Hearthbeats: Notes from a Kitchen Witch

Spring solstice is past.. and we are preparing to plant or preparing to settle in for the winter in the Southern Hemi.. I want to start this month with a poem I received.. I know not the author.. but it was lovely


O gentle Air, we do come before Thee
To ask that your gentle tender breezes kiss
The plants that will come forth.

O fearful Fire, we do come to ask that
Your hot heat be but a gentle warmth
To help the plants grow.

O Water of Life, we do come before Thee
To ask your gentle waters to bring life
To the tender plants that come forth.

O Great Mother, let thy dark womb care
For the tender seeds, to push them up when
The time is right for the plants to come into full bloom.

We do thank Thee, Mother of All Living Things and Giver of Life.

Blessed Be.

So with that in our heads and hearts lets look toward spring planting

If you want to grow a garden this spring, it’s never too early to start planning. Take a look at some of the seed catalogs that many companies will send for free. They will give you great ideas

For beginners, I recommend starting with these crops below. All are easy to grow, and present lots of possibilities for cooking. Some of these crops are best grown by setting out started seedlings, but most are easy to grow from a packet of seeds.

1. Radishes. Radishes do well even in not-so-great garden soil and are ready to harvest in only a few weeks. Plant the seeds in spring and fall.

2. Salad greens (lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Pick your favorite, or try a mix — most companies sell mixed packets for both the summer and winter gardens. By planting seeds in spring and fall, and you can have fresh salads almost year-round.

3. Zucchini, bush style. This squash won’t take up as much room in your garden as many other types, and it’s very prolific. Start from seeds or transplants. You won’t need more than a few plants for a bumper crop..

4. Peppers. Both hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with plants and let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a range of colors and flavors.

5. Strawberries. Perfectly ripe strawberries are unbelievably sweet, and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Buy bare-root plants in early spring. Put this perennial in a sunny spot and keep it well weeded.

6. Onions. Start with small plants, and if they do well, you can harvest bulb onions. If not, you can always eat the greens.

7. Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific, If you get a big crop, they freeze well Start with seeds after all danger of frost has passed.

8. Tomatoes. There’s nothing yummier than a perfectly ripe homegrown tomato, and it’s hard to go wrong when you start with strong plants. If you get a big crop, you can steam them and then can or freeze.

9. Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it’s a nice complement to tomatoes. Basil grows easily from seeds as well as from transplants.

10. Potatoes. An easy-to-grow staple that stores well when kept cool; A simple and low-maintenance approach is to plant potatoes in straw rather than soil. “Seeds” are whole or cut sections of potatoes, sold in early spring. You can also grow them in a garbage can.. look on the farmers almanac for a video lesson.

Some hardy herbs will grow almost anywhere there is soil, sun and a water source. With a little encouragement, fibrous-rooted herbs can provide fragrant weed control along walkways or the difficult-to-maintain areas between stone pavers. Little herbal gems tucked into stone crevices can define a stone pathway, lure walkers down rocky steps or highlight an unusual hard scape feature in a garden. Discover the ways to take advantage of these tight spaces.

Creeping pink thyme (T. praecox) is a low-growing semi-evergreen with pretty, little pink flowers that last most of the summer. The fast-growing creeper is well suited to the confines between stepping-stones, filling in between stones quickly with tiny complementary gray-green leaves.”

Sweet violet does best with a fall or winter sowing, as the seed benefits from the cold. Violet seed is slow to germinate and will cheerfully appear between the pavers in the spring with small but mighty purple blooms.

For stepping stones in shade, Corsican mint is very aromatic and grows only 1 or 2 inches high. this mint works for moist, shaded areas. Because of its carpet-like growth requiring very good drainage and plenty of shade,

Creeping golden marjoram makes a tough but attractive groundcover this herb can be mowed or trimmed with pruners to keep it flat.

Lawn chamomile is a perennial that grows no more than 6 inches tall. It is a nonflowering herb. The apple-scented chamomile forms a compact mat, useful as a pathway. It is a good in full sun and well-drained soil.

And during this time you should be planting the things you want to bloom in your life… happiness, prosperity, balance, peace.. These things need to be place in your heart on purpose and tended all the season long (your life). So that when you harvest them you will have strong roots and no weeds ( negativity). You are the only one REALLY in control of your life.. You sow both good and bad; but if you weed out the bad and tend the good then you will have a happier life as well as a clean and balanced one. Your life and body like your garden need purposeful attention.. both will wilt and die if you neglect them. And as you work towards and happy healthy garden you will find that you will remove many things you did not know were harmful as well as ad some things you did not realize you were missing.. this also holds true during harvest time when you would be preparing your garden and body for the restful time between planting..

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And not to have my friends from the Southern Hemi think I am forgetting them here is something I found in my folders for Mabon for you

Away from the Harvest

Tune:  “Away In A Manger

words adapted by Blake TaylorMixon

Away from the harvest the seasons have turned
The nights have grown colder and fires we’ve burned
The stars in the heavens look down where we stand
Neighbors and friends with candles in hand.

The warmth is returning, the sun and the light
Will brighten our days and shorten our nights
Come gather around the Solstice is here
The old one is passing, begins the new year.

This is a powerful time in the Southern Hemi as you are starting to reap the harvest and all the work of the summer… planning ahead for winter.. even though it is a while away . Blessings for protection and prosperity are most powerful done at this time as well as for harmony and balance. Canning and freezing of all the wonderful gardens will be going strong .

Now is the time to start to harvest the good in your life as well.. with positive affirmations as well as actions.. if you have planted the things you desired in the spring and tended them all season(your life) then now you should be able to reap what you have sown …. And not be unhappy about it. But remember that this is the time to prepare the ground for the coming spring.. you must tend it with love and fertilize with balance… so that while resting the winter away you and it will also become the fertile area to grow even better than this year.

And following the last article I wrote about Spring cleaning you home and your self.. here is a ritual to rid yourself of some deep rooted weeds in your life..

Weed the Garden Ritual

Wait for the waning Moon, you can weed your garden and do magic at the same time. Start by thinking about what you want to get rid of in your life, and perhaps in the world. You may find some deeply rooted junk
Then go into your garden, equipped to weed with kneepads, hoe,
Fork, and the like. As you pull each weed, name it, and say what you wish to remove:

I remove …….,
I remove ………
I remove ………

And so on. You will find that your garden gets neater and your heart gets lighter.
Afterward, be sure to dispose of the weeds carefully.
Either bag them and put them into the garbage immediately.
Knowing they are going away, or if you compost,
Ask the Earth to transform them as they rot.

Then the following full moon go back to the same place and plant something new. Start by thinking of the things you NEED to become part of your life, and your world.

Then go into your garden, equipped to weed with kneepads, hoe,
Fork, and the like. Plant the plants or the seeds, name it, and say what you wish to add to your life

I plant….

I plant….

I need to plant….

Water well and ask God/dess to help these thing to grow not only in your heart and life but your garden as well.. so that you have a visual manifestation to show you how well they can grow.

Until next time

Blessed Home and Hearth

The Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. please email me at [email protected]

Blessed be…