During Autumn, when the leaves begin to fall, flowers wilt and the general energy of the earth turns inwards, a nice way to stay connected to your garden is to focus on creating beautiful soil that will make plants thrive come Spring time.
For this potion we will be following the natural flow of decomposition as it occurs in nature. As things die off, like leaves, wood, flowers etc. microbes, fungi and bugs break down the fibres in each of these things, releasing potent soil nutrients which make for fertile soil - something any gardener will pay good money for!
This decomposition process requires 4 main ingredients: CARBON + NITROGEN + MOISTURE + AIR
A little confused about what this means? Let's create our potion and you'll see what we mean.
A nice way to start your soil potion creating is to treat it as a little communion ceremony with nature. Taking a moment to connect with nature and the energy it is providing you with at this time.
Take your shoes off, get your bare feet on the earth. Breathe in the air around you. Notice all the plants and creatures that you can see.
You might even like to open your ceremony by saying a little prayer or saying hello to all the plants and beings around you. Whatever feels most intuitive & helps you connect with the energy of your little spot in nature.
We will now follow a process of layering NITROGEN and CARBON like a lasagne. These two magical ingredients work like two parts in a complete machine. They both need each other to keep the earth in balance.
1. Sticks and Bark: Begin with your first layer being small sticks or pieces of bark. Forage your backyard or local area for some sticks. Place these in the bottom of the bowl. These sticks provide the foundation for your soil, they also allow for air and life force to to breathe into your potion. (carbon layer)
2. Manure or Coffee Grounds. If you have animals who eat only plants (i.e. chickens) at home use their manure. Otherwise go for a drive around to your local roadside stands that have chicken, horse, cow, sheep manure that's full of nutrients.
Alternatively use any coffee grinds from your French press, or ask your local cafe if you can use their grounds. It is best if their coffee is organic but anything is great.
This step is a wonderful way to use nutrient rich waste products for good!
Contemplation: Whilst manure doesn't always smell the best, it offers such amazing benefits to the health of new soil.
What areas of your life right now are hard or a little intolerable?
Consider that maybe they have a positive benefit at the same time, if so, what would this be?
3. Autumn Leaves. Layer a handful of dried leaves down int your potion. You may have collected a lot during this time, especially if you have deciduous trees in your garden, so now you have a place for them.
Here is some beautiful wisdom about the leaf by Thich Naht Hanh that you might like to consider.
“I asked the leaf whether it was frightened because it was autumn and the other leaves were falling.
The leaf told me,“No. During the whole spring and summer I was completely alive. I worked hard to help nourish the tree, and now much of me is in the tree. I am not limited by this form. I am also the whole tree, and when I go back to the soil, I will continue to nourish the tree. So I don’t worry at all. As I leave this
branch and float to the ground, I will wave to the tree and tell her, ‘I will see you again very soon.’
4. Green leaves and Flowers. Now for an infusion of colour with some green leaves, maybe grass clippings or flowers that have wilted in the vase. I love to consider the energy that each of these objects has in them. (nitrogen layer)
See if you can choose different shaped leaves or different coloured flowers to represent each chakra.
5. Straw or Hay. Otherwise Shredded Newspaper or Brown Paper Bags. Another carbon layer that is lighter and that allows for air to move through.
If you don't have straw or dried grass, shred up a handful of paper & sprinkle on this layer
Then add a splash of water to ensure your potion is moist. This is key.
Moisture is essential for the compost process to hydrate all the microbes that are soon to be breaking down each layer.
You also want to avoid too much water. Just enough that it is damp, not soaking.
6. Soil or Compost: Finally, top it off with some nutrient rich compost or soil (from your own compost bin or garden if you have it).
If you want to, you can plant some seedlings in the top of this, and over time the rest will break down.
Otherwise, use this as a RECIPE for creating compost, or good quality soil in any garden bed.
RECIPE IN DETAIL
What you will Need:
Carbon Rich Materials: The brown (dead) materials including: sticks, hay, newspaper, cardboard, unused tissues and napkins, dried leaves, bark, pine needles,
Nitrogen Rich Materials: The green (alive) materials) including: fruit & veg scraps, manure, compost, coffee grounds, flowers, green leaves, weeds, grass.
Start with a layer of carbon rich materials that will take the longest to break down (i.e sticks/bark)
Then layer on nitrogen rich materials. Ensuring a ratio of 2 parts Carbon to 1 part nitrogen
Repeat cycle for atleast 4 layers
Where layers are dry, moisten with a bit of water. This will help to kickstart the decomposition.
This process can be applied to your compost bin, so if you don't have one now is the time!
One you're finished, take a moment to thank all the tiny microbes and bugs that are helping to transform these parts of nature into something wonderful. Thank Mother Nature for continually breathing energy into the cycle of birth, growth and destruction in a way that allows us to reflect more deeply on the cycles that exist in our own lives.
And thank yourself for helping nature to create this wonderful potent soil from which you will soon be able to grow magnificent plants and food.