Permaculture Cottage ~ Dividing Rhubarb, Growing Trees and Composting!

Lots of the rhubarb has been lifted and divided recently and planted into the new beds, all loaded with fresh compost from the heaps stacked last year. Rhubarb is an easy and early fruiting plant to grow. Although the leaves are toxic, various parts of the plants have medicinal and culinary uses.  In culinary use, fresh raw stalks are crisp (similar to celery) with a strong tart taste; most commonly the plant’s stalks are cooked and used in pies and other foods for their tart flavour. Personally, there is nothing equal to a Rhubarb Crumble, or, one of my absolute…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Lughnasa and the Celtic Calendar

The feast of Lugh, Lughnasa, or Lughnasadh happenssoon…on the eve, which is the 31st of July. A time for a bonfire and celebrations of the harvest…celebrations here at Bealtaine Cottage will be focused around a rather small outdoor fire but with the equivalent gusto of the eve that’s in it!  The Festival of Lughnasadh This was  said to have been begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast commemorating his foster-mother, Tailtu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Little changed there then, as most of the agricultural work in many African countries is carried out by…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Many Magical Trees

The Life Force of Trees It was a common belief, long ago, that many conditions could be cured by bringing the patient into contact with the powerful life force or MANA represented by trees… Nearly 800 trees have been planted here at Bealtaine and there is something so awesome about trees that makes me want to get more land and keep on planting.  Today has seen the transplanting of another 20 or so Birch trees, seedlings rescued from the road verge before the tractors mow the grass. More Buddleias for FREE! Managed to pull up 3 tiny Buddleias from the…

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Summer Feast on a Wet Evening

Lots of Parsley and loads of eggs…yes, it’s summer and the food is in plentiful supply here on this Permaculture smallholding. An easy way of preserving food for the leaner times is to use it to cook and freeze, or bottle or…anyway, you know what I mean…just don’t let it go to waste! Here is one of my favourite fast foods, devised by Rose Elliot, my favourite Vegetarian Cookery writer…Parsley Burgers. I made these on the Cook and Dine Evening I hosted on Monday evening at Cleen Hall, Knockvicar, and, they were very well received! Anyway, here’s the recipe… ********************************…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Abundance…

Harvests continue to develop and flowers bloom at Bealtaine Smallholding. Flowers like these Sedums require little or no attention and soon fill out a space. White Buddleia in full bloom, though there are few butterflies around at the moment. This tree, well, bush really, serves as an air island for the birds nesting in the box nearby. Pots of Curly Kale, Chard and Pumpkins, some of which will be moved across to the new beds in the Vegetable Garden. All these have been planted in pots filled with home made compost. The grapevine, grown from a cutting about four years…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Inspired Ideas for Gardeners

8am this morning. The steps that lead down to the front garden…and on the tree, a weather-proof mirror and some bamboo chimes. These make the stsrt of the garden walk an interactive experience for all. Few can resist looking at the reflections of the garden behind them, in the mirror, or shaking the chimes. The melodious sounds follow as one descends the stone steps! This small mirror is made from a lightweight metal and has been wired onto the tree…which is an Alder that has been pollarded to remain compact and umbrella shaped. Alders are fast growing and results can…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Compost, Potatoes, The Fairy Tree and a Cold Winter to Come!

Potatoes growing by the east side of the shed. Did you know that there are about five thousand potato varieties worldwide?                            Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to molds that feed on the stored tubers, quickly turning them rotten.  However, I left potatoes in the ground over the course of last winter, when all was frozen solid for six long weeks…and they were dug out after the defrost and were perfect! I think it may have been the layer of straw that was atop the ground! Throughout Europe, the most important new food in the…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Monsanto:the global takeover of our food…

Fresh eggs from my hens. Food. Without food we would die. How fundamental to our existence is that then? I grow lots of food here at Bealtaine Cottage. I grow it on trees, bushes and plants…most of which are grown from seed here at Bealtaine and saved here and in the locality. But, if the story emerging from Iraq is anything to go by, then soon, I will be breaking the law! For all the seed I save will be done so illegally. Monsanto want to issue patents   http://t.co/idDWlzQ on all seed and are being aided by the US…