As spoken to Emma Lodge | October 2017
Meet my lovely friend Wayne Rankine. Wayne has a beautiful biodynamic property on the Atherton Tablelands called Brolgas Pass New Earth Sanctuary. I love visiting Wayne as pretty much everything in his garden is edible including the weeds!! Did you know that there is so much nutrition and goodness in weeds? They also provide an indication of how healthy your soil is, and what minerals it needs. Soil health is so similar to our gut health, and I love spending time with Wayne to learn all about the gut-soil connection and biodynamics.
Emma: Looks like you’ve been out on a shopping spree in your garden again Wayne, is this in preparation for our afternoon tea?
Wayne: Well not the average shopping spree in the supermarket, today I have collected some weeds. Generally these are frowned upon and looked at as the enemy get rid of it. I take the approach that it’s a herb, unless you make a mindset that it is a weed and need to get rid of it. If you have an open minded approach, and look at it from the fact of what its doing, what its role is in nature, how its changing the soil, and how you can allow it into your life instead of getting rid of it.
A lot of people would say it looks unsightly, what do you do with your collection of weeds?
I like to call them herbs and one of the best ways I utilize them is by making tea. What I like to do is graze from my garden around the edges and the little places where they grow naturally. I’ve only been able to have this accomplished after relenquishing spraying any poisons or chemicals for well over 10 years, and also by practicing biodynamic principles and putting out biological sprays. Since then I’ve seen some amazing changes in the soil structure including remineralisation, which is instead of taking supplements, your food should be mineralised so you’re naturally getting a balance of nutrients in your diet.
That’s so true, our soils are deplete on nutrients, a lot of fruit & veg is picked too soon and then transported for miles and even kept in storage for months, so our bodies are missing out on those vital nutrients we need which just shows with the state of our health today. We are mineral deficient.
Wayne: Yes and eating fresh also brings enzymes into your system that are living product, so you can feel the life energy from those foods. Having a tea is a great way to provide those additional nutrients and a simple way to eat some things that you probably wouldn’t eat otherwise. Some examples of herbs I have here include borage, a fantastic plant thats got edible flowers, it makes a beautiful accompaniment to salads. Another great one is stinging nettle, I grow that and put it in soups and stews and love it in my teas. It’s high in silica and also has the ability to assimilate iron, which makes us and the soils higher in iron. We use it in fertiliser products to help those higher iron soils we have on the Atherton Tablelands. Another great one is bush basil or friends like to call it bee basil, its got the amazing ability to attract every bee and insect around for miles. It’s a spectacular plant that’s very hardy. Its close relation is accu camper basil which is a beautiful purple flower basil. I love to add some lemongrass and crush that into my tea also.
The smell and freshness of all these herbs is just amazing, they smell so potent!
Wayne: The other one I love is cranberry hibiscus. It’s a beautiful tangy leaf that you can eat raw, you can also eat the flower, it has a beautiful and delicate flavour. Another one I grow (not to put in tea) is amaranth which is a grain, it contains thousands and thousands of seeds and has a beautiful purple seed top. Its exciting to see this plant has now grown 3m tall and fallen over, now the guinea fowl are helping themselves to the grain so its a great forage plant in that regard in that they’ve seeked out their own food.
I love serving herbal teas picked from my garden for anyone who visits, then they can get a taste of what I do.
I think we had better put the kettle on then!