Using Seaweed in the Garden

After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches. Always only ever take the loose stuff…don’t pull seaweed from stones as these form habitats and are essential to the ecology of the seashore! In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!…

Permaculture Food Forest in Ireland

The leaves are just beginning to bud and appear. Bees are busy at work here in the gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…without them this would be a place of hunger. But, it’s not…instead it boasts food for all and more to come. This is what a food forest looks like as the sap rises and life returns. These are the gardens of the goddess, Mother Earth in all her splendour and abundance! And here is today’s video… All the videos I upload are free from advertising, so you can enjoy watching… Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage Bealtaine Cottage is also for…

Your Power, Your Choice!

Solar panels! Many permaculture garden visitors ask me why I have no solar panels? My stock answer is that I cannot afford them…but that hides all the other reasons why solar panel are not high on my wish-list of add-ons to Bealtaine Cottage! I see the issue in much more simple terms…frugality! Over the past ten years of developing Bealtaine Cottage, I have successively scaled back on my use of electricity. From getting rid of many of my original electrical appliances and refusing to replace those that have given up along the way, I have the equivalent of a roof…

From the Fringe…

The start of the week in this sacred place, where edges meet and overlap…a cooling, calming morning.  Yesterday was a day of visits and creating bouquets to take with me. The gardens are flourishing and birthing beauty all around me, so there was much to gather and choose from. This is the tenth year using the roll of cellophane bought for me by my eldest daughter all those years ago as a leaving London present! Small investments can and do go on giving! Walking the gardens this morning, after the rain, with the earth scents rising all around me, it…

Post Midsummer Polytunnel Gardening at Bealtaine Cottage

Second-phase food production is under way as from this week. Midsummer has passed and many harvests are home or under-way. This week has seen me clear the tunnel, spread lots of compost afresh on the beds and begin planting for the next phase of crops. As I cleared the tunnel and collected masses of seeds and seed-heads, I was thinking about the crops I would plant. Number one on my list is Kale; one of the great foods, especially in juicing. Regular intake of Kale juice keeps health at a peak. Soil is the most important aspect of good food. The…

Easiest Ever Compost Toilet

The post you’ve all been waiting for…the Bealtaine Cottage Compost Toilet. Easy to install and simple to use. No running outside on cold mornings to tramp across wet grass to use the toilet! This is located in the bathroom…not quite a bathroom though as I took out the bath and installed a shower instead!  There’s still a little bit of tweaking to be done to finish the project off to a high standard, like decorating the wall where the cistern used to be and making a wooden surround with a small door, but as you can see, it is simple…

Little Pots of Magic…She Stirs…

The decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl! And so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced. The Forest of Bealtaine is emerging through seed…seeds collected, saved and sown into pots of Bealtaine compost, that will travel with them, to their final destination, here, somewhere, in Mother Ireland. Where in Mother Ireland I do not know, but, somewhere on this land bereft of the comfort of cover and canopy, open to the growing harshness of rain, that once fell soft like…

A New Way of Living

Food production can be a problem for many people who have little or no access to land. There are many who live in conditions where even a balcony is a precious space. I have spoken before about the ways in which access to growing space can be achieved, through allotments, community gardens and the like, but here is something which may prove to be an inspiration, a new way of looking at food, both growing it and eating! As an aspiring Vegan, (sometimes I miss the mark!) and dedicated grower and lover of all life, I have recently been converted…

EU Pimping Monoculture Failure!

Mist prevails as the earth slowly heats, releasing some of the water absorbed during the wettest winter on record here in Ireland. The air is still and birdsong echoes through the foggy dew… The first of the seeds are now sown in a big fish box in the tunnel, made from thick, white polystyrene, once marked out for the dump but rescued and up-cycled here at Bealtaine Cottage…perfect for seeds and young plants! There’s a digger at work on the hill of Ballyfermoyle, I hear it’s machinations echoing through the misty morning. Young trees and bushes are being torn up…