I am so blessed to have a hubby who not only takes an interest in my herb garden, but he has so much knowledge about cultivating and managing soil. Because of his continual commitment to that goal, my garden is flourishing. ??
Four years ago, the entire area was a graveled parking lot, and now it houses almost 100 plants. I know that sounds almost impossible, but unlike many gardeners I cheer when I see a crop of cleavers, dandelion, plantain and violas pop up in places they never grew before. I consider those free medicine! They grew and I didn’t have to do a thing, AND I don’t have to go further than my garden to gather them. What a gift!
The story of my herb garden
This is where we put my herb garden. You can see it’s all gravel, plus you get to see a baby moose ?
When we first created my garden, we hauled in topsoil, and it was completely dead. By “dead” I mean there were no microbes, no worms, no life.
We knew we’d need to feed the soil and get it hopping with all those things in order for my plants to thrive.
We began by taking rabbit manure and layering it in as we added topsoil. You can’t do that with all manures, but since rabbit manure is considered a “cold” manure (meaning it’s unlikely to burn plants as it decomposes) it’s one that you can use straight .
After we had the entire place covered in topsoil/rabbit manure, we immediately threw out a cover crop of white clover. White clover is a nitrogen fixer and can easily be tilled under the soil to add nutrients. Sean then began adding additional rabbit manure as well as a comfrey fertilizer “tea” that he made himself. We added these things almost every week. We didn’t drench it, but we added it, little by little. Finally, we planted a few trees and herbs then topped it with about 4″ of mulch to get things going.
Another really great addition that was added was duck dropping fertilizer. This happened because one of our ducks was injured and needed a safe place to recover. We chose my herb garden and we put a small kiddie pool in there for him to have water access. I would take buckets of the water, which was now clouded with duck manure a couple of times a week and pour that liquid gold all over my garden. When the pool was nearly empty, I dumped the last bit in the area that the pool was sitting and refilled the pool.
What happened the next year?
The area where the pool had been grew some of the BIGGEST plantain I’d ever seen. The cramp bark was booming, and the other plants in the area were going crazy. It was amazing. That last little bit of duck manure that was dumped managed to nourish that area tremendously. When I pulled back the mulch, we could see tiny white trails of mycorrhiza and worms squirming all over. It was incredible!
Since that first year, things have continued to grow exponentially. 2020 was the garden’s fourth year, and honestly, I’ve had a tough time keeping up with it this summer. I also missed having in-person herbal students who would help me by harvesting some herbs for themselves.
One of the major contributors to the garden’s success has been the comfrey tea Sean makes. Does it smell good? UHHHH NO! Frankly, it smells disgusting, so I don’t let him put it in my garden if guests are coming over that day! ?
Growing comfrey is a simple addition to any garden. We strongly believe that it should be your goal to reduce dependence on commercial products in your gardens as much as possible. It saves money and recycles your “waste!” Comfrey can be used to make a fertilizer tea or as a “chop and drop,” PLUS it is great medicine!
Enjoy this how-to video from Sean on how to make your own fertilizer teas. Also, don’t forget that we offer an amazing course on Permaculture, Plant Propagation & Cultivation either as a stand-alone course or included in our bundles: “The Prepared Homestead Bundle” or “Cultivating Herbs Bundle” available here.