Our goal in the School and with the Patreon Online School is to bring ancestral ways of working with the Earth home; to bring these arts back to life, and show folks how to really live in an integrated way with the land.
I’ve lived off the land and taught wilderness survival, wildcrafting, herbalism and ancient methods agriculture for about 35 years now. Over the last 15 years, Megan has worked and played, to culture the food we harvest into artful offerings; elevating the precious plants as a way of really honouring them, the land, ourselves and our guests.
When deciding what to offer in the online school we had to start by accepting that what we do in the Sacred Gardener in person school over 4 five day sessions could never be repeated or equaled online because the learning is so intimate, with the spirit of Steven’s teaching, the plants and animals of the land, as well as with the food and with each other. But at the same time we have to acknowledge that even in the two years of the school, it’s impossible to get to the thousand and one particulars that ground our life in spirit and in the land here. So, we imagine this offering will be more information oriented, with a collective live teaching component. And surprisingly, we have found that in some ways the close-up online video teaching are even more intimate.
In this year’s offerings on Patreon, we are going to walk you through a year in our front garden, the “South” garden, from the field to table. Much of what we have to offer you comes from last year’s seasonal filming of this garden. The footage documents a unique way of dancing with the land, through the art of “Wildculturing”.
Here’s the overview for our Patreon offerings this year:
Over the six to nine months of the gardening season (depending and where you live) we are going to try to synchronize the timing of our releases so you get the videos before you need them.
We have a late spring here, but know many subscribers in the Northern Hemisphere are greeted by spring one or even two months before us. Because this is all last year’s footage we are able to take that into account.
Video and PDFs pertaining to the Very Early Spring – through to early summer, will arrive for you in March and April. These first posts will be very heavy on the gardening videos because if you’re living with the Earth that’s what you do a lot of that time of year.
Then, as we get into the two or three months of summer, much less is happening in the garden, just a bit of harvesting and weeding. So there will be more videos on food preparation. As well as more herbalism content on harvesting and processing the season’s aerial parts.
In late summer there’s tonnes of harvesting and very little garden tending. So more cooking and craft videos.
And then in the fall, there will be lots on harvesting seeds for food and next year’s crops, as well as harvesting fall roots for medicine. And of course this is the time for preserving and fermenting.
The winter months will be filled with craft, stories and literary offerings.
Details about this coming spring and summer:
At the heart of this coming year’s Patreon offerings are Steven’s “south garden” series of videos.
In these videos you will follow Steven through a season of gardening. Week by week, month by month learning how to Wildculture your family’s food and medicine by hand, in polycultural abundance.
These gardening videos are essentially ‘a year in the life’ story of the front garden. And much of this story is about the 50+ wild plants that are hosted there; and everything you’d want to know about them.
If I walked away from my garden, the next year and for many years, even decades after that, a very productive garden would still spring up and grow here.
You might ask, how is this possible?
The secret answer to this, lays in the huge number of wild and naturalized garden plants that would carry on. These are self seeding annuals, biennials and long term perennial plants. All of whom are introduced only once and then simply given their own space in the garden to grow alongside the domestic crops. Some of the 50+ plants are what are considered weeds, but are not detrimental to your garden plants, and are often beneficial in many ways.
Some of these plants are wild indigenous species, others domestic. Some are naturalized locals, and others have found their way here from all over the Northern Hemisphere, North America, Europe, Asia the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Some have come in with my help and some are volunteers arriving on their own.
In this South Garden series I focus more on the wild aspects of the garden, rather than on how to grow vegetables.
The basics of growing vegetables organically were laid out well by Rodale almost a hundred years ago and have not changed much, if at all, since that time. When I’m talking about growing vegetables in this series it will be because I am doing it in a way which has not been covered or well documented before.
The more wild aspects of the garden, are things like hosting and honouring the billions of beings in the soil by growing without turning most of the garden, as well as working with the plant volunteers, better known as weeds. And growing in perennial polyculture.
While on the surface the south garden looks like just regular gardening with lots of weeds growing everywhere, it is in fact a highly orchestrated intentional polyculture. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t get production from the vegetable plots and rows, as well as the 50+ wild plants that grow on their own in the garden.
My vision and practice of this type of gardening has come from thirty something years of gardening and experimenting with every known method, as well as some that are almost unknown. So, my methods have evolved over the decades and I now I practice different methods to suit different places. While I do feed my family and guests with the garden, production is not my primary goal. For me, gardening is a spiritual practice, as I believe our whole life must become. The garden is a fine place to practice this level of cooperation and tolerance, and at the same time being able to draw the line when we have to.
To paraphrase E.F. Schumacher, “How a culture produces its food and treats the earth will reflect how that culture’s human society functions”.
We might not recognize this anymore because we are so detached from the source of our food, but human culture is an extension of agriculture, and not the other way around. One mirrors or grows from the other. So, if we completely control and dominate the garden space and soil in every way possible, and there’s no tolerance for the wild beings or the ones that voluntarily show up, to feed and heal both the earth and ourselves, then we are perpetuating a kind of fascist dictatorship in the garden. Such a dictatorship is enforced with rigid and violent adherence to its own patriarchal dogma. Acting purely in the interest of production and money, oblivious of spirit or the larger ecology.
More specifically what you’ll learn from the Wildculturing video series:
In the first months you’ll learn about the hidden abundance in what looks like barren ground to the untrained eye. You’ll learn about the garden’s first wild sprouts and digging up biennial roots that have overwintered for excellent early spring food, how to harvest the first wild edible weeds (that grow before, or alongside, the first domestic plantings) and what to do with them. You’ll learn Wildculturing methods of garden bed preparation, including different methods of amending.
In the summer months, subscribers will follow us right through to the first crops and the harvest, and the fall finishing with more biennial roots for food preservation and focusing on the medicinal use and preparation of herbal medicines.
Finishing the season with collecting seed and the proper winter treatment of plants so they can overwinter and sustain themselves into the future.
In the Wildculturing videos you will learn how to grow and Wildculture each plant we cover. Generally this is done by always hosting three generations in the garden so they can self perpetuate as they would in the wild. You’ll also learn how to harvest and use the spring roots and first greens.
In the first post we cover everything you need to know in the “very early spring” about Wildculturing in the garden. The needed gardening techniques as well as individual lessons about each plant we harvest at this time of year. How to harvest and what to do with it this time of year. The “very early spring” series includes teachings on using the following plants (mostly for food this time of year).