Aboriginal First Nations Gardening
- Start with group gardening.
- Include a gathering circle into the garden
- Ask an Elder to bless the garden site before starting the
garden and again once the garden is ready for people to enjoy.
- Always open and close each gardening time with a prayer to the
- Bring an eagle feather for discussions.
- Start with a medicine wheel garden to create a spiritual
place. Use Medicine Wheel Booklet (Saskatchewan)
as a guide. It includes suggestions for perennial plants for
each direction which will be successful in Calgary and the
In a Medicine Wheel Garden use plants with
yellow blooms in the east for the rising
sun, red in the south for the heat of summer,
black in the west for the setting of the sun
and white in the north for ice and snow.
Search Google Images with "medicine wheel garden design" to look
at photos of these gardens.
The Medicine Wheel Garden: Creating Sacred
Space for Healing, Celebration and
Tranquility (book) by E. Barry Kavasch Bantam,
Respect for the land:
- Take care of the earth and the plants will grow. Soil is a
- Use lasagna gardening method of no-till gardening to leave the
land as undisturbed as possible.
- Help restore the soil to fertility by adding compost.
- In the first year find out who is interested in making a small
shared garden (not separate garden beds). Gather them
- Talk about what they would like to grow. Sweetgrass and
sage for ceremonies, Saskatoon berries for pemmican, and the
Three Sisters of squash, corn and beans are popular.
Sample Group Gardening Plan:
Meet as a group on specific dates
- May - meet 2 times and prepare the land site for the garden.
Plant root crops such as potatoes, beets and onions in the first
season so that there is a fall harvest. Then if gardening
participation drops off in the summer the crops are not wasted by
going to seed. Baby beet greens can be used for salads. Beet
peelings and onion skins can be used as natural dyes for
- June - meet 2 times to plant seeds and seedlings. Plant berry
shrubs such as Saskatoon, Currants (gold, white. red),
Kinnikinnick / Bear Berry, Chokecherry, Buffalo Berry, Gooseberry,
High Bush Cranberry, Thimble Berry, Elder Berry
- July - meet once for tending plants (gardeners come on their
own or with a friend the other weeks of the month) People may
be away attending Pow Wows, Rodeos, Stampedes etc.
- August - meet 2 times to tend the garden plants
- September - October - meet 2 times as a group to harvest, share
recipes and put the garden to bed (dates depend on the
- September - October Seed collecting
- Start making earth (composting)
Recipe Sharing: part of the gardening
experience is to either eat and share what you harvest or preserve
it to eat and share later. Gardeners bring a dish they have
made from garden crops and share it with others at a gardeners'
1 package beef jerky
1 cup dried berries, such as dried Saskatoon
berries, raspberries or cherries
1 cup chopped nuts or sunflower seeds
¼ cup beef suet or vegetable shortening
Honey to taste (1 to 3 teaspoons)
12-cup muffin tin
- Line muffin cups with paper liners (or grease cups well)
- Grind or chop beef jerky into very, very small pieces to make
about 1 cup.
- Melt suet or shortening in a saucepan.
- Remove from heat, stir in beef jerky, dried berries, and seeds.
Stir in honey.
- Spoon about ¼ cup of the pemmican mixture into each muffin
- Press down firmly to make a cake, smoothing the top.
- Refrigerate until well set.
Three Sisters Soup
3 cans chicken broth or soup stock
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 cup green beans or yellow wax beans, washed
and ends trimmed off
1½ cups of squash or pumpkin
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional spices: ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
or 1 teaspoon each fresh (or ½ teaspoon each dried) parsley, basil,
- Pour the broth into a large saucepan or kettle.
- Heat until the broth begins to boil.
- Add the corn, beans, squash, and bay leaves.
- Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add optional spices if desired, and simmer 15 more
- Remove the bay leaves, and transfer the soup in batches to a
blender to puree if desired. Soup is good served without
- Serve with bannock (bread).
Serves 8 to 10.
Source: Food by Country.com - Aboriginal