2003 Herbal Almanacby Llewellyn, Michael Fallon (Editor)
Powerful, wild, and magical, herbs are among nature's most versatile plants. This bountiful guide will help you gain prowess in the herbal arts with herb lore from many cultures, and tips on growing and gathering herbs. You'll also learn how to use the potent energy of herbs for natural health and beauty, and in cooking,/b>
Become Skilled in the Herbal Arts
Powerful, wild, and magical, herbs are among nature's most versatile plants. This bountiful guide will help you gain prowess in the herbal arts with herb lore from many cultures, and tips on growing and gathering herbs. You'll also learn how to use the potent energy of herbs for natural health and beauty, and in cooking, crafts, and magic.
With more articles from nationally recognized herbalists than ever before, Llewellyn's 2003 Herbal Almanac presents time-honored traditions and fresh ideas for cultivating and practicing herbal wisdom. Featuring over 30 articles, including:
·The Magic of the Pansy by Scott Appell
·Wild Edibles by Roberta Burns
·Native American Herbal Healing Ways by Marguerite Elsbeth
·Herbal Aphrodisiacs by Feather Jones
·Making Herbal Papers by Leena Keefer
·Good Health the Chinese Way by Xingwu Liu
·Landscaping with Threatened Plants by Paul Neidhart
·Alchemy in the Kitchen by Jonathan Keyes
·Pitcher Plant Lore by S. Y. Zenith
·Ashwagandha: India's Superb Tonic by Kevin Spelman
Read an Excerpt
A Guide to Composting
in the Herb Garden
By Chandra Moira Beal
There are many reasons to try compostingnot least of which is that compost is nature's way of recycling, and therefore is a natural way to protect the planet.
Compost is the end product of a biological process that turns organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil conditioner. In your own life, composting is a practical and convenient way to handle organic kitchen waste and to return organic matter to the soil. Composting saves landfill space and reduces the cost of collecting and recycling wastes. It also helps to neutralize the acidity and alkalinity of soil, improves its texture, and protects land from erosion and temperature extremes.
How Compost Works
Organic matter contains carbon and nitrogen as basic building blocks. Plants need these building blocks in the soil to grow. And when organic matter decomposes, carbon and nitrogen are released. That is, a team of microbes and bacteria break down organic matter, and release the two elements from plant cells.
Composting begins when you toss a bucket of kitchen scraps into a heap. A mass of good compost will break down naturally into a mass of the basic elements carbon and nitrogen. Later, other life forms such as fungi, protozoans, worms, and beetles take a turn in breaking down organic matter into compost. When the compost is added to the soil, its nitrogen and carbon feed the plant cells, and thus a natural circle is completed.
Where to Begin
There are many different methods for composting. Creating a good compost can be as simple as building a pile of scraps on the ground in a corner of the yard or an elaborate system of bins.
A particularly easy and inexpensive method that I recommends begins by collecting five wooden pallets of equal size. These can often be found behind grocery stores and restaurants, discarded. Most folks will be glad to see you take them off their hands, but just to be sure always ask permission before hauling them away.
Next, pick a shady and well-drained spot, and place one of the pallets on the ground. Arrange the other four around to make four walls, then tie the pallets together with wire, rope, or clothesline. Leave the ties on one wall loose so you can fold it down for easy access.
In time, the bottom pallet will decay and should be replaced. This type of compost bin can be built in less than an hour and is portable if you need to move it to another spot in the yard. Cinderblocks can be substituted for pallets and stacked to create a custom bin. Another simple method is to position hardware cloth or chicken wire in a circle and secure the ends together. The key in a good compost bin is to make sure there is a good amount of air circulating through the pile.
Maintaining the Compost
Good compost is dark and has a sweet smell like freshly turned earth. It can take six months to two years for material to decompose fully and be ready to use on gardens and house plants, so be patient. Try to maintain a balance of nitrogen-rich materials (fresh green plant material), and carbon-rich materials (dried cuttings from your lawn, leaves, wood, ashes, shredded paper), or your compost will be smelly and unhealthy.
Compost needs air to break down, so turn the pile often to expose the layers. The more surface area there is, the faster your scraps will decompose. Picture an ice cube melting in the Sun, and you'll get the idea.
Chop materials into short pieces with a shovel or machete; long branches and twigs will take too long to break down, so leave them out. The compost should be as moist as a wrung-out sponge. The inside of the pile will generate heat and therefore kill weed seeds, insect eggs, and disease-carrying organisms.
Although some composting systems can get quite elaborate, the process itself is very simple. If you keep the pile moist and turn it often, nature will do all the work for you. And you get to enjoy the results!
Useful Materials for Composting
Kitchen waste (fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, corn cobs)
Human and pet hair
Vacuum bag contents (dust, hair, lint)
Lawn clippings, leaves, miscellaneous plant waste, bark, wood shavings, hay
Newspaper, shredded office paper (whole pieces will take too long to break down)
Rabbit manure, urine
Materials Not Good for Composting
Human, cat, or dog feces
Cheese and other dairy products
Fats and oils (salad dressing, cooking oil)
For Further Study
Let It Rot!: The gardener's guide to composting. Stu Campbell. Storey Publications, 1998.
Mother Nature's Herbal. Judy Griffin, Ph.D. Llewellyn Publications, 1997.
The Rodale Book of Composting. Deborah L. Martin and Grace Gershuny, editors. Rodale Press, 1992.
Worms Eat My Garbage. Mary Applehof. Flower Press, 1982.
Excerpted from Llewellyn's Herbal Almanac 2002 by . Copyright © 2001 by Llewellyn Worldwide. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Meet the Author
Llewellyn Publications has grown and expanded into new areas of personal growth and transformation since it began as the Portland School of Astrology in 1901. Along with the strong line of astrology books the company was founded upon, Llewellyn publishes books on everything from alternative health and healing, Wicca and Paganism, to metaphysics and the paranormal-and since 1994 has published a growing list of Spanish-language titles.
Llewellyn has long been know as one of America's leading publishers of New Age books, producing a wide variety of valuable tools for transformation of the mind, body and spirit. Reach for the Moon-and discover that self-help and spiritual growth is what Llewellyn is all about.
Marguerite Elsbeth (New Mexico) has facilitated shamanic healing and ritual groups, is a hereditary Strega, and is also exploring her ancestral ties to the Delaware Indian culture. She has personally experienced crystal healing at the hands of a Shoshone medicine man and uses crystals in her own healing work.
Deborah Harding (Ohio) began gardening alongside her parents when she was just able to walk. She writes articles on herbal concerns for magazines and web-zines, and gives lectures and workshops on growing herbs and using them in cosmetics and cooking. She frequently appears on a talk radio show to discuss herbs and cooking.
Edain became a self-initiated Witch in 1981 and has been an active part of the Pagan community since her formal initiation into a large San Antonio coven in 1983. Edain has researched alternative spiritualities since her teens, when she was first introduced to Kaballah, or Jewish mysticism. Since that time, she has studied a variety of magickal paths including Celtic, Appalachian folk magick, and Curanderismo, a Mexican-American folk tradition. Today, Edain is part of the Wittan Irish Pagan tradition, where she is a priestess of Brighid and an elder.
An alumnus of the University of Texas with a BA in history, she is affiliated with several professional writer's organizations and occasionally presents workshops on magickal topics or works individually with students who wish to study Witchcraft.
This former woodwind player for the Lynchburg (VA) Symphony claims both the infamous feuding McCoy family of Kentucky and Sir Roger Williams, the seventeeth-century religious dissenter, as branches on her ethnically diverse family tree. In her "real life," Edain works as a licensed stockbroker.
Edain is the author of fifteen books, including Bewitchments; Enchantments; and her most recent release, Ostara: Customs, Spells & Rituals for the Rites of Spring.
Ellen Dugan is the award-winning author of fifteen books, and is known as the "Garden Witch". A psychic-clairvoyant, she has been a practicing Witch for over thirty years. Well known for her candor and humor, she is a Master Gardener, and is the High Priestess of her Coven in the St. Louis area. Ellen teaches classes both online and across the country on Witchery, Psychic Protection, and Magick. She has contributed articles for over twelve years to Llewellyn's Magical Almanac, Witches Datebook, Sabbat Almanac, and Witches Calendar.
Ellen's popular magickal books have been translated into over ten foreign languages. When she's not working on her next book project, or keeping up with her family (the kids are out on their own, and the youngest is in Graduate school), Ellen likes to unwind by working in her perennial gardens at home with her husband of 31 years. Ellen wholeheartedly encourages folks to reclaim their personal power and to personalize their Spell-craft. To go outside and connect with the spiritual side of nature. To get their hands dirty and discover the wonder and magick of natural world that surrounds them.
Visit her popular syndicated "Blog of Witchery" at www.ellendugan.blogspot.com
You can visit her website at www.ellendugan.com
Stephanie Rose Bird is a hereditary intuitive, contemporary rootworker, solitary green witch and visionary. She has been involved with mysticism, symbology, spiritualism and the occult for thirty years. Bird is inspired by her ancestors, in particular her grandmothers, one of which was a psychic and the other a spiritualist minister and herbal healer. Her uncle, a Santeria priest, Babalawo of Shango, taught her the Ifa traditions of the Yoruba people. Bird studies healing, magical and divination traditions of indigenous people around the world with a focus on Africa. Her passions include keeping the ancient traditions alive and updating them so that they evolve with us, suiting our current environment and lifestyles. She is a member of the American Folklore Soceity, the Herb Research Foundation and the Handcrafted Soap Maker's Guild.
Bird holds a BFA cum laude from Temple University and an MFA from UC San Diego, and has received multiple academic awards. Bird was an assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1986-2002. Bird is active advising masters' and doctoral candidates, giving lectures, conducting goddess rituals, and writing for numerous publications. Visit Stephanie's webpage at http://www.stephanierosebird.com/.
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