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Alchemica

Healing through a community medicinal patch

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I thought I'd share here a project from last year that gave me hope and healing through a community garden and how such can positively impact mental health

 

I have to find more ways to do projects like this, it was the first thing in a long time that improved my mental health

 

Late last year was the first time I've achieved a longer-term personal goal in a very long time. It's hard for people to understand when the goal-oriented, sequential step-by-step organisation for a longer-term outcome part of your brain doesn't work properly just exactly how hard that is.

 

In doing that, I managed to take the desolate wasteland of illness and imbued some hope, meaning, purpose and contribution. That process is reflected in the garden pictures below.

 

It's taken me a long time to start re-investing the illness force, allegiance to the pain, back into healthy things. I had invested a lot of my super scattered ill energy at the community garden and got a medicinal garden out of it through trial and error

 

It helped me develop a special healing relationship with plants while so ill. The medicinal patch became a sacred healing space for me to start caring for my personal ecosystem and stay connected to the community.

 

I enjoyed the medicinal patch as growing things was intrinsically motivated and there was no rigidity to an outcome - any success was a win and boost to self-esteem, any failure no big deal

 

It provided some vital aspects

- something to care for beyond the self
- novelty and seeing things burst to life
- Trial and error approaches, without ANY expectation of outcomes other than giving things a go
- Celebrating any small outcome of success, not "meeting quotas"


Like my life... initially barren, empty, dry

760391927_medicinalpatch1.thumb.jpg.3adfe1f7f4fd47d7829eea43084e62be.jpg


Learning to rise from the darkness by growing seeds

 

medicinal.thumb.jpg.7a887a61c4bcd8959eb5e566b1acc2ee.jpg772201347_ashwagandhaseedlings.thumb.jpg.f08fe4f002d9bad24961c347d560ea64.jpg

 

First glimmers of light

 

preparation.thumb.jpg.6f15d2fd6b663068a916f9142cba3814.jpg353364997_startingup.thumb.jpg.3812301774a6190348ce82c8e2141da8.jpg

 

Growth

 

growth.thumb.jpg.55e53ee8eea7496663d887643d633a6e.jpg

 

Coming to bloom

 

californian.thumb.jpg.681e737560d415f108a0c890346252ae.jpgchamomile.thumb.jpg.a239f632b08176bbf58bf0119290d8b0.jpg26800756_ladybirds2.thumb.jpg.33e4629d422a5cab9a0bc3ad1752bd6d.jpg1421988521_medicinalpatchladybirds.thumb.jpg.87f4731877bc1407aab19ef852c7896d.jpg64466952_inbloom.thumb.jpg.4198576cd5cabd90cd3224ded8671548.jpg

 

Returning full circle.

seeds.thumb.jpg.327dd6b2cc0b8cb043a0aafb2091e8cd.jpg

 


My lessons in attempting a medicinal patch despite being functionally very impaired:

 

It's very different going from pots and home gardening and buying lots of plants to community garden plot planting from seed. Particularly going essentially solo and with severe functional impairments.

 

1. Start simple and get simple happening in the plot first before you go in anyway complicated. If the world of herbal medicinal plants too over enthuses you, pick just a few functional plants to fill a patch initially. Get a feel for it as you go and up your commitment as you see how things fare

2. You'll need so much time if you're starting from seed vs the rapid growth expected from conventional veggie gardening and faster plants etc. Some are slow projects from seed. White Sage, Dan Shen etc

3. Be patient for the seasons. Jumping in early even with a heat mat and greenhouse can just cause issues.

4. Work out weed control and watering options for warm months. For me, despite thinking I got all the soil 'good enough' prepared, weeds were problematic

 

Edited by Alchemica
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What a wonderful write up - thanks @Alchemica

I'd love to start a medicinal patch in my community one day. Do you need to get permission from your local council to start planting?

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There was space at a local community garden that was unused and unloved that was kindly offered. I'd suggest utilising local community garden land if it is at all available, sure keep the plants community friendly but you'd be surprised, often these community gardens are up for something people are enthused about beyond the normal food

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