Beds of Abundance in a Permaculture Garden

Missy manages to climb to the top of the barn and nestle herself into the barley straw…high enough to keep a watchful eye on all!

This is one girl who takes no prisoners…just look at that expression!

A good sprinkling of lettuce seeds and within a few weeks there is more than enough to harvest for weeks to come.

Most people can manage to be self-sufficient in salad for at least half the year!

This is a potager style bed, with Lavender and Thyme nearby.

There are several varieties of lettuce here, in amongst the Nasturtium and Borage.

Sedum and Poppies continue to push their way up through the compost!

Moving compost from last year’s heap over to the new raised vegetable bed today.

A bed of abundance outside the tunnel today.

And here’s the new raised vegetable bed…coming along…

Waiting for the Storm…

 The weather is about to break…we are expecting thunder storms!

The earth is dry and the well is low.

Thunderstorms and rain, lots of rain, will be very welcome indeed!

It’s eight years since I laid this floor, bit by broken bit and I decided to give it a facelift of sorts, by simply colouring in the cement using some green masonry paint, sponged on and then wiped off the tiles…it has made the floor look good and the cost was zero!

The garden is sheer abundance at the moment!

Everything is growing and flourishing.

The vegetable bed I started on Sunday, is now extended even further and planted up as I go.

I can pop out with a torch and remove slugs…easily.

Having vegetable beds near the cottage, makes taking care of these precious plants easy!

This is how permaculture works…easy!

The Willow hoops are working great, keeping the cats away…they scowl as they pass!

Planting lettuce, which grow fast and have a short time in the bed, between plants like cabbage and cauliflower, makes perfect sense, helping to keep the weeds down.

I will whitewash the stones when the bed is completed.

The Valerian has grown up around this old bicycle, affording it an arty look…sometimes the natural evolution of a piece of junk takes on a beauty all of it’s own!

Making a Rocket Stove is so very easy!

Today I made a Rocket Stove, using materials scavenged from waste ground…some old concrete blocks.

Many of the instructions up on the web are complicated and involve the use of metal and cutting equipment, none of which I have.

The basic principle of a Rocket Stove, once grasped, allows for more freedom of materials.

Basically, the air is drawn into the chimney, through a corridor of sorts, with a fire set into the base.

The kettle or pot is placed on the top of the chimney, just allowing for air and smoke to escape…in my case I set some pieces of slate on the four corners of the chimney top that the pot then rested on.

Anyway…have a look at the video and you will see what I have done.

The stove uses tiny amounts of wood and is just the most amazing and economical way to cook!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO495ZwdA94&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

Making a New Vegetable Bed, Permaculture style!

The main vegetable beds are placed near the tunnel.

Most of the vegetables that are hardy and slug resistant, such as potatoes and pumpkins are grown there.

I have grown lettuce and slug edible veg in hanging baskets until recently, when the idea of creating raised beds on gravel appealed to grower in me…

This video explains how I made the bed and plans for enlarging it, as well as using bamboo to deter cats, who just happen to love newly raked soil!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vN87aHqkmGY&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=2&feature=plcp

and here is part two, as the bed is made bigger…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Rnz4HGJpP4

A Permaculture Garden in the Calm before the Storm.

The morning is warm and sunny.

The birds sing and bees buzz and all is well at Bealtaine Cottage.

The kitchen decoration is complete and all the other rooms are downhill from here in terms of work and upheaval.

This morning is one of those extraordinary moments in time, like the sunny happy days of 1930’s England…that’s what this morning makes me think about. It’s a kind of calm before the storm moment in time, I think.

This is a time of uncertainty.

We have been in a state of war for decades.

More war is on the horizon.

The only thing that makes sense is our connection with the Earth and each other.

We need to hold onto that.

We need to continue to develop and nurture those links.

They cannot be owned or taken from us.

No words in this video, taken this morning as the warmth of the day awoke Bealtaine Cottage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3d_CvQN3GA

Stencilled Walls and Stencilled Floors…yes, Floors!

Decorating the kitchen over the past week has been hard work, as a year’s worth of dust and grime was removed from the walls, shelves, dresser, stove and floor…not to mention the ceiling!

Everything has been moved around and the walls and floor painted.

The off-white paint has brightened up the kitchen and as a finishing touch I have added some stencilling in the form of trailing ivy.

The stencil was easy to make, using card, a cutting mat and a craft knife.

The paint was from the tin used on the floor, so there was no expense involved!

That’s useful to note, as I am not a fiscally enhanced person, but have the means in my head to do without the dreaded lucre!

Of course I donned my arty hat and decided to prance around with the stencil, adding bits here and there…

This bit stays as I imagine it to look rather romantic…

The floor will need another coat of varnish…and should be tough for a good year or so!

This is just emulsion type paint and I used a home-made stencil and some gold spray paint left over from the Yuletide festivities. The cost overall was minimal and the labour was my own.

It has charged me with energy to move onto the pantry…the bathroom…my bedroom…you get the picture!

Garden design using white-washed stones.

It is standard permaculture practice to use whatever is to hand when constructing features in the garden.

I happen to live in a part of West Ireland where there is a surplus of stone…in fact there is stone just about everywhere.

This is a very rocky part of Ireland and is in fact very beautiful for it.

However, when making a small garden, and in this case it was one by the entrance to the cottage near the public road, then it made perfect sense to collect up some stones and white-wash them.

That way the edges are marked out well for passing cars to note and stay clear from!

I used a traditional lime mixed with water and left to sour for a few days.

This is a very cheap and easy way to create an effective white paint and as it washes down into the soil over the course of time it actually benefits the plants growing there!

The cost of making this little garden was almost zero…about one euro in total!

Here’s how it looks…click on the link to view today’s video diary from Bealtaine Cottage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpZ92T1ws-0

Free From The Bank…Permaculture Plants, The Growing Investment!

It’s rare to get anything from a bank these days.

Investments and savings are accepted, while little is offered to customers!

However, my local bank, in Carrick-on-Shannon, provided me with one of the best growing investments I have ever had…and one that continues to grow and spread rampantly…Valerian.

To be honest, I stole them!

Now that’s a confession I should not be making, but in this case, as the seeds did not belong to Monsanto, I felt it was my duty to snap them off and spread them as generously as I could, all around Bealtaine Cottage.

Anyway, six or so years later, the seeds continue to spread, of their own volition and infest the gravel with delight, for me and the Bees!

Here they are…Click on the link to see the best investment anyone can make…investing in Nature and the environment…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeJ92Su4Ssg

Roses on the Veranda and the Apples have set!

The roses have come out on the veranda.

I made a short video to show you some of the beauty… you can click on that below.

The apples have all set and are developing well.

There promises to be a magnificent crop this year, so all the recipes for apple wine, chutney,butter, cider and more will be perused and debated…will I make this or that or…

The Willow is now in leaf, as are most of the trees, with the Ash being the last to leaf.

The scent as I walk around the gardens from the blossom on the Hawthorn trees is heavenly!

Work in the kitchen is almost finished and the task of stencilling will start later in the week.

I thought that an Ivy stencil would be lovely, so will cut one out when I get the chance to sit down!

Anyway, here is today’s video, with love from Bealtaine Cottage…click and enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqX4Q4G8NPE&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp