Colima Rd
    [photo] [map] [$6 fee]

6. Whittier
    Sorensen Park
    11419 Rosehedge Dr
    [photo] [map]

Map of Smartgardening Centers
7. Monterey Park
    Garvey Ranch Park
    781 S Orange Av
    [photo] [map]
 8. La Mirada
    Community Gardens
    13518 Biola Av
    [photo] [map]
  9. Huntington Park
10. Long Beach
     Birney Elementary School
     710 W Spring St
     [photo] [map]
11. Torrance
      Columbia Park
      18721 Prairie Av
      [photo] [map]
12. Palos Verdes
     South Coast Botanic Gardens
     26300 Crenshaw Bl
     [photo] [map] [$8 fee]


ALAMEDA COUNTY: at Shannon Park in Dublin, maintained by Alameda County. Classes in basic composting and vermi-composting offered by the Alameda County Waste Management Authority, in the cities of Oakland, Union City, Dublin, and Livermore (please telephone the Rotline at 510-635-6275 for more information). 

ARCADIA: Home Garden Learning Center at the Los Angeles County Arboretum (adjacent to the community garden), 305 N. Baldwin Avenue, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (phone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit .)

CALABASAS: Home Garden Learning Center at Gates Canyon, 25801 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (phone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit .)

CARSON: Home Garden Learning Center at Victoria Park, 419 East 192 St., maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (phone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit .)

COVINA: Backyard Composting Center at Charter Oak Park, 20261 E. Covina Boulevard, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department Quail Botanical Gardens (Classes are held on the first Saturday of each month, and Master Composter training in the Fall. Phone 760-436-7986 for more information). 

LA MIRADA: Home Garden Learning Center at La Mirada Civic Center, 13700 La Mirada Boulevard, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit .)

LONG BEACH: at the El Dorado Nature Center, 7550 E. Spring St., maintained by the Department of Public Works, Integrated Resources Bureau (workshops offered and bins offered at a discount. Phone 310-570-1745 for more information). 

LONG BEACH: Backyard Composting Center at Birney Elementary School, 710 West Spring Street, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit .)

PALOS VERDES: Backyard Composting Center at South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 Crenshaw Boulevard, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit .)

PASADENA: Backyard Composting Center at Eaton Canyon Park, 1750 N. Altadena Drive, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit

ROWLAND HEIGHTS: Backyard Composting Center at Shabarum Park, 17250 E. Colima Road, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit

SACRAMENTO: There are three sites in the area, at Fair Oaks Park (8000 Temple Park Dr., near community garden), The Safety Center (3909 Bradshaw Road, 1 mi S. of Hwy. 50, back parking lot), and at Rio Linda-Elverta Recreation & Park District Horse Arena (810 Elkhorn Blvd. near Cherry Ln.). Sacramento County and the City of Sacramento sponsor how-to programs several times a month (and a correspondence course), with free compost bins given to those completing the classes. (phone the Sacramento County Rot Line at 916-875-6799 for more information). 

SAN FRANCISCO: at Garden for the Community, 7th Ave. and Lawton St.. Composting workshops and demonstrations in English, Spanish, and Cantonese are offered (phone the "rotline" at 415-285-7585 for more information). 

SAN JACINTO: on the north end of the campus of Mt. San Jacinto Community College, on State Route 79 between Ramona Expressway. and Gilman Springs. Rd., maintained by Riverside County. Several workshops offered in the Spring and Fall of each year. For more information, contact Steve Lech of the Riverside County Waste Resources Management District at 909-275-4366 (email: 

SAN JOSE: at Emma Prusch Memorial Park, 647 South King Road, maintained by Master Composters of the University of California Cooperative Extension (Phone: 408-299-4147). 

SANTA CLARITA: at Castaic Lake Water Agency, 27234 Bouquet Canyon Rd., maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit

SANTA CRUZ: at the UCSC Farm and Garden, UCSC Campus, Bay and High Streets, maintained by staff and apprentices of the Center for Agro-ecology and Sustainable Food Systems (more popularly known as the Farm and Garden). For more information, phone 831-459-3248.

SONORA: behind the County Library at 480 Greenley Road, maintained by the University of California Cooperative extension of Tuolumne County (classes are offered by Master Gardeners working out of the Farm Advisers Office, phone 209-533-5695 for more information). 

TORRANCE: Backyard Composting Center at Columbia Regional Park (adjacent to the Lago Seco Community Garden), 4045 190th Street, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit

WEST HOLLYWOOD: Backyard Composting Center at Havenhurst Community Garden, 1351 Havenhurst, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit
Composting Center at Sorenson Park, 11419 Rosehedge Drive, maintained by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works. Compost demo site open during workshops and scheduled events only. (telephone 1-888-CLEAN-LA for more information, or visit


BOULDER: at the community garden site, behind the North Boulder Recreation Center at 3170 Broadway, maintained by Growing Gardens: or 303-413-7248. 
DENVER: at Gove Community Garden, 13th Ave. and Harrison St. (also faces Colorado Blvd.), maintained by Denver Master Composters (Phone: 303-922-4096). 

CARBONDALE: a composting program is available for public viewing at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School. Program highlights are posted at contact the main office (970-963-2562 / email to 

FORT COLLINS: at Lee Martinez Farm, 600 N. Sherwood, open Wed.-Sun. 10-5, maintained by the City Department of Natural Resources (Phone: 970-221-6264) 

LONGMONT: at the CSU Cooperative Extension Office, 9595 Nelson Road, maintained by CSU Cooperative Extension (Phone: 303-776-4865) 

LOUISVILLE: Louisville leads Boulder County with two sites. One is at the Louisville Arboretum, at the Recreation Center on Via Appia, and the other is at the Louisville/Lafayette Recycling Center (at Hwy. 42 and Pine). Maintained by Boulder County Master Composters and the Louisville Resource Conservation Advisory Board. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 303-666-6565 ext. 500. 

LOVELAND: City of Loveland Backyard Composting Demonstration Site, 400 N. Willson Ave. (same location as the yard waste composting site), maintained by the City of Loveland (Phone: 970-962-2529) 


ATHENS: near the University of Georgia campus, maintained by the University of Georgia Grounds Department (Phone: 706-542-7531) 

ATLANTA: at 156 Heaton Park Drive, maintained by the Fernbank Science Center (Phone: 404-378-4314 ext. 318) 

ROSWELL: All the Roswell, Georgia recycling stations now have compost demonstration sites. They offer a wide variety of recycling options, including Goodwill charity depositories, tree chipping service and the backyard composting demonstration.


HALEIWA: at Waimea Falls Park, 59-864 Kamehameha Highway 

HONOLULU: at 151 Kapahulu Ave., maintained by the Honolulu Zoo 

HONOLULU: at 2131 Makiki Hts. Drive, maintained by The Hawaii Nature Center 

KANEOHE: 45-680 Luluku Rd., maintained by Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden 

MAUI: a Home Composting Education project is funded by a County of Maui Public Works Recycling grant and is managed by Maui Recycling Group. One-hour workshops are available Saturdays at 10 am at Mantis Eco-Care, 2137 Vineyard Street, Wailuku. A starter bin is given to each participant. Workshops are $5.00 per person. Phone 572-6668 to register. 

PEARL CITY: at 962 2nd St, maintained by the Pearl City Urban Garden Center


CHICAGO: in the Hyde Park Neighborhood at Nichols Park, on 53rd Street between Kenwood Avenue (1342 East) and Kimbark (1300 East). Open at all times for visitors, staffed on 1st Saturdays of the month, Spring through Fall, 10:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sponsored by Nichols Park Advisory Council, The Resource Center, and the Chicago Recycling Coalition (phone 312-862-2370 for more information).


FULTON COUNTY: located on Monticello Road. Heading north from Rochester on Old US 31 (Main Street), turn west onto Monticello Road and go approximately 1/2 mile to the Rochester Waste Water Treatment plant. Classes available. Sponsored by the Fulton County Solid Waste District (telephone 219-223-4939 for more information). 


SALINA: at Kenwood Park,W on Greeley Ave.(left at first intersection), just across the street (SW) from the Bicentennial Center. This site is maintained by the Saline County Master Composters. For more information please telephone 1-785-826-6555. 

WICHITA: at the demonstration garden at the Sedgwick County Extension Education Center, 7001 W. 21st N. (21st & Ridge), maintained by the Extension Master Gardeners. Information on composting available at the site and inside the Extension Center. Open daylight hours. Group tours and classes available. (phone 316-722-7721 for more information).


HOWARD COUNTY: There are five sites maintained by the Howard County Master Gardeners.

NORTH ATTLEBORO: Fred Glover, "the Compost King," maintains a site and will answer questions on the telephone. (phone 508-699-2904 for more information). 

WALTHAM: on Beaver Street, 1/4 mile west of Rt. 60, at the University of Massachusetts Waltham Field Station of the Cooperative Extension Service. 


ANN ARBOR: located at the Leslie Science Center at 1831 Traver Road. Maintained by Project Grow Community Gardens. Phone is 313-996-3169, or contact the City of Ann Arbor Solid Waste Department (313-994-2807) for further information about this education center. 

LANSING: at the Potter Park Zoo, 1301 S. Pennsylvania (maintaining organization not known, phone 517-483-4222 for more information). 
NOVI: at Tollgate Education Center, on Meadowbrook Road at 12 Mile Road. Maintained by the Master Gardener Society of Oakland County (phone the Michigan State Extension Service at 810-858-0887 for more information). 


SAINT PAUL: at Como Park, near the entrance to the Como Zoo, maintained by the Saint Paul Neighborhoods Energy Consortium. Open to the public year 'round. Free workshops offered Spring and Fall. (for more information, phone 651-644-7678). 

SAINT PAUL: at Highland Park, near the picnic pavilion on Montreal Avenue, maintained by the Saint Paul Neighborhoos Energy Consortium. Open to the public year 'round. Free workshops offered Spring and Fall. (for more information, phone 651-644-7678). 


COLUMBIA: located on Rollins Street near Hitt Street/Rollins Street, maintained by Public Works Volunteer Program. Classes and compost bins also available. (for more information, telephone 874-6271)

New Jersey:

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP: at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority Environmental Park, located at 6700 Delilah Road. Also at the site are an organic community garden, nature trails, and a playground constructed from recycled materials. Environmental tours available (phone 609-646-5500 for more information). 

MIDDLETOWN: at Deep Cut Park, on Red Hill Road in Middletown, maintained by the Monmouth County Recycling Office (908-431-7460) and the Monmouth County Park System. Both commercially produced and home-built composters are displayed at the site, along with informational placards. Literature is available. Open year-round during daylight hours. The Recycling Office also has a Master Composter training program, and Master Composters are available to provide home visits, talks, slide shows, demonstrations, and school activities.

New Mexico:

ALBUQUERQUE: at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science, 1801 Mountain Rd NW (Mountain & 18th St.), designed and constructed by the Museum in cooperation with other city and state agencies (phone 505-841-2858 for more information). 

ALBUQUERQUE: at the Albuquerque Council of Garden Clubs Center, 10120 Lomas Blvd. Persons interested in Master Composter training should contact the Bernalillo County Extension Service, 243-1386 and indicate their interest. 

ALBUQUERQUE: at the NE Xeriscape Garden, Spain at Wyoming NE. Persons interested in Master Composter training should contact the Bernalillo County Extension Service, 243-1386 and indicate their interest. 

ALBUQUERQUE: There are also composting demonstration units at the Rio Grande Zoo and the Rio Grande Nature Center (no street addresses available at time of listing). Persons interested in Master Composter training should contact the Bernalillo County Extension Service, 243-1386 and indicate their interest. 

New York:

ALBANY COUNTY: Cornell Cooperative Extension sponsors a demonstration site in Albany County. Call them for more information. 

AUBURN: at Emerson Park, Lake Ave & Rte 38, maintained by Master Composters of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County (phone 315-255-1183 for more information). 

NEW YORK CITY: at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx (contact the Bronx Green-Up Compost Project Manager at 718-817-8024 for more information). 

ITHACA: The Master Composters of Tompkins County presently maintain three compost demonstration sites in Tompkins County:
  1. At the CCETC office, 615 Willow Avenue - Roughly a dozen different bin styles on display with explanations, costs and pros/cons to each bin. This is a working demonstration site where their office  composts food scraps.
  2. At the Ithaca Community Gardens, off the 3rd St. Extension, near the Ithaca Farmer's Market - One row of static-style bins on display, opposite a row of dynamic-style bins. There's an educational board with a beautiful painting of "Love Your Compost" on the backside.
  3. At the 4-H Acres, Lower Creek Rd. - smaller working demonstration site that is used by 4-H clubs and groups that use the space.
NEW YORK CITY: Queens Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and Lower East Side Ecology Center all have sites.

ROCHESTER: Two sites exist in the Rochester area. One is located at the county recycling center on East Henrietta Road and another in Seneca Park Zoo. Maintained by the county's Solid Waste Department and Cornell Cooperative Extension. 

North Carolina:

CHAPEL HILL: at the Community Center Park, sponsored by the Garden Club of Chapel Hill. 

CHARLOTTE: The Compost Garden is located at Compost Central, run by Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Management, on West Boulevard a mile past the Billy Graham Parkway, near Charlotte/Douglass International Airport. Hands-on how-to classes available in the spring and fall; cost is $5 and participants receive wire for making a bin as well as a guidebook. 

DURHAM: Durham has a demo site at the Museum of Life and Science 433 W. Murray Ave. (phone 919-220-5429 for more information). Demonstration classes are sometimes available.



Directions to the demonstration garden sites:

Fulton Community Gardens

Intersection of Southwest Barbur Boulevard and Southwest Miles Street in the Burlingame neighborhood of Southwest Portland
Enter from Southwest Miles. Park in the Fulton Park Community Center parking lot. Disabled passenger parking is adjacent to the site, along gravel road...Visit the Fulton Community Garden site

Clackamas Community College

19600 S. Mollala Ave., Oregon City
Take Park Place/Mollala exit off I-205. Follow the signs to Clackamas Community College via Highway 213. Turn left on Beavercreek Road. Turn right on Clairmont Drive to enter campus. At first intersection, turn left onto North Douglas Loop. The center is directly across from the baseball field. Parking is next to the site...Visit the Clackamas Community College site

Leach Botanical Garden

6704 SE 122nd Ave., Portland
Take I-205 to the Foster Road exit #17. Travel east on Foster Road to Southeast 122 Avenue. Turn south and continue for three blocks to our parking lot next to Johnson Creek. A short walk across the street will take you up to the Manor House and Gift Shop. Using public transportation, TriMet bus #10 or #71 will let you off at Southeast 122 and Foster Road. A short walk south on Southeast 122 will take you directly to the Garden and Manor House. Display gardens in front and Manor House displays are accessible. Parking and restrooms are also accessible...Visit the Leach Botanical Garden site

Note: The sites do not accept yard debris from the public. Call Metro Recycling Information at 503-234-3000 for referral to drop-off locations for materials you do not want to compost at home.


SANDY LAKE: at McKeever Environmental Learning Center, located 3 1/2 miles east of I-79 at Exit 34, on Rt. 358 (or, from I-80 take exit 3A to Sandy Lake, turn north (right) on Rt 173. At the traffic light turn left [west] towards Greenville on Rt 358 approx. 1 mile. McKeever will be on the right), maintained by Slippery Rock State University. Telephone 412-376-7585 for more information. 

WEST CHESTER: near the campus of West Chester University -- the sign for the site is on High St. just outside of West Chester (Route 202 North veers off and if you go straight, you are headed into the city of West Chester).


GERMANTOWN: operated by the City's Environmental Commission at C.O. Franklin Park at 7725 Poplar Pike. The demo site is just south of the tennis courts in the park, off of Melanie Smith Lane, just east on Poplar Pike from Germantown High School. For more information, contact Bo Mills at 901- 757-7387. 


CARROLLTON: The Marie Huie Outdoor Learning Center opened in 1995 at Rosemeade Elementary School, 3550 Kimberly. The site includes 15 different types of compost bins, a worm bin, and several garden areas. For more information, contact the Recycling Coordinator at 972-466-4959. 

GRAND PRAIRIE: Grand Prairie plans to dedicate a new composting demonstration site in September, 1997 at Kirby Creek Park. 

PLANO: A demonstration site is open to the public during daylight hours at 4120 W. Plano Parkway. Trained Master Composters will be on hand from 9 AM to 10:30 AM on the third Saturday of each month to demonstrate pile building. Information is also available from a web site at If you would like to arrange a group visit for your organization, class, or club, contact Heather Merchant at 972-964-4111


LYNCHBURG: Compost Demonstration Project (in cooperation with the Lynchburg Waste Management Facility), on Concord Turnpike off of US 460, maintained by Hill City Master Gardeners (contact Mr. Don Davis, Cooperative Extension Agent, Phone: 804-847-1585). 

ROANOKE: behind the Fine Arts Building lower parking lot at Virginia Western Community College, on Colonial Avenue near Towers Shopping Center. Open daylight hours. For more information, contact John Arbogast in the Roanoke City Extension Office at 540-857-7915.
ROANOKE: at Mill Mountain Zoo, near the vegetable garden. There's a fee to enter the zoo, but visits can be arranged to the compost area, and they'll send information to interested individuals. (visit for more information).


BELLINGHAM: on the corner of Lakeway Drive and Woburn, maintained by Whatcom County Cooperative Extension and used for Master Recycler Composter training (phone 360-676-6736 for more information). 

BUSH PRAIRIE: at CASEE (Center for Agriculture, Science, and Environmental Education), 11104 NE 219th St., maintained by the master composters of the WSU Clark County Extension office (phone 360-254-8436 for more information). 

FERNDALE: Take exit 263 off of I-5, turn west , go to the RR overpass, turn left and follow signs to Hovander Homestead. Open from April 1 to October 30 each year. Maintained by Whatcom County Cooperative Extension and used for Master Recycler Composter training (phone 360-676-6736 for more information). 

SEATTLE: at Seattle Tilth Gardens, in the Wallingford neighborhood. Workshops offered. Seattle Tilth also sponsors many other educational events related to composting, gardening, and small scale agriculture. 206-633-0451 or visit their web site for more information) 

SEATTLE: at El Centro de la Raza, on Beacon Hill 

West Virginia:

WESTON: behind Jackson's Lodge at Jackson's Mill State 4-H Conference Center, about 100 miles north of Charleston near Interstate 79 (take exit 99 or 105 going west and follow the signs). Visitors are welcome whenever the camp is open. Site maintained by West Virginia University Extension Service Compost Committee (for information, phone 304-367-2772). 


STEVENS POINT: Schmeekle Reserve at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point maintains a composting demonstration area for the general public as well as providing programs periodically on composting/worm bins. The City of Stevens Point also provides low cost composting bins for residents. 

WAUKESHA COUNTY: at Retzer Nature Center, about 3 miles west of the City of Waukesha. No admission fee. (phone 262-896-8007 for more information).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

So what makes magickal gardening, well, magickal? (Part 2)

The first hypothesis about Magickal Gardening was that Nature is inherently magickal. The second is that when you apply intention (or some say will) to the already natural magick of Nature, then you have become a magickal gardener.  You and SHE co-create something beautiful.
Magick is finding your connection to the Earth and all that is natural, alive and moving in the universe! It binds all that exists together.

Magick is living in balance with the flow of life, and knowing that you are a vital force within that flow. Magick is everywhere! In the trees, rain, stars, and in the sea. It is the spark that quickens a seed to rise up from the soil.

Magick is laughter, joy, wonder and truth the of the world around us!

It is the subtle enchantment that reminds us not to waste a single moment of this gift that we call life! Magick is not greed, or power, or pretense...It is real. It exists. And it works.

Magick is the mystery that lies in the secret soul of the world. It is the essence of creation. What we imagine, we have the power to create!


With it you can create your dreams, heal your world, love your life and find the peace that lives in every human heart.

Author Unknown 

How to test your soil...

Be certain you get a good soil sample. Take core samples from the surface to a depth of 6 inches (if you don't have a soil core sampler, cut a vertical slice into the soil with a spade or shovel, then take a uniform slice along the vertical cut from the surface to 6 inches). Take 12-20 cores (depending on the size of your area) from points scattered evenly through the field or garden you are sampling. 

Take separate samples for any portions of the field or garden that have distinctly different soil types or very different management histories. Make sure to keep your core samples separate for the differing areas.  Mix the soil from each of the samples thoroughly in separate, clean plastic buckets or stoneware crocks. Place a pint of soil in a sample bag provided by the testing lab, or in a zipper-seal plastic bag for each distinct area of your field or garden. Remember not to handle your soil sample with your bare hands, use rubber gloves.

Send the sample to a reputable soil testing lab - such as A&L Eastern Agricultural Laboratories in Richmond:

A&L Eastern Laboratories, Inc.
7621 Whitepine Road
Richmond, Virginia 23237

Phone: (804) 743-9401

Fax: (804) 271-6446
For a comprehensive list of soil testing centers for every state click HERE.

In addition to soil pH, organic matter and major nutrients (N, P, K, Mg, Ca) it can be helpful to test for essential micro nutrients, especially Boron (B) which is often deficient in Virginia soils. 

When you receive the test report, find a good organic supply dealer in your area and give them the following information: 
  1. A brief history of the field or garden sampled, 
  2. Your gardening plans and objectives,  
  3. Overall description of condition of the soil itself or of the vegetation (crops, weeds, native plants) growing in it
  4. Any other specific questions
Once you have your soil up to its best, then you can be sure your garden will be bountiful and beautiful. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

So what makes magickal gardening, well, magickal? (Part 1)

There seems to be two (at least) avenues of thought on this question. One is that everything in the Universe is inherently magickal. The cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth is one of the main principles of Wiccan (and some Pagan) religious philosophy. Most of us would agree that life, death and rebirth are completely magickal and totally natural all at one time. This cycle of life is what magickal gardening is all about. We sow, we reap, we process, we eat and use the products we have helped (we hope) the Earth, our Mother, to create. To our ancestors, this was big magick; this was their very survival.

Unfortunately, we have now distanced ourselves so far from our Earth/dirt/nature-centered origins that we have lost that breath of magick. Even in 2011, it is still true that survival depends on a successful harvest. Without a good grain harvest, there is no bread. Without healthy soil, there are no vegetables or fruit. We can live without meat, but we can't thrive completely without protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients, so we still depend on the land around us for our existence the same as did the ancients.

Sure, we can eat man-made "food" chemically manufactured in a pollution belching factory, sustenance nearly devoid of nature or natural qualities, but is that living? We are gardening magickally when we consciously intend to rise above living life on auto pilot and realize our connection to the food we eat, to the land we harvest it from and even more, its connection to us. When we realize the connection between every particle/atom/quark in the world--man, animal, plants, trees, factories, airplanes, good things and bad, then we realize that nature is a type of magickal force all its own. We truly are all ONE as the popular New Age saying goes. The question is: do we choose consciously to be one with a beautiful forest full of trees furnishing us fruit and nuts or a factory producing toxic waste to kill what's left of the healthy Earth around us?



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Obtain every organic, Earth-friendly, heirloom seed catalog you can find.

This is just a beginners list of the more well known organic seed suppliers and a few companies that feature organics.  PLEASE add your favorites to the comment section and we can all benefit from your experiences.  IF you had a great experience, let us know and IF you had an awful experience, phrase it tactfully and let us know that too. I really like Peaceful Valley.

Does anyone know of any "magickal" companies selling organics, heirloom seeds, organic supplies, etc?  I am ordering my seeds right now and we will be planting our peas this week.  We always plant our peas at Imbolc. (Does anyone else have this ritual date for planting peas? I have to check the moon signs and such before we break ground, but Imbolc is for peas, our first crop.) 

We have had pretty fair weather here in the Blue Ridge Valley considering that most of you are housebound with snow and ice. This site is interactive. I want to know WHAT you are doing with your magickal gardens.  We can all learn from one another.   

Organic Gardens With Real Magick: - web sites and locations

Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.
2278 Baker Creek Road, Mansfield, MO 65704
W. Atlee Burpee & Co.
300 Park Ave., Warminster, PA 18974
Fedco Seeds
PO Box 520, Waterville, ME 04903
High Mowing Organic Seeds
76 Quarry Rd., Wolcott, VT 05680
Johnny’s Selected Seeds
955 Benton Ave., Winslow, ME 04901
John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds
PO Box 638, Bantam, CT 06750
Nichols Garden Nursery
1190 Old Salem Rd. NE, Albany, OR 97321
Renee’s Garden
(no print catalog)
Seed Savers Exchange
3094 N. Winn Rd., Decorah, IA 52101
Seeds of Change
PO Box 152, Spicer, MN 56288
Territorial Seed Co.
PO Box 158, Cottage Grove, OR 97424
The Cook’s Garden
PO Box C5030, Warminster, PA 18974
Tomato Growers Supply Co.
PO Box 60015, Ft. Myers, FL 33906

  1.  - great directory of organic businesses in US
  3. I have used this and these folks are wonderful.  Nice name--Peaceful Valley
  6. - another great site that lists all sorts of gardening catalogs
  7. - an organic gardening website--a how-to type of thing

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Invocation to Create Your Magick Garden

Gracious Goddesses, Glorious Gods, Sacred Nature Spirits, Guides and Lares of this heavenly piece of Earth here on the corner of Memorial and Harper Avenues in Lynchburg, VA in the USA on the planet Earth.

Gaea, Mother Earth, I call on you and honor you.

I ask your permission and your support in this endeavor to bring to beauty and fruition a garden of herbs, vegetables and fruits for the glory of the Gods and the well-being of ALL who live here and visit here.

At this, the time of the Celtic fire festival of Imbolc, I call on Brighid, Goddess of Fire and Water to bless this endeavor, to bring beauty and great health to this land and to all who dwell here or partake in the bounty created here.  

May the garden we create here be a testimony of our love of the "Olde Ways" and a representation of our independence from the money based society in which we are forced to live. 

Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit, I call on you to bless and protect this garden and my intenstions to create something beautiful, functional, healthful and abundant in every way.  

Guide me daily as I go about the tilling and planting, sowing and reaping of this sacred space. Grant me and my fellow garden creators plenty of strength and endurance to create this beauty and abundance in a pain free manner and in ever increasing health and joy.

Flow through me into the seeds, plants and earth creating great bounty to be shared with all others who I hold dear.

Enable me to have plenty of food to flourish and grow healthy and for those that I love to share in the bounty, flourish, grow healthy and stong.

Aid me also in the development of my herb craft and my gardening knowledge and garden crafts so that I can develop a plan to share this bounty with others and bring prosperity to my life and to the life of my friends in honor of the Gods and in the Spirit of Right Livelihood.  

May all who work in this garden thrive and grow healthy just like the plants that they nurture.

May this, its equivalent or better bless my life, the life of those I love and this, my sacred garden, harming none, so mote it be. 

Make it your intention to dedicate your garden to the Spirit of Rebirth and the Beauty of the Goddess...

First steps..mundane..I will post a future blog entry about each of these:
  1. Obtain every organic, Earth-friendly, heirloom seed catalog you can find. 
  2. Find on-line and local organic, heirloom seed gardening clubs and join them.
  3. Raid your local used bookstores and library for books about gardening.  Anything by Rodale Press is excellent.  Mother Earth News is full of wonderful ideas. 
  4. Gather together gardening tools and gardening decorations to be woven into your magick. Be creative!
  5. Plan your garden out on paper.  Graph paper works well.  There are computer programs out there for this, but I like a pencil and paper myself.  I feel more connected to what I am doing. 
  6. Learn how to plant by the Moon Signs. Get a good copy of a moon sign gardening chart that explains planting by the moon signs clearly and completely.
  7. Learn about companion planting.
  8. Scrapbook...Create a Garden Journal to celebrate your successes and document the plants that did not grow and why you think this may be.  Make your Garden Journal festive and beautiful, just like your garden.
  9. There are many different types of magickal gardens-decide which concept garden with which you would like to play and why.  Think about butterfly gardens, herb gardens for cooking, herb gardens for healing herbs, Mediterranean gardens for those who love Italian cooking, night gardens full of glowing white flowers and night-blooming Jasmine.  Let you mind wander and play.  What can you create? 
  10. Start a compost pile.  Don't waste those scraps.  They can make your garden come alive.
  11. Recycle and reuse everything you can.
  12. Have a heart-to-heart talk with the Gods, Goddesses, and Nature Spirits around your home and get their permission to have this garden.  Tell them that the garden is in their honor.  Enlist their help.  Give them a gift or a libation to honor them and request their support and presence. Thank them-repeatedly.
  13. Have your soil tested.  Contact your local Farming Extension office.  
  14. Have a ritual to bless the intentions of your new garden.  

Welcome to my new blog about gardening with a touch of magick...

Today is Imbolc, my favorite holiday of the Wiccan/Pagan year.  Most who know me know that I am dedicated to the Celtic Goddess Brighid. She is my Patroness, my sister, my guide, my inspiration, my all. Today is also the New Moon. The New Moon is the perfect day to start a new project (especially on Imbolc,) a creative project like the one on which we are about to embark.  New Moon workings can be done from the new moon to three days after the new moon. The new moon is for new beginnings, starting new ventures and also love, romance, health or job hunting. 

My new blog, The Garden Witch, is about all of these things--health, love, fertile greenness, growth, romance, inspiration, beauty, and much more. Gardening with Magick is not tricky or difficult.  It is a way to remember, honor and cherish the "olde ways" and reconnect with the Earth, our Mother. AND--it is fun! Remember this at all times!  This is supposed to be fun, for you, for those around you, and also for the Gods and Goddesses you honor with your magickal gardens.  Just think how wonderful it will be to have a lush garden brimming with fresh, green magickal asparagus and greens to honor the Lord and Lady at Beltane. 

The best source I have found for this material is Dorothy Morrison's wonderful book entitled Bud, Blossom & Leaf.  I recommend this book as the perfect accompaniment to this blog.  I have found such delight in Dorothy and her ideas that I have created my own magickal garden and magickal ways which I will share to you in this blog, The Garden Witch.  Imagine, fresh, red, luxurious strawberries and strawberry mead magickally enhanced to be the perfect cakes and ale for your spring rituals.  

Come along with me as we weave our webs to the song of the Fae and start our own green magick gardens in which we can dance and sing all year round.
The next post will be a "how to" of getting started ideas...