The Easiest to Grow Vegetables and Fruit from Bealtaine Cottage

Blackcurrants…the gardens at Bealtaine are infested with them!
I have grown all of my Blackcurrant bushes from seed or cuttings!
I have a surplus of Blackcurrant cuttings at the moment and these are offered for sale at this link…

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Potatoes.
Last year I grew them successfully on straw and manure spread on the ground on top of cardboard.
The ground was in perfect condition afterwards for digging in a new Rhubarb bed.

Swiss Chard.
A  cut and come again crop.
It just keeps on giving!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007Here it is growing outdoors during the winter.
The frost may set it back but it grows again quickly from the root.

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby ChardSwiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

Eat young leaves as salad or
cook.
You can sow directly into the soil, but I prefer to start almost everything off in pots to give them some strength to resist the slugs!

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnelDark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

The stalks are marvellously coloured and can be white, as above, yellow, red, and orange, so they can look great in flower beds too!

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Beetroot grows easily and stays in the ground over…

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Magical Woodland by an Irish Castle

Little wonder our ancestors regarded these places as sacred…

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

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Stepping into a magical woodland can be one of the most healing and re-energizing acts of care for oneself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis morning I ventured into the woods around Kilronan Castle and the mystical Lough Meelagh, a short distance from Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com I’m glad to have brought my little camera, as am now able to share this enchantment with you.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis sacred place nestles into the valley that sweeps off towards Sligo and the Atlantic Ocean.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough is dotted with Crannogs…ancient dwelling places constructed by ancestral forces on the Lough itself. You can just see this Crannog in the distance.

www.bealtainecottage.comThese were places of safety in times of a forested land where wild animals posed a threat and tribal invasions were part of life.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough has risen high along the gentle shoreline, where moss and lichen hold sway.

www.bealtainecottage.comTree roots have loosened in the storm ridden rain and some have…

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Sustainable Food: Easy Grow Vegetables and Fruit

Here are the easiest to grow fruits and vegetables for beginners…get started this weekend!

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Some vegetables and fruit are so very easy to grow it seems ridiculous not to do so!

1. Chard. Simple to start from seed. Full of vitamins and minerals. Cut and come again…it just keeps giving!

This Ruby Chard has grown in the tunnel and given successive crops since last summer!

2. Parsley. In this case, curly parsley, but in fact any variety is great to grow, providing endless supplies of vitamin C and Iron for a healthy diet, as well as being simple to grow.

Parsley will grow for 2 years easily before it dies back!

Another great Chard is this beautiful yellow variety, bringing colour and taste to the table!

3. Purple-sprouting Broccoli.

These pics were snapped today in the tunnel, so you can see how far advanced this great vegetable is…ready to harvest in January.

The joy of these vegetables and herbs I have here is that…

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Garden in February (Part One)

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The year in the garden is now well under way, as Mother Earth awakens in a very visible way…not that she ever slept!

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Coltsfoot is one of the first herbs to come into flower, for it flowers before it leafs and a very welcome sight this is!

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Bronze fennel, that most vigorous of herbs and also a brilliant addition to the flower garden, starts to produce tasty leaves that can be added to early Spring salads.

Rocket has over-wintered well in the tunnel and forms the base ingredient.

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Daffodils are now up and beginning to flower.

Daffodils on the hill above the cottage, around an old abandoned dwelling are in full bloom!

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Reminders of Winter come and go, but not for long, sometimes just an hour or two of a light dusting of snow.

Never enough to hold back the advance of the seasons!

But beware the wind chill factor that comes with early Spring and wrap up warm when venturing out to work in the garden!

Rhubarb in a permaculture garden

When the sun does shine, it is truly glorious and plants like Rhubarb spring into exuberant life!

A very hungry plant, Rhubarb eats up a generous dressing of well-rotted manure.

Euphorbia at Bealtaine Cottage

Euphorbia comes into life in the flower garden…here it shares a half barrel with a Fig Tree and both like each other’s company!

In fact, the Fig has fruited well year on year since getting a new bed fellow!

bealtaine cottage permaculture feb 2011 002

An old but treasured book is always at hand to delve into for advice on seasonal food, gardening and outdoors work!

I wonder if this little gem is still in print?

Bealtaine permaculture gardens

Beautiful catkins on the Hazel trees…flowers in fact!

Bealtaine Cottage frogs in the pond

The pond is filling with frogspawn and clumps of frogs celebrating the turn in the year as only frogs can!

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2011 028

Out in the hen-house the girls are in touch with the growing of the light as they come back into lay!

Fox in the garden at Bealtaine Cottage

Mr and Mrs Fox are hungry and on the prowl! I often lay out food at night for the foxes, for the way I see it is simply this: we have interfered with the food chain by removing the animals that would have predated upon foxes.

This is my way of attempting to live in harmony as best I can…and ensuring that the girls in the henhouse are well protected!

Part Two  of THE GARDEN IN FEBRUARY can be found on Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

To subscribe, see the link below…

 

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, YouTube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

 

This Could Change the World!

A tree is worth $193,250…

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 002Real Crisis in the Economy, Economic Forecasts, Economic Recovery, …the list of headlines, news and political in-fighting over the economy seems endless.

september 2011 bealtaine cottage 012However, the figures that are collected year on year, collated and spun out to us all, regarding the state of our country’s economy, are referred to as GDP or Gross Domestic Product.

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 009GDP is the market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a year.

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 016This includes trees. 

Dead trees.

Only dead trees!

Trees that have been cut down and transported out of the country, or sold.

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage Bealtaine 005Now, imagine this…

May 2011 Bealtaine 005What if living trees were included in GDP?

May 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 039For, after all, a tree is of more value to us all, alive than dead! 

September 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008A tree is worth $193,250…

According to Professor T.M.Das of the University of Calcutta. A tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth…

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Carbon Taxes Won’t Save Us!

A reminder of our fragile eco-system and what behoves us to protect it…

Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Back door of Bealtaine CottageToday, I was feeling just a teensy bit down.

It’s a rare experience for me.

Back door at Bealtaine CottageLife is so full on here at Bealtaine, that positivity fills the day, running from one task to the next and looking forward to a brief sit down and a cup of tea.

But today, something caught up with me…a growing feeling of fragility that I had suppressed for a long time.

A jingle bell heartWeakness in the face of disaster.

Fear.

Dog Daisy benchI have spent much of my life suppressing fear.

To be honest, most people have too.

table on the verandaCarrying life, caring for life, creates a deep fear…of birth and death, and one that we know we  must resist.

Not just resist, but train ourselves to regard this feral fear in as dispassionate a way as we can muster.

Family on the dresserWe as adults cannot display fear to our young or those in our charge or care…we must be brave, pretend…

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Signs of Spring

Catnip Heart Toy made at Bealtaine Cottage

Life is stirring.

Light shines higher in the morning sky.

Thickening buds cast a haze over the land.

“But there were certain early days in Casterbridge- days of firmamental exhaustion which followed angry south-westerly tempests-when, if the sun shone, the air was like velvet.”
Thomas Hardy

The woodland that surrounds Bealtaine Cottage

Colours emerge and birds sing out a joyous, higher note.

Warm weather in January

We are officially in the season of Spring in the West of Ireland and the new energy is tangible, from rising in the morning to the growing lateness of dusk.

The temperature seems rather unstable, as you can see evidence of in the photograph above.

The morning began very cold and in the space of minutes, the temperature had climbed by 18 F., causing the mirror on the veranda to steam up!

I recorded this as most of the only real information about climate and weather appears to be anecdotal evidence from social media! Cottage interior at Bealtaine, 2016

My favourite aspect of Spring is the way the light changes.

If one simply sat in this cottage and never ventured outdoors it would be possible to map the seasons in light play.

I expect birds, animals and even insects are similarly informed.

Living in the glare of artificial light can be dulling to our senses!

“She walks in the loveliness she made,
Between the apple-blossom and the water–
She walks among the patterned pied brocade,
Each flower her son, and every tree her daughter.”
Vita Sackville-West, The Land

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Elsewhere in the woodland gardens at Bealtaine, frogs have emerged from hibernation and busied themselves, as only frogs can in cold ponds!

Frogs in Bealtaine pond have the luxury of a shallow, sheltered, ancillary pond, hand dug by myself, just off the main one.

This water heats faster and earlier, ensuring maximum attention to the detail of frog mating and spawning…a sort of nursery pond!

Anyway, it works a treat and has done for the past eleven years.

As a consequence, the amphibian life force has healthily expanded!

“Woods were ringed with a colour so soft, so subtle that it could scarcely be said to be a colour at all. It was more the idea of a colour – as if the trees were dreaming green dreams or thinking green thoughts.”
Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

 

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

Frogspawn at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland, 1st Feb 2016

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2016

Diversity of planting not only has created resilience, but bestowed all year round colour to Bealtaine Cottage…so appreciated as Spring emerges…for with this rising of the sap, comes a much defined colour change!

“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Pussy Willow at Bealtaine Cottage. Ireland

Catkins have appeared on the Willow…and there’s many different varieties in the Woodland. Pond and even Orchard gardens. Essential food for the bees emerging from a hungry winter hibernation.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…”
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

Quince flowers, Bealtaine Cottage, Feb 2016

This Quince grows in the Bog Garden and has begun to flower!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
Margaret Atwood

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Where would Spring be without the exquisite little Primroses?

Seen here in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine, surrounded by Spurge!

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Spurge at bealtaine cottage in the Fairy Wood

The Fairy Wood awakens!

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

 

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, YouTube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/