Contemporary Prairie

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For the Love of Plants (An Excerpt of My Journey)

Written By: Natasha Gonzalez - Aug• 17•13

Over the past month or so,  yours truly has been busy learning. If you read my previous post, you’ll know that I’ve been actually doing A LOT of learning. Learning is a good thing, especially when a body is trying to advance her knowledge so as to try to take care of her family in the wisest, most healthy and economic fashion. It’s a difficult task to take care of other human beings, but well worth the reward! Okay. So allow me to delve into some details of what I’ve been up to:

1. Container Gardening (specifically growing herbs)

2. Preparing our backyard soil for a viable Spring 2014 planting season

3. Tincture Making

4. Encapsulating herbs (soon!!!)

dot. dot. dot.

I have to tell you – my hands live for the soil. Life is in the soil, and that fact has opened my eyes to the wonder of it and I’m completely taken. SOLD! Put a stamp on it, I’m a goner  :lol: . Now, being as coherent as possible with a raging headache (I have just rubbed several drops of Peppermint Oil on my temples, back of my neck, and around the sides of my nose to dull the pain-sorry, I had to insert the essential oil advertisement since I’m such a huge promoter of them for natural healing!) I will provide some more details of my learning journey.

I planted Echinacea and Chamomile in small pots suitable for the tiny seeds (and I mean tiny). Owing to the exceptionally small seeds, especially of the Chamomile, earlier attempts at successfully germinating them had been pretty futile. Hard as I tried I could not get them to germinate. Finally, on this third time…they germinated! What did I do differently? Well, after consulting with fellow gardeners, I was informed that the best growing soil for seeds in containers is a mix of potting soil AND regular ground soil. So I tried this and they sprouted! Prior to this I had been filling the containers with potting soil and compost only. So, make note,  plant seeds to be grown in containers with a potting/ground soil mix. Throw in amendments as needed. In my case I added compost, as well as Gypsum as we have clay soil  :cry: .

Now, my sweet seedlings had been growing quite rapidly until the extreme heat hit and the sensitive guys just slowed growing. After transplanting them to bigger pots last week, they just seemed to have hit a standstill. One of the Echinacea seedlings died in the process of transplanting as well, as its still young roots became exposed to the air. So I’ve learned to wait a little longer for transplanting seedlings, as well as being extra cautious to not allow roots to be exposed to the elements. Lesson learned.

I also have been working the soil in the backyard, trying to get it ready for next Spring’s planting. Our soil is horribly clay-like, so with the suggestion of another fellow gardener, we purchased Gypsum to amend it to a more preferable consistency. In addition to our homemade compost pile which is breaking down quite nicely in its chicken wire fencing, I will say that our planting next year should prove to produce good results! This year we planted lettuce that was transplanted from pots. They grew beautifully, until our nutrient deprived soil couldn’t not sustain their life any longer and the poor babies eventually went to seed! This will not happen next year. I plan to have our soil well worked by next Spring so that we could manage a healthy, thriving, organic garden  :wink: Soil must be well amended to produce a favorable result. Sounds basic right? You would think. Lesson learned.

I have become quite fond of Holistic Medicine and herbal cures for everything. I firmly believe that sickness both minor and major can be cured or alleviated with plants. This is not to say that traditional medicine should be avoided completely, just that my first choice will always be the natural cure, with traditional medicine used as a back up. This past month I have feverishly researched different herbs and their common uses. Great things have I discovered! Among my most prized gems of research: Fresh Cayenne is a so called Jack of All Trades and can cure many an ailment, including pain, ulcers and more. It’s great for pain management. As a matter of fact, Bulk Herb Store  (a great resource for those who are interested in learning more about herbs!) has a lot to say about Cayenne and its many wonderful and not widely acknowledged benefits. I’ve taken this knowledge to heart and created what promises to be a powerful and healing herbal tincture which is now curing faithfully in the heart of one of my cupboards. I simply cannot wait to try it!!! I am so enticed by all the herbs available to us that I have taken it upon myself to purchase a different herb from Bulk Herb Store every month until I have tried all of them. One new one every month. I have affectionately coined my endeavor “The Herb a Month Club.” This seems to be a logical and satisfying way to go about trying them all! It can’t be disputed that herbs are a powerhouse of health, able to rival any traditional medical cure out there. Yes, yes, lesson definitely learned.

What’s my next project? Encapsulating powdered herbs! I’ve yet to try this but of course, will definitely do it. It’s easy and cheaper than buying commercially buying already bottled herbal capsules. Isn’t the job of an aspiring homesteader to use her resources in the best and most economic way? Yeah, it’s part of the very definition. If the same result can be attained by doing something your self, for a fraction of the cost, by all means do it! I’ll report on my encapsulating adventures soon…stay tuned!

In summary, I’ve been busy this past month learning so much about…well, plants. God’s given us such a valuable commodity, which I believe is there to bless us and produce a quality life for us, though we do not take advantage of it! There is a myriad of data to be tapped into pertaining to the life-enriching  nature of plants. While it does take a patient and deeply dedicated person to do the research, it’s well worth it! I’ve found this in my recent journey of learning and trying to balance several new domestic skills at once (again, refer to my previous post!) The value in having this knowledge cannot be surpassed!

Wow… I just looked at the clock. May I go to sleep now?  :tounge:


:heart: In His Name,


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