we are gardeners at heart… “we do it for love”…for art, therapy, for fresh air & for exercise, for the food we eat & it’s where we gather w friends & family…so much happens in our gardens & what we share is based on our many years of observation, practice, deep care for the earth beneath our feet…
gardening has always been a love for me & kalen too…i was raised in the garden on an organic/biodynamic farm in SD & gardening was always something i did. hands in the earth. & what made me feel at home. here is one of my first herbal medicine gardens i created about 20 years ago in San Diego, on my family’s farm…the center of it is lemon verbena & in the shape of a heart…
plant what you love
so then…when when k & i first started gardening together in 2018 a wise woman (our aunt Deb) who’s been gardening for over 35 years here on kaua’i reminded us to plant what we love. lots of kale!:) it’s true we both do love kale & we have grown a ton over the years…anyway, we took this to heart because we both know from many years of experience on our own that gardening can be a lot work.
so we sat many mornings talking about what we both love to eat & drink & how our garden could feed us & those around us & provide sanctuary. we talked about tending to this land in a slow, thoughtful & caring way…unlike the crazed forced agro-culture of pineapple & sugarcane days. we also didn’t want to introduce any plants that could become out of control invasive.
we talked about food as medicine & creating a beautiful sanctuary of food plants, herbs, flowers, textures, colors, aromas…and then we began to plant…and in awe we’ve watched our gardens grow & grow…
beliw is a pic from 2018 when we first began & the following pic is more recent.
one of the first things we planted was lemongrass. our first tiny clump of lemongrass came from Waipa…mahalo!!! kalen lived, volunteered & helped run Waipa for over 10 years. he helped make poi for the community & even today our house is still a poi pickup spot.
so our Waipa lemongrass…it has now grown into 100’s & 100’s…& that is amazing because it is truly an amazing plant that we both love so much…for its beauty, for food & medicine.
we also found out right away that wild chickens hate it…won’t go near it…so we began planting them all around our gardens to help keep them out. and it works!
we also found out lemongrass pulls toxins from the earth wherever it is planted, helping cleanse it & the air around it. and it does the same for our bodies. and because of it’s citrusy smell it also helps repel mosquitoes!
it’s a gift that keeps on giving…we have also gifted so many plants to friends around the island to help spread the lemongrass love.
and we always have some to share so please give us a ring if you want some!!!
we are alchemists, naturally… we try to not heavily disturb the soil because we know how harmful that can be & we do not use chemicals. we are always making natural teas, whether it’s for us, our guests or our plants. this tea is from comfrey. this is a compost tea which provides a rich nutrient boost. and after spreading it around our gardens, we definitely noticed our plants get perky.
it is made similar to sun tea…place plant matter (here we used leaf, stem, flowers…) in jars with water & let it steep until it goes past the stinky phase & becomes a rich dark tea. then strain, dilute it with water & let your plants have a sip.
“weeds” are just plants growing where you don’t want them to grow…and some of them have amazing medicinal qualities & taste good too!! since i was a little girl i was encouraged to eat “weeds”…i grew fond of foraging & would encourage my friends to too. i’d collect & make all kinds of concoctions & then as a teen i studied herbology & would make tonics & tinctures from the plants i foraged & grew. i even serve “wild” greens salads to many of my clients, & make sauces & teas w them.
here are a few “weeds” we let grow wild in our gardens…‘uhaloa, gotu kola, purslane, blue vervain, plantain, tobacco, damiana, tulsi, wild oregano, ashwagandha, noni, aloe, chanca piedra, dandelion, pua kala, uala, kupukupu, oxalis/clovers ‘ihi, comfrey, mullen, moringa, neem, ti, olena, papaya…