Rosemary benefits and uses and requirements

“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember”
William Shakespeare

Want to increase your memory by 75%? A series of tests have shown this is possible by smelling the essential oil of rosemary daily. Memory improvement is at the top of the list when we discuss Rosemary benefits and uses.
Mental alertness and long-term memory is boosted by sniffing this herb and it is also nowadays used for migraines and digestive issues. The memory benefits have been mentioned as far back as in Hamlet when Ophelia declares: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember”.

Rosemary contains an ingredient called carnosic acid, which can fight off damage by free radicals in the brain and 1,8-cineole a compound that has been linked to memory function. ***Please note: Pregnant women and users of chronic medication should always check with their health practitioners before taking any supplements or natural treatments and epilepsy sufferers should take caution with camphor dosages.

Rosemary benefits and uses include: good sources of iron, calcium, vitamin B-6 and is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation, alleviate muscle pain, improve memory as mentioned and even promote hair growth.

Growing requirements:
Well-draining, sandy soil and a sunny spot outside, or a brightly lit indoors space, is ideal for this perennial evergreen. Terracotta pots are perfect as it let excess water out and Rosemary’s do prefer drier conditions above constantly moist roots. Your rosemary plant prefers you to always let the soil dry out in-between thorough watering. Wind or drafts are not loved. Trimming the tips regularly (for cooking or finger-crushing for sniffing) will cause your plant to grow bushier. Always cut above a leaf node and never take more than a 1/3 of the stem.
Propagation through cuttings are easier than most plants. Soft stem cuttings, of about 10cm, that are placed to stand in water, will have roots within 2 weeks.

What are Hugelkultur beds and why are they popular?

The short answer to what are hugelkultur beds: Hügelkultur is a technique where a mound is created by placing wood in the shape and size of your desired growing bed. Eventually decaying wood debris and other compostable biomass plant materials is planted as a raised bed and this is an environment fit for plants to thrive in for years..

Due to our very sandy soil situation here next to the coast and not always having wood available, I pondered the question of what are hugelkultur beds on single plant scale and also started incorporating hugelkultur on a smaller scale for when I want to plant individual shrubs or trees.

– Water the space where you intend to plant.
– Find woody weeds, pruned sticks and branches plus kitchen waste. Position these to form a bowl by first laying down your base cover. Build a “dam” wall with the rest. Keep going to above the height of your plant’s root ball.
– Fill the bottom of your “bowl” with a mix of compost and potting soil plus a small amount of bone, or blood meal.
– Test your plant’s height and when you are happy proceed with planting as you would into a container.
– Finally, add a sheet or 2 of newspaper over the top and around, followed by 5 cm (2 – 3 inches) layer of mulch.
– Water well.
(- I add a handful of organic fertilizer to these planting pockets so that my plant can get all the nitrogen it needs, regardless of the wood chips I use)

The benefits have been obvious and plentiful. My trees are never dry, or water-logged, and mostly only gets their water from rain. Due to the mound, it also never gets waterlogged as the shape runs extra water down to the ground level where it can penetrate the soil further down and still be accessible for uptake.

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To understand what are hugelkultur beds one must understand the properties and nature of wood. Decayed wood turns into nutrient-rich, moisture retaining soill. Building beds to incorporate wood is a brilliant abd long-lasting soil improver.
For small gardens or single plants, copy the shape and principles of a bird’s nest. Photo by Sarath C M on Unsplash

Closed loop system garden is pure logic

Nature recycles organic matter and nutrients back into the same soil and thus boosts sustainable and regenerative environments.

Keep it all in the family with a closed loop system garden. Providing food and habitat for insects create a barter system in which they offer pollination and pest control part of the deal.

When you look at an untouched environment, you will see closed loop system garden, or environment systems, in action. Nature recycles organic matter and nutrients back into the same soil and thus boosts sustainable and regenerative environments. When farming or gardening, this method is gold as you preserve nutrients and carbon levels within the soil.

In closed loop system gardens, the following will be included:

  • Chop and drop de-weeding practices return the nutrients to your soil that the weeds took. By leaving the weeds on the soil surface, you are also adding a protective mulch layer and thus protecting the soil from UV rays plus improving water retention.
  • Always keep and use pruned materials such as twigs and branches for other uses. Bigger material like branches can be stacked to create raised beds in a Hugelkultur method. Twigs can be placed in a basket-shape around seedlings to provide much needed wind and sun protection.
  • Fallen leaves can be raked up and used as a wonderful mulch in vegetable gardens, flower beds and around bigger plants as they (when brown) are high in carbon. Or instead of raking, use a lawn mower with a bagging attachment to shred and collect leaves fast. A 6cm layer of shredded leaves is perfect to discourage future weed-growth but make sure the soil that is already weeded though!
  • Grass clippings can occasionally be used as mulch too, as they are nitrogen-rich, an especially great choice for vegetable gardens.
  • Look at your space and how water acts when it rains and consider planting alongside swales as they are wonderful water-directing and retaining solutions. Swayles are a fantastic and important step intothe world of closedloop systems garden. Material from your garden can be used to fill the swales, such as rocks removed from your soil, prune clippings and rotten wood.
  • Build habitats from unwanted garden material by leaving heaps of twigs, for example, against a tree trunk. This will provide much-needed protection for certain wildlife while also helping the soil retain water. Stacking rocks and twigs together to form a beneficial insect hotel is another great idea.
  • If your garden is also your own food source, all kitchen waste can be buried in shallow trenches. Incorporate paper and some. compost or comfrey leaves to activate decomposition. This method ensures constant soil food, free of charge.
  • Chickens are often in the closed loop system garden as they will turn your unwanted green matter into manure which will in turn be the best addition for your compost heap. They are also excellent pest-control and will reward you with the best eggs
  • Aquaponics = fish and plants. This method is incredibly successful and edibles grown this way are typically nutrient dense.
In a closed loopsystem garden, a you smile, I smile attitude wins – where everyone wins. Insect hotels provide habitats to creatures whose greatest challenges include where to stay. On our side, they offer free labor. A win-win situation.

In short, a closed loop system garden are also called “zero-waste farming. Look at everything and the space around you and ask yourself what you can do if you were not going to spend a penny. You will be surprised at all the solutions waiting to be used around you.

Swales are easy methods to harvest and retain water. Gardens that include this water-savvy method, just about need no additional irrigation.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!

Make good soil easily – your plants will love you.

Grow good soil to grow great gardens.

The basics of creating a healthy eco-system and growing space, starts with an understanding of the relationship between living organisms and their natural environment. Make good soil easily and growing healthy plants will be easy too.

Grow soil consciously and watch your plants grow easily.

To make good soil easily, the first step is that soil must always be covered because, like humans and animals, we need shelter from the sun and weather in order to be full of life. Cover with living plants or with mulch such as hay, leaves or wood chips.
Conventional (modern) farming on the other hand, depletes the soil through planting a one-time annual (usually mono) crop, season after season, and therefore fertilizer ($$$) must be added.

Good loam will let water through, faster and deeper to root level, retain moisture longer while promoting and transporting plant food easily.
Good soil is instantly recognizable by its deep colour and crumbly texture.

Change dead soil to living gold:
-Add a thick mulch layer yearly. This will help your plant roots to stay cool, water to reach the roots and stay moist but not drenched. Beneficial soil fungi and bacteria absolutely needs this protective layer to survive and thrive.

  • Plant a green crop or manure (such as beans or peanuts). You can improve your soil’s nitrogen due to the legume plants’ capability to take atmospheric nitrogen and fixes it through (Rhizobia) bacteria in their root systems. After dying off, the same plants become mulch and the nitrogen is released for new plants to use. This is especially beneficial when nitrogen is needed due to the wood chips (more about that later). You will find added benefits in that it prevents moisture evaporation while also improving water retention. Break up hard clay soil by planting deep rooting plants to break it up such as radish, parsnip, dandelion and comfrey.

Where to start?
When you want to prepare a bed-space, start with cardboard (cleaned from glue and tape) as your first layer, follow with layers of shredded brown (sticks and wood) and green mulch (soft stems and foliage), then compost, minimal water and finally mulch again. Cardboard increases carbon-to-nitrogen ratio which helps speed up the soil-creating process.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!

Back to Eden Gardening informally

Think different and make lasting changes.

In back to Eden gardening, growing food based in natural principles is the way forward for our planet’s and it’s people’s health. Respect nature, copy its ways and let it happen.

Hello Gardening Friends, what is growing on your side? I have swung 180 degrees from a horticulture to back to Eden gardening permaculture gardening angle. (Perma refers to permanent.)

Cool, but what does that mean and why tell us, you ask.

Healing, thriving and surviving, whether for the individual or planet, depends on us to

  • understand nature;
  • respect nature;
  • copy nature is the simple most important aspect of back to Eden gardening;
  • provide a habitat and eco-system that includes, protects and promotes;
  • grow nutrient rich, healthy foods.

By ignoring the natural cycle, and trying to synthesize and control mother Nature, we have created a loose-loose situation where we have to

  • work hard the whole time;
  • manage a system that excludes, sterilizes, fakes and kills – a costly process;
  • loose soil, and our own health due to poor nutrient density.

When we lean towards back to Eden gardening, Mother Nature offers her services free of charge. Every challenge you may imagine, has a natural and easy solution.
When you focus on plant diversity and companion planting, soil building through layering, excluding digging/tilling and providing biomass, nature will do absolutely everything else for free. Bees and butterflies, beneficial bacteria and fungi all come together to work for you – happily so. They are the experts and they exist only to play their roles. Our jobs are not to sterilize and control, but to develop and provide (for) healthy ecosystems.

We will discuss permaculture methods and share our successes and challenges, tips and stories in our quest to grow a garden in Eden.

Gabe Brown summed it up wonderfully for me:
“If you want to change in a small way – do big things;
if you want to change in a big way – think different”

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!