Plant Medicine

I’ve been pottering in my vegetable and herb garden this morning. I find it peaceful and inspiring. The bright green, in different shades and textures, there is some red, some splashes of yellow. My vintage tomato bush is like a pregnant mother; I anxiously watch tiny tomatoes’ clusters change from green to purple. Purple! I cannot wait.

Another bed holds bunches of rainbow spinach; it is very ragged as I eat lots of it daily, along with the silvery kale and various herbs, which I fry in garlic for lunch. There are crops of lettuce that my husband constantly exclaims over – he eats them on sandwiches for smoko. As do I, but I prefer the darker greens for their rich iron nourishment.

Around the perimeter of the neat raised beds are an ever-growing collection of self-watering pots with passionfruit vines, a lemon tree and yesterday’s exciting addition, a dwarf mulberry tree. The self-watering pots are a game changer for our extreme climate. The plants draw on the water kept in a reservoir whenever they need it, which saves me from worrying about watering them all the time.

The garden reminds me daily of my commitment to balance. Balance means I take breaks from whatever it is I’m doing. Balance is a series of diverse tasks instead of just leaning hard into something I am passionate about while everything falls off kilter and I finally burn out. Balance means small steps in many directions, not just one straight path. Balance means that I tend to all things, including my garden.

As I walk away from my writing each day and answer the bleating of my washing machine (who decided it was a good idea to make appliances announce they are finished?) I peg clothes on the line and look over my thriving plants. Have I missed any? Have the tomatoes turned colour yet?

I am reminded that balance equals success because success will not come without it. Success is not something that arrives at some future date. Success is a daily thing that we work toward while remaining within its evolving and transforming shape.

Purple tomatoes – I cannot wait!

On another topic, I used to be a terrible gardener. Fits of passion led to many victims being planted, and then another delight of fantasy would carry me away, leaving my poor plants to die slowly.

Balance and maintaining that state with mindful attention have helped my gardening skills develop. The game changer, however, is a large bucket composting system known as bokashi composting.

I add old food scraps and coffee grinds from my kitchen into the bokashi bucket and then sprinkle a layer of a unique probiotic bran flake over the top. Eventually, the bucket is complete, and then I let the bucket rest for about two weeks; when a white mould has developed over the top layer, I add the pungent slop into my garden to feed the soil.

It takes a few weeks to break down to where you can plant directly over the top of it, but once it has broken down – you have super-rich soil.

You can find out more about bokashi composting here – it is where I bought my original two-bucket plus probiotic flake system. No kickbacks in this for me – just a great little company that I highly recommend.

My bokashi bucket with its rich probiotic medicine is about to be added directly into my herb bed.

Creating healthy food for my plants, from food for myself, which then turns into nutritious food for myself, is a satisfying self-sustaining cycle. It constantly reminds me of our greater life cycle and the importance of being in touch with what nourishes us and, in turn, nourishes those around us.

Life is an organic process, and the more we partake in it from a mindful and heartfelt perspective, the deeper our access to its medicine becomes. Life delivers us the challenges to grow and the medicine we need; we must be awake to the possibilities to find them.

Have a lovely day; I hope you find the nourishment you need X

Those readers who remember my magazine Audacity and the story I did on blueberry picking will recognise my dirty hand in the header photo. It was such an exciting week spent picking blueberries and grapes on a farm at St George. The link for the Audacity Magazines 1-6 is on my home page, or here is the particular magazine, Page 39. I re-read it this morning, and re-lived the memory, so much fun spent meeting lovely people and working amongst thriving healthy plants!

Why did I pick grapes and blueberries for a week for no cash? (Although the farmer did want to pay me, I was a jolly productive worker, and he couldn’t access many at the time) well, not to give the story away, you’ll have to read the article 😁

2020 was a creative year! I hope I can get back to that level of creativity soon.

13 thoughts on “Plant Medicine

  1. “Success is not something that arrives at some future date. Success is a daily thing that we work toward while remaining within its evolving and transforming shape”. Wow, wow, wow. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    • Winter! I forget how the world turns sometimes – it is already so hot here today, but it was a long wet winter for us so I don’t wish to return to it just yet. Funny how I am always eager for each season by the time it arrives though.

  2. An excellent and informative post, Kate. Thanks for the tip on self-watering pots. I had no idea that they were available.They would indeed be a game changer for our extreme drought conditions in California. I’ve always wanted to get into composting: it seemed so complicated and I have little space to set up the compost bin. The Bokashi One composting kit is perfect for my needs. And it’s available on! A BIG Thank You for sharing this information 🙂

    • My pleasure Rosaliene – the self watering pots are excellent and it means I can leave large plants to draw on their own water reserves at least for awhile, if I’m away. There is another system that involves earthen pots that you bury in the garden and then fill with water, and then the plant roots tap into the moisture as it is released – I am strongly considering them and will let you know. All these things cost money but it is far better than watching plants die when I am unable to keep up the water in the extreme heat.
      The Bokashi system is such a great little recycler of waste. I’ve never got my head around composting but these are easy and I love nourishing the soil like this. We have flies that can turn rubbish into piles of maggots if not careful but the bucket system is completely sealed and I haven’t had one spoiled yet.
      Good luck with the systems, it’s such a lovely thing to be out in the garden bringing things to life.

  3. I loved reading about your garden and smiled when you mentioned “purple tomato” bulbs which will probably be bright red before you know it. I wasn’t interested in gardening until my husband had to go away on a 6-week Uni Practical 4 hour’s drive away. To keep myself busy, I planted a row of delicate purple flowers. Seeing them grow and bloom made me so happy, so I kept planting new things. Like you, I had a lemon tree, a blood orange tree, a dwarf apple tree (he makes the cutest little apples, I swear), lettuce, brocolini (sp?) and chillies. Now I AM OBSESSED with gardening.

    I so relate to you finding BALANCE in gardening and how it reflects on your life. I find gardening to be a wonderful anti-depressant and a natural anti-anxiety tool. It’s wonderful to dig around in rich soil, get our hands dirty and our minds cleansed for a while.

    Sending you lots of love from Perth WA xx

    • You’re in Perth! Another Aussie, that’s lovely and so nice to know Janet is from Perth – it’s nice to have the geographical placement. We have been to Perth, once I was on my way to Broome and a yoga retreat further up the coast and the second time it was with my husband, we were on a holiday over there. We loved it so much and are coming back next year. Gardening is balance, cooking is balance, even ironing is balance because it brings me back out of my head (where I spend so much time reading and writing) and into reality. My garden is beautiful at the moment. Or at least my vege and herb patch is. I’m so glad you’ve found it to be grounding (literally) as well. That’s so lovely to know where you’re from!

  4. This is such a calming and soothing post, Kate. I love how you relate gardening to balance. You are so right. How lovely to be able to grow all those wonderful veggies, herbs (and flowers at the right time). Self-watering pots sound like a brilliant idea and would be better for the planet by conserving water and encouraging the plants to grow even when you can’t tend to them all of the time. The Bokashi System of composting sounds ideal. I used to do a lot of gardening before I became disabled. I grew all sorts of veggies, herbs and flowers – I miss it now as I’m unable to access my back garden. But, at least, I can grow some of these things indoors on sunny windowsills. I have a large compost bin in the garden. I used to put food scraps in it and let it stand until it made good compost. Even now, my homehelp takes my food scraps out there to add them to the mix. I can’t use the compost myself (apart from a little for indoor pot plants), but I offer it to my neighbours, who can always make use of it. I remember how chilled out I used to feel just being out in the garden with my hands in the soil and watching my regular robin coming down to eat the worms in the earth. This is a lovely post, Kate, and it reminds me of good times, which is very welcome. Love to you Xx 🌻💛

    • Thanks Ellie, I love the garden but am having an ongoing g battle with caterpillars and their parents (or vice versa) a white butterfly. They have eaten all my broccoli before it even got going and chewing big holes in all my kale and spinach.
      So it’s not all calm and zen. But it is lovely nevertheless 😁💕

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