As a Celtic Pagan, I celebrate the summer harvest of Lughnasadh every year. This year it’s even more special because of my raised bed garden. Earlier this month I posted an article I wrote about my garden. You can read about it here.
Lughnasadh is a Gaelic festival that occurs on August 1st of every year. Roughly halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox. It marks the beginning of the harvest season. In Ireland Lughnasadh is an official holiday.
When I planned my garden earlier this year I decided half of it would be a “three sisters” garden. It was originally planted by that way by Native Americans to maximize their production using minimal space. Basically put it’s corn, pole beans and squash.
First the corn is planted. When the corn plants gets about a foot or so tall, the pole beans are planted. For the corn I planted hybrid popcorn. When dried I can have popcorn this winter. As the beans grow they climb up on the corn plants. After that the squash is planted, many times in hills. That’s what I did by planting acorn squash. The squash leaves crowd out the weeds and offer protection from the sun to keep everything moist.
Of course trying to fit everything I wanted in a four foot by eight foot garden had its special challenges. The first was whether corn would work well in a raised bed garden. The answer to that is that it did and does work much better than I thought it would. Another challenge was whether the three sisters planting would co-exist with the rest of my space. So far it has worked out better than I thought it would.
I decided to use the other half of my garden for small vegetables and some herbs. On the outside I planted radishes in two rows on the end with carrots and green onions on the sides. So far I’ve harvested three pickings of radishes, with a fourth coming in another week. I also planted beets and Swiss Chard. Last week I harvested a huge amount of beets and a fair amount of Swiss Chard!
Herbs. For the herb part of the garden I planted Lemon Balm, Echinacea, Comfrey, and Mint. Later I thought, well, it’s growing much better than I thought it would. Like I mentioned in my other article, there is a lot of organic compost in my garden. Along with organic fertilizer. Did growing these herbs exceed my expectations?
Oh yes, they sure did! So far they haven’t infringed on my 3 sisters planting and vice versa. I know that IF the herbs do, I’ll try to manage them better than I’m doing right now. So far I’ve been using the lemon balm and mint in cold teas. I’ve been giving some of each to my friends for them to enjoy as well.
Adding them to our village’s drinking water in a container in my fridge is wonderful. When I go outside to work in the garden I take an insulated jug with me. Yummy and so satisfying.
I’m already planning my garden for next year from lessons I’ve learned this year. Realistically my goal should be to use more, if not all, of the garden for my herbs. By expanding it with Thyme, Basil, Sage, and Rosemary. I might even try and grow Mugwort again like I’ve done before. Another option is to split my Yarrow plant that I have had indoors for many years and put half of it in the garden.
I’m very happy that my garden has been doing so well. And by taking photos usually twice a week, I have a pictorial data base for my planning next year. Guess I’ll see where it all goes, sometime, somewhere…in the future! Blessed Be!