Whether you're making a garden for magic or the mundane, there are a few key things that you need to consider before getting your seeds planted.
Do you have poor or rich soil? This is a big question that not many people consider when planting their gardens. Soil can play a large role in how well our plants do. If the soil is poor and offers little drainage, it can stunt plant growth and even kill certain species. If the soil is too rich, or over fertilized, it can also damage plants. The key is to finding a balance. A good, rich soil is one that is 3%-6% organic matter. This soil provides proper nutrients for plant growth and flower and fruit production. Most yard and lawn soils are around 2%-3% organic matter and can provide healthy growth of plants a long as their is proper soil irrigation and you tend to your plants regularly. However, if you're planting fruits and vegetables, these need to be in a soil that does not go over 6% organic matter or it can damage the plants.If you aren't sure, you can buy soil testing kits from your local plant nursery or greenhouse to test the soil composition and determine which plants are best grown in your soil type.
Do the plants you're working with need sun or shade? Or, do they need a combination of the two? Plants such as lavender are a Mediterranean plant that love full sun. Mint is a plant that likes sun and shade, preferring a cooler place on very hot summer days. This is where a bit of research comes in. If you have certain plants in mind, research them to determine their sunlight requirements and if you can meet their needs.
Space is something else that I don't think many consider when gardening. Even if you have a large garden lot, plant crowding can be an issue and overcrowding can cause stunted plant growth and the dying back of certain plant species. If you are planting a large number of plants, try to space them a foot apart to allow the plants to have space to grow and thrive without bothering their neighbors. They need to have room to breathe and grow without interference from their fellow plants.
There are a few different types of gardens you can use, depending on your situation. Raised beds are a good option for areas with poor soil. This allows you to use potting soil and provide the proper soil composition for the plants and also gives their roots more room to grow.
Container gardens are an option for small spaces and apartment living. Most plants tend to do well in containers as long as the container is 2 inches wider than the root ball of the plant and the container has proper drainage. Make sure there are holes in the bottom of the container and the place a layer of fine gravel in the bottom of the container, before adding your soil, to allow for drainage. Soil that stays consistently wet can lead to root rot, which in turn can kill your plants.
Do you have the time to care for a large garden? If the answer to that is no, then you might be better off sticking to a few house plants or succulents. Plants need a lot of TLC in order to thrive. If you can't provide a few hours a day to your plants, stick to smaller, more easy to care for plants such s marigolds, basil, sage, mints or catnip. These plants do very well with regularly watering, occasional plant food, and sunlight. They are also container friendly and can be grown in small spaces or on apartment balconies.
Tools of the Trade:
Garden Snips and Twine:
These are a must have for any nature loving witch! Garden snips come in handy with trimming the plants in our gardens or when harvesting them for spells and charms. Twine is just as important and can be used to tie our herb bundles together for drying. Twine can also be used in spells for binding or tripping up those acting or working against us.
Jars and Droppers:
Jars can be used to store herbs and oils that we plan on saving, for use in our rites of magic. Droppers can be used to measure out oils and other liquids for spells, potions, and elixirs.
Choosing Your Plants:
Now that you've taken everything else into consideration, let's decide on which plants to work with. If you plan on using them for magical purpose, the best herbs to pick are the ones that you'll be using most often, or those that have several uses in magical work. For me, these herbs are always ones that I use regularly for both cooking and magic. I mentioned them in my Herbal Magic thread, https://www.spellsofmagic.com/read_post.html?post=888990 ,but I felt they deserved to be mentioned here as well because they are so easy to work with and a wonderful addition to a magical garden.
Sage | Basil | Mint | Catnip
They are relatively easy to grow from seed and once they get growing, they need little maintenance. As long as they have adequate sunlight, regular watering (I water mine once or twice a week, depending on when the soil seems dry), and plant food every now and then, they do just fine.
Mint and catnip are related, and can spread like wildfire, if you aren't careful, and choke out the rest of your plants. (I found this out the hard way) So I would suggest keeping these in containers or in an area where they can't take over the rest of your garden.
Sage, as we discussed above, is a wonderful herb for protection, healing, and purification. Basil and mint are both good for luck and success. Mint is also an herb that I use commonly for stress relief and relaxation brews. Catnip is a good choice for love and friendship, and it is also a nice treat for our feline friends!
These herbs can be worked into spells, charm sachets, potions, and all other manner of magic. If you're a kitchen witch, you can use them when cooking up magic in the kitchen as well.
Garden Blessings & Protection:
I always like to say a small blessing chant over my seeds before I plant them. I'll hold them in my hands and visualize them growing and being prosperous in my garden. I'll also say a small prayer or chant over them to wish them well on their journey.
Once your plants are sprouted and growing, you can add runes and other symbols to their containers or garden beds to promote protection and prosperous growth. You can visualize the runes or symbols filling them with prosperous and protective energies, and seal it with a prayer or chant.I also like to leave small things for my plants. This can range from anything from flower petals to special fertilizer that I've made them from organic plant matter.
Talking to your plants (sounds crazy I know) can also help you bond with your plants and become in-tune with their energies, helping to form a bond between you and your plants.
Why Make a Witch's Garden?
Gardening and tending for plants allows us to better understand them and their energies. It allows us to connect with them on a personal level and in so doing it allows us to understand how they work in rites of magic.
Every herb and plant has their own flavor, scent, texture, and growing habits. These can help us understand how to use the herbs and plants in our practices. They can easily tell you their magical uses by their flavor, texture, scent, and growing habits. Take the time to study and get to know your herb and see what they tell you. The more you work with them the easier it will be to understand them and how we can use them in magical practice and spells.
Lets look at garlic, for example. It is an herb that likes proper soil drainage and does well in full sun. It is a fiery herb and adds heat and spice to recipes that it is used in, when used for cooking. In much the same way, it can be used in spells that have similar associations.
Fire can be used for purification, releasing energies, etc. So, if we use a fiery herb like garlic, it can be used in spells for healing, protection, sending away negative energies, etc.
If we use an airy and light herb like lavender, we can use it in spells for soothing, peace, and relaxation.
Work with your plants, listen closely to what they tell you, and you'll slowly begin to better understand them and the magical resources they can offer you.