Learning to Work the Land

My household is currently focused on turning our lawn into a working vegetable garden. We’re planting vegetable, fruits, and also medicinal herbs. It’s something we’ve wanted to do for years but it’s been a little overwhelming. Now, being at home due to Covid, it’s provided a perfect opportunity to really focus on learning how to work — and work with — the land.

Actually, while Tatyana had a thriving herb garden since last year (she’s our housemate) this was really my first go-round with any type of gardening (though I did grow a few herbs years and years ago when I lived in Queens) and it was prompted by news reports that Michigan was banning the sale of seeds in local stores as “non-essential.” That triggered something with my Lithuanian ancestors and they started hammering me hard to plant. Something about government stepping in and preventing local stores from selling seeds well, it was like it flipped a switch for them and they started hammering me so intensely to create my own garden, to get it up and running right away, that I had no choice but to comply.

Now, I have severe spinal damage (remnants of a career as a ballet dancer and one of the main reasons I retired in my early twenties) so bending and working the soil is not something I can easily do – one of the things that was very intimidating to me about all of this. I solved that problem by starting with porch boxes, pots, and standing boxes (these latter haven’t yet arrived). We discovered our local gardening supply shop is open and that they deliver so Tatyana and I went to town. While she’s busy setting up our in-ground vegetable garden, I decided to start with about a dozen porch boxes. I planted marigold (keeps pests away and leaves are edible), lettuce, onions, peppers, brussel sprouts, strawberries, cauliflower (I accidentally planted Tatyana’s cauliflower and it’ll have to be replanted when it really starts to grow), basil, thyme, oregano, woodruff, parsley (I have seeds for marjoram and sage on their way). For medicinal purposes I have feverfew, calendula, chamomile, lavender, lobelia. For beauty, I have a rose bush, poppies, and already had lilacs and forsythia. My ancestors don’t care about flowers unless they are medicinal or edible but these were available and I like them. I also ordered a lemon tree –potted so it can live inside during the winter.

Tatyana is planting carrots, zucchini, peppers, squash, peas, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, parsnips, lettuce, strawberries, blueberries, gooseberries, cucumbers, a passel of medicinal herbs including yarrow and elderberry, and a ton more that I can’t recall at the moment. I think this is something anyone can do, but it’s important not to get intimidated. Starting with a single herb in a pot is well begun. It helps us connect to the cycles of nature, to the spirits of herbs and trees, plants and the land, and as we work hard to build communities, well, there’s no functioning community without food. We’re a long way away from being self-sustaining but it begins with willingness and putting those first seeds into the dirt.

I’ll be blogging about this as we go and you can join us on this journey.

garden april 19

(our porch garden. there are more boxes to the left not pictured here). 

In the meantime, here are a few sites that have been both inspiring and beneficial:

Here an here are two posts on Victory Gardens – why did we ever stop doing this!

Then there’s Townsends, which focuses on 18thcentury cooking, crafts, and gardening. It’s a great site and it’s way too easy to go down the rabbit hole emerging hours later with a desire to build a log cabin, cook weird dishes over an open hearth, and make one’s own clothing. LOL.

Finally, there’s this channel Homesteading Family. They know how to do things and their channel is a treasure trove of info (even if I find the ever-growing passel of children off-putting lol).




About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on April 19, 2020, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I love the Townsends! My brother who used to be a Civil War reenactor (both brothers have reenacted in both Southern and Northern forces) and got me hooked on it ( though they tend to focus on the Revolution).

    I also recommend the English Heritage channel on YouTube especially the “How to Cook the Victorian Way” series featuring a renactor of the Head Cook of Audley End House Mrs. Crocombe.

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  2. Townsends’ channel! He’s part of my weekend morning coffee! I love that you are making your household as self-sufficient as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your front porch photo is making me homesick.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Justin Rhodes is amazing and the YT channels she has in the post are great. Love Townsend and Sons as well as the Homestead Family.

    Once the frosts stop we’ll be working on our garden as well.

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  5. That’s wonderful! Plants like music, too, so remember to play them some while you work in the garden–and after, too, if it can be managed! My dad’s back yard was a wasteland with some brown grass when he moved in, and now it is a lush bower with all sorts of vines (including grape vines!), flowers, shrubs, and herbs.

    Alas, the property managers where I live won’t even allow plants on our decks (approved “lawn furniture” and bikes only), and as that side of the apartment is to the North and is always in the shade, it wouldn’t be good to try and grow anything there anyway. The South-facing windows don’t have enough room to have plants, either. Ugh…

    However, I have turned on the stove and the oven in the last week, and am going to try and make as much food that way rather than just out-of-a-box or microwaved, which is a good thing! I made my first from-scratch soup this last week…which was awful, but at least I have a baseline to build from after this! (I didn’t have any herbs or spices of any sort because I can’t eat most of them, and not even salt since it isn’t good for me…but now I have a few things and will experiment to make chick peas, mushrooms and carrots taste better!)

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  6. I’ve been getting pressured by my Lithuanian ancestors since November that I need to plant rue in the front garden. They are NOT patient with me. Have you had any suggestions that you need to consider traditional herbs as well?


  7. Welcome to the party Galina. May Gerda bless your household’s efforts, Her help is much needed by new gardeners and old green hands alike!


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