I love planting season. Starting seeds is about what we will have to eat this year, in some part, about beauty or medicine or flavor or mini environments and ecosystems, in the rest. It is also about creating systems that support plants growing in a way that they need to thrive.
I like the simplicity of plants. I like the complexity of plants. I like the chaos of plants. I like the order of plants. Plants create relationships and communicate with each other through chemicals released via rhizosphere and transported via soil fungi and through chemicals they release in the air. That is pretty amazing, isn't it? I like to think of plant communication more like our music and art than our speaking. As a synesthete, I see music as colors and wavelengths based on the tones and some sounds are perfect and clear colors along lines and others are more like sizzles or spots. Planting plants together that are together in the wild or that benefit one another makes me feel like they are experiencing a clear singular connection and do better together than alone. I imagine those threads of life under the soil creating this amazing network of life and microbia and electrical connections.
So when planting season gets underway, I feel like every plant that goes Into the ground Is an opportunity to create something not only nourishing, and beautiful, but also doing something underneath our feet that is improving and changing the very nature of what exists where we are right now. Every time we plant something, the soil, the insects, the earthworms, the chemical components and minerals change.
I am dreaming of sunshine and blue skies, warm sunshine, and green grass. But I am also dreaming of planting the plants In the ground. The trees, bushes, bulbs, food. The native plants In the woods and the prairie plants In the field. The food plants In the little beds, and the flowers around the fruit trees. Every plant is a step in creating a new soil and making things different from what we have and having the faith in plants to know what they will become - this summer, next fall, in 5 years, in 20 years, in 100.
I love driving through rural Wisconsin. You can tell where farmhouses used to be even in empty fields where no house stands anymore. Rows of lilacs all in the windbreak line, and the big wavy leaves of rhubarb. We leave something behind every time we put a plant into the ground, and we are changing things one way or another. Above and below. I wonder if someday someone will drive past my old abandoned house, and see a row of crooked and heavy laden fruit trees, and a woods lined with medicinal plants, and wonder who lived in that place. I hope my children stay here, though, and talk about the summer we planted that peach tree, or started that linden, or put that monarda into the soil. I wonder if my hair, my skin, my bits and pieces that come off me every day become a part of that plant that I touched and carefully put into that little hole.
We leave pieces of ourselves everywhere we go in our actions, our interactions. In our art and music and words. In our children. I am reminded of this every planting season as I dig a hole and plant each and very plant. Thousands of times I repeat - dig and plant. It makes me think of what I am trailing behind me in my wake every day, and if it is changing what is beneath for the better.
This is a work in progress as we update our seeds lists, plans for growing, and join a few trials to grow out new varieties for testing/research or seed purposes.
Click to view the google sheet in progress: docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VxLb230ck2eiWdeCArtXjtVbn7CPJJ7bd54zOjI-C-I/edit?usp=sharing
This winter, I decided to take a permaculture certification course to help me organize and expand Lunar Hollow. I have taken a class online via U of Oregon, and a free permaculture year class (https://www.permaculturewomen.com/)in the past, and wanted to move it up a level, and possibly even host educational events here to teach about what we do in addition to growing herbs.
One of the first projects is making a base map, so I spent awhile drawing and re-drawing our property. I have a few base maps, and then layers with terrain mapping, zone mapping, water and wind mapping, wildlife and external forces mapping, and more. I love this process, and working through what we have now, and then adding future plans and upgrades into that system. What I love about the good permaculture classes, is that is isn’t just about plants and soil. It is about using everything in your home and environment to better live in harmony with our environment, and also optimize and conserve energy and resources while doing so. The course I am in also looks to social currency and social permaculture, which if you know of my day to day work and life, is pretty much me. So, finding ways to also utilize resources and assets to contribute to the greater whole and community, is wonderful. I can’t wait to work through this and consciously review all of our big dreams like solar, rain irrigation systems, the bog garden, food and community herbalism, education, and sustainability (along with self-sufficiency).
This course also includes a permaculture mentor, and I selected a woman in the UP, who shares much of my regional climate. I plan to also include our dream plan in addition to the realistic plan, and see which I want to present for my final project. Some of our dream plan includes purchasing the two acres behind us (already zoned and plotted on their own) for additional land to grow more bulk herbs and have more animals, and of course to go fully solar. A solar powered herb drying shed is a dream, as is a commercial kitchen and outbuilding office/guest tiny house. Some are not likely to ever happen, some maybe we will see.
‘’it is a good time of year to start this, as I am planning the gardens for 2021, the seed starting schedule, and mapping where we are expanding.
So, these two sketches are my first two styles of base map. One is a rough sketchy style the other more saturated. These include primarily zones 0-4, with zone 5 outside of the main area here. I’m working on another master plan using the Permaculture template art so it will also have one version with the classic look for some of the future plans and versions as I work through them. I feel like I am off to a good start.
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, permaculturist, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two unschooled boys in south central Wisconsin.