Saturday, January 31, 2009

Spiral Herb Bed is in the Works at the Urban Fair Share Garden

I am blessed to have been bestowed the title of Herbal Specialist at the new Urban Fair Share Garden in Daytona Beach. This spiral bed that we built over the last two Saturdays is destined to become a community herbal demonstration garden. Joel Tippens, coordinator of the Fair Share project, in his brilliance laid out the initial spiral last week, digging into the ground and upturning soil, then covering the it with leaves and partially composted manure. We further mulched with bagged leaves throughout the inner pathway of the spiral and around the perimeter of the spiral. Today we covered the spiral with coffee grounds from Starbucks. I just learned today that Starbucks offers their spent coffee grounds through their Grounds for your Garden Program. Stop in and grab some coffee grounds and run! For the final layer of the spiral, my helpers and I added a thick layer of dark soil all the way around.

Now I'm dreaming and planning what herbs to put in this lovely bed. Joel has asked me to lead one or more herbal classes at the garden. I'm so excited to plan this the garden with a mind to using it as a teaching aid. Right now I'm thinking about Lemongrass in the center, an excellent herb for preventing or treating colds, an important herb for supporting persons with AIDS in the tropics. However, for the center of the spiral, I haven't ruled out an exceptional tree such as the very healing and nourishing Moringa oleifera. Mugwort (Artemesia argii), Yarrow, Oregano, and Holy Basil (Vana tulsi) herbs, extremely useful herbs I have growing strongly and with relatively little care in my own yard and will surely take some to the spiral. Purslane and Plantain will be there to demonstrate that they are more than just common weeds, they are also nourishing and healing herbs. Rosemary are Sage are a must with their culinary and therapeutic attributes. Parsley with it's varied uses would make another great addition. Comfrey, the ultimate herb for green compost, is a good candidate, however it does not like the hot sun so much as other herbs. If it is too hot for Comfrey, then Rose Geranium will certainly flourish. This is going to be so fun! Maybe some Hawaiian Ginger will find it's way in as well.

The spiral bed is just one of the demonstration areas that we have built.
These gardens will provide food for low-income households in need. We will also be providing people with the space for growing fresh food and herbs for themselves. Karen Washington says "To grow your own food gives you a sort of power and it gives you dignity. Your know exactly what you're eating because you grew it. It's good, it's nourishing and you did this for yourself, your family and your community." This also applies when you grow herbs as medicine to heal yourself, your family and your community.

If you live in Daytona please join us or donate some tools, bird houses, benches, young fruit trees, etc. We meet every Saturday, and new weekday work parties will be starting up soon. Visit our groups meet up page: http://www.meetup.com/Fair-Share-Urban-Garden-Project/
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