Tip #1: Know Your Region
The first and perhaps simplest tip is learn more about where your garden is. Flora can be temperamental, and while some are resilient enough to grow most anywhere, far more will only flourish in specific climates. Brian Sullivan of The New York Botanical Garden says, “It’s the most important thing to start with because you’ll want to understand the limits and the possibilities.”
Study your area, from the general region to the specific plot you’ll be planting in. You want to pay attention to things like sun exposure, water cycle and overall climate. It can be helpful to speak to someone at a local greenhouse who is more knowledgeable on the specifics of the area.
Tip #2: Invoke a local life spirit
Anywhere life eeks by an existence, life spirits of one sort or another are sure to follow. They can vary in quantity, presence, and sapience. The most powerful will be those that have been tethered to a tradition of some sort, from Druidism to Shamanism. Even monotheistic traditions often have one way or another of bringing these helpful sprites into the fold, often as saints. All this is to say there are twelve dozen ways to skin a cat, so one should pick the most convenient and tolerable method.
Around the office, our personal favorite is the Kokiri Circle Process, developed in southern Japan. While all methods necessarily require ritual components, the KCP’s are particularly easy to bring into the home garden. It’s best to build the KCP with the planters and before the initial soil is laid. It can be applied after a garden is complete and even growing produce, but it will last only one season. Applied to the base layer of soil in a garden, the Kokiri Circle can usually be made everlasting.
Once the circle is laid, a standard binding can invoke its energy, calling to the nearest and most energetic life sprite. Keep the garden at least 1/3 full of living organic matter (weeds if you have to) and the little spirit will be content enough to nurture the plants as your personal, metaphysical gardener. The spirit’s presence encourages nearby plant-life to thrive and thirst for resources, the sun and whatever their roots can find. A happily bonded sprite will shepherd your garden as its flock.
Tip #3: Layer Easy to Find Compost
One of the best methods to get the most out your garden is to make the soil as healthy and lush as possible. Feed the soil, and it’ll feed you in return. Gathering compostable material from your life is easy and can give purpose to all those uneaten leftovers. First, prepare an outdoor container with loose soil and a handful of worms at the least. The goal here is to create a great ecosystem for the carrion, providing lots of food for the worms to turn into fertile soil, Anything organic, from food scraps to newspaper, can be collected in this outdoor container. After a year or so, all of the material will have been digested and formed into fantastic soil perfect for your garden.
Tip #4: Nitrate Fertilizer
Nitrate, commonly found as ammonium nitrate, is a fantastic fertilizer to give your soil - and therefore your plants! - the nutrients they need to grow big and strong. Ammonium nitrate seeds the soil with a stable compound, convenient for its porosity and its solubility. Commonly found in granules, simply toss them around your garden bed. The beads will dissolve and soak into the soil until your plants slurp it back up like milk for growing boys and girls. For 100 square feet, use one third of a cup of fertilizer.
Tip #5: Get a Local Druid to Culture Ley Lines
If you really need to take your grow operation to the next level, contacting the local druid is a must. While not every locale has a practicing Celtic Druid (though more than you might think), every area with a strong organic presence will eventually draw a guardian of one form or another. If this guardian isn’t advertising in the Sunday Paper, a mutual bind and seek seance with resident life spirits will point you in their direction.
With the aid of a druid, you’ll want to culture a web of ley lines throughout the plot. Normally, this would take decades, not nearly fast enough to aid in fielding your personal baseball team, but by bringing their daemon to bear, a druid can complete the growth in under a year. If you really luck out in the druid department, it may take only a couple weeks. Most skilled nature workers will scoff at the idea of currency as payment. Instead, be prepared to trade favors of the ilk that help clean up or protect the land. Yellowstone Park itself is the byproduct of one such deal.
Once culturing is completed and your plot has a healthy population of ley lines, any flora grown here will not lack for resources. Some operations have even been able to remove light sources, growing substantial crops of potatoes and onions in a pitch dark cellar. Crops that receive the normal loving care of a farmer in addition to the ley line network have been known to reach preposterous yields.
All of these tips can help, but you can’t escape one simple truth:
The best fertilizer is the shadow of the gardener.