Posted in compost, Eco-Living, Ecology, Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Nature, Uncategorized

Using Seaweed in the Garden

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After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! DSC01293You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. DSC01292The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches.

DSC01291Always 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!

DSC01290In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!

DSC01289The first thing I do is to spread it on the gravel around the cottage and allow the rain to wash out excess salt.

DSC01288After about a week, I start to spread the seaweed around established plants in the garden and tunnel.

DSC01287 The seaweed acts as a wonderful feed and a weed-suppressing mulch!

DSC01285One of the best things about growing food in the garden is the opportunity to use local and near resources that are free to be foraged or collected…seaweed is an organic fertiliser! DSC01286Seaweed is washed in by the tide, so is easy to forage!

DSC01284Only ever take what you need!

It can be used straight away too by the way!

DSC01283It’s packed with Potassium and Nitrogen, bot wonderful for the garden!

In the next blog, over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, I will explain how to make Liquid Seaweed Manure…along with lots more pics of the vegetable beds mulched with seaweed and how this feeds the plants!

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

 

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Eco-Living, Eden, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Permaculture Ireland, Uncategorized

As Evening Descends…

Towards the end of a perfect day at Bealtaine Cottage. The gardens are looking well tended as the evening descends. Strawberries have been potted up in hanging baskets and seedlings rescued from the gravel around the cottage and potted up. These will make fine plants for the Summer ahead! And…all the while…the birds sing!

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Posted in Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Ireland, Uncategorized

Sunshine and Cuttings

It’s like the Mediterranean here at Bealtaine Cottage!

The sun is shining and the birds singing like it’s Spring…and it is!

This is the second month of Spring on the ancient Celtic calendar and it’s all true to form!

Those interested in the Fuchsia cuttings need to hurry and order, as they are fast coming into leaf…another couple of weeks left to get them in the ground and growing…and they will grow very fast indeed! To place your order, click on the link below…

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

 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Brigid, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, homesteading, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal…Beginning the Year in the Garden

Propagator at Bealtaine Cottage

Now is the time to sort out seeds and get sowing underway. January passes very quickly…we’re already halfway through!

First of all, ensure all trays and pots used for sowing are scrupulously clean.

No need to use chemicals for this, as soapy water, clean rinsing water and air-drying will ensure a perfect result.

I have used this method for the past eleven years and it has never failed.

Always use a good compost if you cannot make your own.

The John Innes recipe is perfect, but can be difficult to get it all together…

2 parts sterilized loam
1 part moss peat alternative 
1 part sharp sand

The loam and peat is put through in 3/8 in (9mm) sieve.

To each 36 L  add:

1-2 oz (42gm) superphosphate
1/2 oz Potassium nitrate
4-6 oz (21gm) ground limestone

I prefer to purchase sowing compost, as one small sack is usually enough, keeping home-made compost for the potting on process.

Once seeds are sorted and new ones added to the stock, it’s time to get sowing.

Success is all as the season can be delayed!

At this time I also clean the tunnel plastic to ensure maximum light penetration.

Daylight is now increasing by over a minute a day!

A good tidy up of the garden begins around this time, especially in the west of Ireland as Spring is about a month earlier in the gardening calendar.

This is measured on charts from Wisley in the SE of England and is in line with the Cornwall temperatures, due to the effect of the Gulf Stream.

Once the first signs of Spring appear, it is as though a magic wand has been cast over the landscape, with each day being a new day of discovery.

Sometimes there happens a snowfall that appears to set everything back, but in the absence of a deep and lingering freeze, it is very temporary indeed!

Pruning fruit trees and trees in general can be done before the sap starts to rise.

However, and this is from my own experience, Birch trees are known to rise sap very early on in the year, so do not cut as this can lead to the tree bleeding to death!

I encountered this much to my own grief…

In short, just because it’s cold and wintry at present, be aware that Nature’s clock is ticking and, if like me, you garden alone, there’s simply not enough hours in the day! Happy gardening!

Please note there are seeds available from Bealtaine Cottage…here’s the link:

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

Many are perfect food providers for Bees…remember the Bees in your garden planning this year!

Posted in Earth, Gardening, Growing Food, healing, Mother earth, Permaculture, PermaGoddess

Permaculture Works…A Ten Year Transformation!

Just over ten years ago I bought a derelict cottage standing on three acres of wet, rush-infested, north-facing land.

This is how I transformed it, using only Permaculture and my own labour.

See for yourself and share the magic!

Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage Feb 2012

Windchimes at Bealtaine Cottage

Bealtaine Cottage before permaculture

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Bealtaine Cottage wheelbarrow to compost heap

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Bealtaine Cottage sign

Manifesting the Divine Feminine

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Year One…the pond and stream beds were dug and the water has flowed ever since!

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www.bealtainecottage.com

Looking out on a May evening...
Looking out on a May evening…

For the past fifteen or so years, Mother Earth has been communicating with us in a powerful and energetic way.

She wants us to plant her, nurture her and most of all recognise her for the Great Mother she is.

I heard her over ten years ago.

I write about her and photograph her magical ways every day, uploading to bealtainecottage.com several times a week, to be her voice and advocate.

The energy is quickening.

We live in wonderful times.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Edible Gardens, Food, Gardening, Herbs, Inspiration, Organic Garden, Recipes, Thoughts, Uncategorized

20 Day Juice Fast…Final Day!

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Dropping 13lbs in 9 days has been one of the extraordinary benefits of the Juice Fast I have been on.

Deciding to embark on a total reboot of my system has been what I can only describe as “liberating!”

This is my first glass of juice of the day and has all the ingredients shown in the pics below…

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Ginger, Cabbage, Cucumber, Orange and Lime…plus…

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Carrot and Courgette…sometimes Beetroot, but not today! Plus…

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Peppers and lots of herbs and greens from the garden…

Lemon Balm, Parsley, Rocket, Golden Oregano…

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With lots of Mint!

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Cleaning the machine straight away after use makes it an easy task…just rinse and leave to dry!

www.bealtainecottage.comI checked myself out with the Doctor after a few days and all was well.

My energy levels are good, though the first three days were tough!

www.bealtainecottage.comDuring this time I suffered headaches and tiredness, as my body came off the caffeine and wheat.

This disappeared after the initial three days and since then I have been feeling fabulous!

www.bealtainecottage.comMy tips for success:

Take time off work to start this as the first three days can be hard and you will want to sleep!

Keep busy…have books to read, walks to go on etc.,

www.bealtainecottage.com

This is a good time to de-junk your life…start with clearing out cupboards, wardrobes etc.

This is what I have kept busy with and the feeling of clearing space is wonderful!

www.bealtainecottage.comFinally, I must add that I have never slept as well or as deeply, though keeping warm is essential, especially in the evenings!

Blessings XXX Colette

UPDATE… 2nd June, Day 12. Energy levels good. Skin clear. Eyes bright. Sleeping well. Total weight loss: 15lbs

UPDATE: 10th June, Day 20! On this final day I am so very happy that I took on this challenge!

It has been one of the best things I have ever done!

I’ve never felt this good and have lost a grand total of 20 lbs!

I shall continue from next week juice fasting 2 days out of every week until all my surplus lbs have gone.

I am now a totally committed Vegan!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers, Woodland

The Permaculture Challenge

IMG_0057This is the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding.

IMG_0002It’s hard to believe that ten years ago this was a desolate cottage on three acres of the poorest agriculture land imaginable.

permaculture at Bealtaine CottageWet, north-facing, thin, dauby soil promised little in the way of growing.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt was a challenge few in their right minds would have contemplated, let alone sink their life savings into, as well as borrowing from the bank!

DSCF1274But, I fell in love with the land, for it looked immeasurably forlorn and abandoned.

www.bealtainecottage.comMy approach was simple…it was holistic, nothing was separated or apart…all was connected and that included being connected to me, as the new caretaker and caregiver.

www.bealtainecottage.comI have never taken a Permaculture course, but read every book on the subject and applied the principles. Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 015As a teacher I had created environmental gardens in primary school grounds in London, bringing Mother Nature to children living, in many cases, remote from Mother Nature and all her wonders!

www.bealtainecottage.comIn the early days I was physician and surgeon, intensive care nurse and visitor, channeling all my energy and hope into the sick land.

DSCF0813Working on my own was a blessing, for the land took all my time and love.

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After ten years, this once barren little place is one of the most fertile and productive pieces of land in all of Ireland…in fact I would like to issue a challenge to The Botanical Gardens in Dublin and it is this: Bealtaine Cottage has more biodiversity in it’s flora and fauna than the Botanical Gardens, Dublin!

Dog Daisy benchVisit and prove me wrong!

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And in the beginning there was only this…

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Posted in Bees, Cottage, Ecology, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Summer, Trees

Gardens in Early May

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Growth in the gardens has really taken off!

Kanzan Cherry and Purple Beech
Kanzan Cherry and Purple Beech

I was away for the weekend in Belfast and returned last night.

Euphorbia and Purple Beech
Euphorbia and Purple Beech

Making coffee and doing my early morning stroll of the gardens, coffee in one hand and camera in the other, it was a revelation…everything has grown and spread since Friday!

Fuchsia, Poppy and Lady's Mantle
Fuchsia, Poppy and Lady’s Mantle

No wonder, as a mix of rain and warmth has created the perfect conditions for plants.

Clematis, planted last year on the north-facing wall of the cottage...ready to bloom!
Clematis, planted last year on the north-facing wall of the cottage…ready to bloom!

It’s always a pleasure to walk out on a May morning.

DSCF1441It is primarily because of the growth as we ascend towards Midsummer.

By the east gable wall this morning.
By the east gable wall this morning.

The days continue to stretch before us and the promise of Summer holds sway.

Aqilegia under Fuchsia
Aqilegia under Fuchsia

Nights are shorter and days grow longer…

DSCF1460Enjoy the rest of the pics!

Blessings XXX Colette

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It's easy to believe in Fairies...isn't it?
It’s easy to believe in Fairies…isn’t it?

 

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Earth, Edible Gardens, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Building Resilience


www.bealtainecottage.comSoil is being depleted at a rate never before encountered on Mother Earth.


www.bealtainecottage.comPlants can only upload minerals from the soil and if they are absent from the soil, then the plants, that make up our fruit and vegetables will be nutritionally deficient!

About 10% of the land on the planet feeds the entire population.

www.bealtainecottage.comA 1992 Earth Summit Report stated that American soils, for example, are now 85% depleted of the essential minerals and elements conducive to growing healthy fruit and vegetables.

Considering the fact that this report was published over twenty years ago, the soil would  now be considered to be useless in terms of growing healthy food.

That leaves many people in a state of undernourishment.

www.bealtainecottage.comI suggest you look into this for yourselves, to understand the full extent of nutritional depletion in the food we buy.

Type the words : soil depletion, into your search engine and YouTube, to be surprised and shocked!

So what do we do about this problem?

www.bealtainecottage.comWell, here at Bealtaine Cottage, the answer I have implemented over the past ten years, has been to continually mulch and build up the soil, all over the three acres of Ireland of which I am guardian.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis method uses tons of biomass, which I grow on the land, shred, then compost or spread directly onto beds.

You can see the bed I covered in cardboard, compost and shreddings last autumn.

The light material is shredded willow on cardboard for access paths.

The beds themselves will be heaped up with even more compost before planting out!

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is carbon neutral and requires no shipping or transportation…it can be grown on site! 

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is all biologically-produced matter based in carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, so even dredging the ponds of weed will provide nutritive mass for the soil!

This pile of clippings will be shredded to produce more biomass to be added to the soil, building up a nutrient rich, resilient land!

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If you would like to be a part of this community, please consider joining us…

To subscribe to this Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website, a small donation of 12 euros, will add your name to the subscriber list. You will then receive the full blog as published twice each week. This amounts to 104 per year at a cost of 12 cents each!

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Posted in Abundance, Animals, Birds, Cats, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Summer, Wine

A Year at Bealtaine…part 3

Poppies in Permaculture

2013 moved from Spring to summer with ease and Poppies jostled with one another for space in the beds.

potager beds at bealtaine cottage after the rainThe potager beds were extended and two more were constructed.

angel at bealtaine cottageAquilegia and Valerian ignored the seasons and came up together, surrounding the porch with delicate shades of pink and purple.

bealtaine cottage permaculture gardensIt was a frenzy of colour!

roses on verandaThe roses made their appearance on the veranda, more abundant than ever!

dealing with slugs, the seaweed methodMy friends Terri and Lol brought me masses of seaweed from their beautiful Clifden in Connemara and it was spread all over the potager beds!

Sammy Bear and meSammy-Bear turned from a rather naughty kitten into an even naughtier cat!

Roses at Bealtaine CottageVisitors had to dodge the low-hanging flowers and…

Apples growing in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottageemerging fruit!

bird bath in pollarded Sycamore at Bealtaine CottageBird baths were sat into trees for the rather hot birds…

Car-boy of blackcurrant must for wineand Blackcurrant wine was started off in the glass carboy.

demijohn of blackcurrant wineThen transferred to a demijohn to sit out the next few months on the kitchen windowsill.

Roses at the back of Bealtaine Cottage todayThe heat of summer continued and the well ran dry!

Bealtaine Cottage signBealtaine Cottage basked in the sun and heat, as I carted water up from a spring well lower down the land.

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage todayRose petals fell like confetti all over the veranda…it was lovely!

bealtaine Cottage this eveningOx-Eye Daisies flourished everywhere!

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageSammy-Bear cooled off by rolling in the dirt path in the tunnel and getting absolutely filthy!

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageChe-Mousey found a cool spot in the shade of the laurel arch.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningIt was sheer abundance!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.And the summer rolled on…

Gosh…almost there…part 4 methinks!

Blessings from Bealtaine XXX

Posted in Abundance, Angels, Bealtaine Cottage, Christmas, Country Living, Fracking, Gardening, Gardens, Permaculture

Penny Power

Angel in the snow at Bealtaine CottageThe important fact is that we are amazingly powerful as consumers.

Spinning wheel and craft studio at Bealtaine Cottage I refuse to give money to any corporation or anyone who is involved in the rape of Mother Earth.

Christmas Angel 2012I don’t use gas in my cottage, not even a lighter, for I refuse to support fracking.

yuletide tree decked with lights at Bealtaine CottageThat is my bottom line and what I work towards with all the energy I have…bit by bit…

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureI believe in Penny Power, for as one of the biggest supermarkets in the UK and Ireland says in their advertising, “Every Little Helps!”

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureAnd with the small amount of money I have, bit by bit!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture catWhen I was transforming this cottage and land by planting, it was done bit by bit, tree by tree, plant by plant…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture wood burning stoveThe effect was cumulative, for every little bit helps…doesn’t it?

Bealtaine Cottage 006With enough people withdrawing their money, from the destroyers of our planet…

Tying Willow from the Permaculture gardensAnd empowering themselves and others,we will see real change…bit by bit!

Jan 12 Bealtaine permaculture 015Now, that’s what I call power!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Cottage, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Permaculture in Ireland, Permaculture Ireland, Roscommon, Sligo

The Romance of Gardening…falling for Gaia

A love story in pictures…

The misty hill of Ballyfermoyle***

Petunias in pot on veranda table***

Entrance to the Fairy Wood***

The Lodge at Bealtaine Cottage***

Roses on veranda at bealtaine cottage today***

Angel on Midsummer morning***

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driveway at bealtaine Cottage***Sunset through the trees at Bealtaine Cottage***

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Pond in May at Bealtaine Cottage***

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Bee on Lunaria flower at Bealtaine Cottage***

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Buddha under the Laurel arch at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens***

Mist and trees in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine Cottage***

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Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage***

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Angel in the snow at Bealtaine Cottage

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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

Posted in Bees, Cats, Gardening, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Trees, Wildlife

Coppicing Trees for Future Forests

Dwarf sunflower at Bealtaine Cottage

The day is warm and still.

flower arrangementThere’s a hint of early autumn in the air.

coppicing birch trees in the permaculture gardensI have been working in the gardens, coppicing trees.

This morning I coppiced this lovely Birch tree.

The trunk remains growing about a metre or so from the earth and will rapidly produce several new stems, that will thicken up to give even more wood for the cottage in a few short years.

Che Mousey Bear relaxes on the benchCoppicing was carried out on all medieval woodlands and is the reason why there are so many old trees in counties of England.

coppicing at Bealtaine CottageCoppicing regularly will enable a tree to live for several thousand years!

The main stem will be sawn into small logs and stored in the barn.

Shredding tree branches to use as mulchThe remaining small branches are shredded and used as a mulch on the Potager Beds! So everything is returned to the Earth.

Trees are a direct way of enabling the harvest of solar energy.cats at Bealtaine CottageMeanwhile,

Missy Cat lounges on the gravelas I worked, the cats relaxed, as only they can do…

bees on NasturtiumsAnd the bees kept working…

Bealtaine Cottage verandaAnd the morning drifted effortlessly…

fennelinto a beautiful afternoon…

Garden steps

Posted in Current Affairs, Edible Gardens, Frugal Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Politics, Thoughts

How to Change the World, Starting Today…

Roses open at Bealtaine Cottage todayMany people are feeling dis-empowered and frustrated at the way the world around them seems to be disintegrating.

Rosa Rugosa in bloom at Bealtaine CottageIt is the role of mainstream media to keep you locked in that paradigm, for it is much easier to control and influence those who feel helpless and dis-empowered…ask any victim of domestic violence or bullying!

Pyracantha in flower today in the permaculture gardensYou would be truly shocked to realise how much power you really have!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine CottageYou can reclaim your power, along with your humanity, in just a few short steps…steps that will lead you on to bigger and better things!

Change the world, starting today, with just a few, very small changes…

veranda at Bealtaine Cottage, July 2013Buy local.

If we are merely consumers, then exercise your power daily and often.

Count how much you refused to give to the corporations…for they are definitely counting!

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageBe frugal.

Our grandparents were actively encouraged by government to be frugal during the war years of WW2 and how many times have you heard them say that those times were happier and more fulfilling…

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayConsume less.

Processed, TV dinners and junk food is killing us…return to the art of cooking and eating at a dining table.

Clean out wardrobes and closets.

Give away or sell what is surplus to your quality of life.

cable Table in the gardenWalk more.

Don’t just drive into town where parking meters are waiting to gobble up your precious pennies…park on the outskirts and walk in.

You will meet other people, enjoy your surroundings and get some good exercise, as well as save money and avoid the stress of parking wardens!

Potager beds at Bealtaine CottageGrow food.

The social life on Allotments and Community Gardens is fantastic!

Drying Garlic at Bealtaine CottageTurn off TV.

Enough said!

Bench and Ox-Eye daisies at Bealtaine CottageSpeak out.

Find out the email addresses of local and national newspapers and fire off the regular broadside at them, about issues you feel concerned about.

You have a voice, use it!

Bealtaine Cottage courtyardHarass politicians!

Your local and national politicians are happy to engage with you at election time and expect you to be quiet and timid for the duration of their office…time to change that, don’t you think? 

Posted in Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Herbs, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Seeds, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Spring

Sowing Seeds and Dividing Plants in the Permaculture Gardens

frost through the window of the porch at Bealtaine CottageUploaded another video this morning, showing some of the productive gardens and what’s happening!

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You can view the video by clicking on this link…

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Most of the perennials are pushing their way through the soil and this is a really good time to divide and spread.

This will be the main stem of my work over the weekend.

Cottage interior, Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandThe frost descended overnight and left everything a little shocked with the cold, but the heat of the morning will rectify that.

I’m continuing to post out seeds and wanted to add a few pointers about sowing the seeds.

Bealtaine Cottage sowing seedsI follow a basic guide that suits most of what I sow…

*Cover the seed with its own depth of soil…if the seed is tiny, then just a sprinkle of fine compost will do. Bigger seeds, more depth of cover.

Bealtaine Cottage sowing seeds*Sow in modules or small pots of watered compost, place the seed on top and cover as directed. Mist with water to dampen the top and cover with a sheet of paper to keep the moisture in and stop the seeds from drying out.

*Keep an eye on the seeds and remove the paper once growth appears.

Bealtaine Cottage plant nursery*Watch for roots coming through at the bottom. As they appear, pot on into a bigger pot. I do this until the plant is big enough to withstand the hungry slugs. Slugs only really like tiny, tender baby plants!

*I plant out towards the end of May when the danger of night frost has passed. If I do decide to chance it, then I cover with fleece at night.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds in JuneThis Summer I intend to dry a lot of Herbs, as many of you have asked me to post out herbs from Bealtaine Cottage.

I am posting out packs this morning and fast running out of supplies!

If anyone wants seeds, just go to the link on the side of this page…

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Posted in Food, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Perennial Vegetables in a Permaculture Garden

Bealtaine Cottage summer in the permaculture tunnelOne of the interesting aspects of growing food is the continual study of plants and what grows where, how and why. 

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds in permaculture gardenI keep records of all I grow as the seasons progress and notice how the environment changes as trees and shrubs grow taller and more dense each year, creating micro-climates, where it is possible to grow all manner of fruit and vegetables that before seemed almost impossible!

Bealtaine Cottage wheelbarrow to compost heapAlso, the manner in which things grow.

I made a short video today on Purple Sprouting Broccoli, originally planted as an annual vegetable but since has developed into a perennial vegetable…fascinating to record!

Missy and the potager garden Bealtaine Cottage Over recent days I have been cutting back and shredding, spreading the chips on the soil around trees, fruit and vegetables.

I noticed how warm the soil was in certain areas of the garden compared to others.

Missy and the potager garden Bealtaine Cottage I then looked at what was growing, as well as other factors affecting the conditions, including aspect.

Some of the conclusions I reached include facts like, stones create heat.

Dry soil heats faster than wet soil.

Hedgerows are such efficient windbreaks that the air on the shelter side is always a few degrees higher than on the wind side.

The area around a wood pile is always warmer and more fertile.

The list goes on…

Bealtaine Cottage veranda and courtyardAnd as for the perennial vegetables, most have the ability to become perennial, if given the right growing conditions.

Bealtaine Cottage plants and logsSo, the more micro climates you create in your garden, the more possible perennials you will have.

Bealtaine cottage Permaculture GardensAlso, many annuals take on an aspect of perennial if allowed to self-seed, so stop being so tidy!

Bealtaine Cottage verandas and plantsI scattered the seed of Aquilegia once only, some nine years ago, and now have Aquilegia all over the upper gardens.

The same goes for Lunaria, Feverfew and Nasturtium.

bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardens IrelandIf you want a garden of abundance and perennial growth, lay off the Roundup and watch how Nature does it!

Mother always knows best!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Garden, Gardening, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Spring, Uncategorized

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage in February

Stone Circle at Bealtaine Cottage

The strength of the sun shining on the stone circle is quite powerful.

No need to wear a coat today as I work in the permaculture gardens.

Frost that had settled on the roof of the cottage during the night dissipated early as the sun rose and illuminated the trees.

re-cycled tile floor in Bealtaine CottageAt this time of year the change in the seasons can be quite dramatic as the sun warms the interior of the cottage, making the need for  a fire to be set in the stove unnecessary.

Euphorbia at Bealtaine CottageNear the back of the cottage, Euphorbia begins to make a show.

The yellow and lime green aliens will be making an appearance very soon!

This is the time to sow seeds and chit early potatoes, so there’s lots of work in the tunnel.

There’s heaps of Willow still to be cut.

Woolen gloves, hand knitted at Bealtaine CottageI’m busy indoors knitting finger-less gloves for sale in my Etsy shop.

To order only…already knitting a pair for a friend who has coveted these…they are immensely warm!

As well as that I am sorting through my extensive library…books are taking over the cottage, so it may be time to offer some for sale in the Etsy shop.

Rhubarb in a permaculture gardenRhubarb is making progress and a crumble looks to be fixed on the March horizon!

Willow wigwam in a permaculture garden in FebruaryI made a willow wigwam the other day and put up a short video about it on YouTube.

This one will be used to support beans in one of the potager beds this summer.

Now is the time to plant willow in your garden!Full Moon at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Last night was a full moon and it was very cold…a reminder for me to close the doors of the tunnel before it gets dark!Bealtaine Cottage Kilronan Mountain in Feb

And looking forward to another beautiful morning in this special time before the Equinox.

Don’t Forget to visit the Bealtaine Cottage Shop on Etsy

http://www.etsy.com/shop/BealtaineCottage

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Posted in Badgers, biodiversity, Birds, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Trees, Uncategorized

Permaculture Brings Hope…before and after images!

It’s been almost nine years since I began planting this smallholding in the west of Ireland. Before permaculture. Bealtaine CottageMany of you are familiar with the landscape as it looked then.

The picture above shows Bealtaine Cottage after a lot of cutting and clearing, around the time that the planting began. June 2011 permaculture cottage 021

This picture shows the same view today.

As you can see, the cottage is obscured…melting into the gardens of intense production.

Bealtaine Cottage before and after

The lonely, abandoned cottage on the first day I saw it.

Bealtaine Cottage driveway

Disappeared into the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…nine years of planting by one woman and a spade!

Installin permaculture pond at Bealtaine CottageThis picture shows the Bog Garden after the first pond was created and the surrounding land cleaned up for planting.

Photographs taken at the time depict a barren looking, rushy, wet landscape that offered little hope or sanctuary for gardeners, growers, wildlife or Nature.

Permaculture Cottage July 2011 016The same view down to the pond is obscured with dense and abundant planting.

This nine year journey has opened my eyes and my mind to the problems facing the entire planet in terms of food production, sustainable living and facilitating Nature.

The answer is simple.

June 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 023Plant!

As the planting develops, so fertility returns to the land.

Tree planting at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture 015Birds choose to set up home nearby.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture March 2011 016Frogs, Toads and Newts find their way to your pond and start to breed.

wild orchids at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture 019Wild flowers make a show…like these wild Orchids.

apple trees at Bealtaine Permaculture Cottage July 2011 011Fruit trees and bushes grow and give you fruit…more than what can be harvested!

tunnel at Bealtaine cottage005Micro-climates evolve as everything grows.

June 2011 Permaculture 002Fuel is harvested.

Small mammals settle into chosen areas…there is a Badger set at Bealtaine Cottage now.

veranda at Bealtaine CottageYour body becomes attuned to the seasons and good health follows.

The best part of all this, is that although permaculture requires  labour to set up, it is maintained with minimal work and attention.

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Posted in Abundance, Baking, Cats, celebrations, Cottage, Country Living, Food, Garden, Gardening, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thrift

Eight Ways To Live a Better Life

This is not a check-list.

It is not about ways to recycle or buy greener energy.

There is enough advice out there for you to check out.

Lists are good for remembering things in a hurry and ensuring everything is done, completed, bought…

This is simpler and permanent.

It is what I have learned about living as lightly as possible on this beautiful Earth.

These small bits of advice are not in any particular order, but as I think of them and how they have made a difference to my life…


*** Re-claim and nurture knowledge.

Talk with older, wiser people.

Keep a notebook of knowledge.

Bealtaine Cottage May 2012 013

I have tapes I recorded of my grandmother talking to me about her life and feelings on so many different and intriguing things.

I talked lots with my mother,  pictured above at Bealtaine Cottage.

Mum learned from me too…we exchanged ideas a lot.

Staying at Bealtaine enabled Mum to develop her love for Earth too.

***Develop a close and binding relationship with Mother Earth, through a closer contact with Nature.

www.bealtaine cottage.com

We are of the Earth and we will return to the Earth and are as much a part of the cycle of life as the seasons.

***Turn off the television, or even get rid of it, and nurture silence, peace, communicating, reading, listening…for all these will allow YOU to live instead of living life through a screen.


***Sow and plant food, flowers, trees…whatever your space allows and if space is limited, rent an allotment.

If allotments are in short supply or non-existent, pester your local council to provide them!

***Re-learn to love food!

Cooking, baking, tasting, canning, making wine and cordials, sharing…food is the one part of living everyone shares.

It is a great common denominator.

Food brings people together…it certainly used to!

Home made wine in demijohnsBealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Banish TV dinners!

Decorate your dining table, no matter how small, with a vase of seasonal greenery.

Use table mats and fine crockery for the beautiful food you make.

Xmas eve Dec 11 001

Light a candle on your table…celebrate the fruits of the Earth and reject the poisonous, tasteless garbage of the corporation!

***Practice kindness.

Kindness towards others and oneself.

I love the concept of “Random Acts of Kindness.”

***Our grandparents used their acquired skills to make their living environments easier and more beautiful…sewing, carpentry, kitting, painting…whatever you are good at, keep at it and teach others!

I have recently learnt to make willow baskets and will be able to pass this skill on.

***De-clutter your life!

This is a mantra I say to myself.

Less really is more.

************************************

Posted in Climate, Cottage, Country Living, Gardening, Growing Food, hens, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Eggs For Swap and other interesting ideas!

Despite the worst of the weather over the past two months, the raised beds planted out about eight weeks ago are producing abundantly!

Continual rain has not deterred production.

Even the grey skies have not stopped or slowed down growth…could this be anything to do with the stones used in constructing the beds and the white gravel which reflects whatever light there may be?

It certainly is a most unusual micro-climate that has been made here in the west of Ireland.

The beds themselves sit atop gravel, so are really well-drained.

They are lined along the bottom with sheep’s wool, which deters slugs and feeds the plants.

The area is well sheltered and south facing.

No harsh winds manage to invade this micro-climate area as the surrounding trees and bushes offer maximum protection.

Today’s video takes you around what is growing in the two beds.

You can click on the link at the bottom of this blog to access the video on YouTube!

I have plans to build another raised bed in this same area very soon…perhaps this week.

On another note entirely, I went along to the Boot-Sale in Carrick this morning and bought a fine addition to the kitchen, as you can see above, for a mere 20 euros!

Recycling at it’s best!

I am planning to get some hens this week and my dear friends Anne and Simon have offered me a fine cockerel to chaperone the girls.

I am making a sign to hang at the end of the lane…it will read, “Eggs For Swap” as swapping is much more beneficial than money!

I’m thinking, perhaps a bag of logs for some deliciously fresh eggs…or whatever is offered within reason…anyway, it should be much more fun than boring old money!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmg9_FJspwE

Posted in Abundance, biodiversity, Country Living, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Life, Lifestyle, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Seed-Saving the Easy Way…

Working in the tunnel today.

Much clearing and preparing the beds for the Autumn and early winter cycle of growing.

It’s well worth planting anything at this time of the year, as there is a harvest from what would be ordinarily thrown onto the compost heap.

I had several tomato plants that were sitting around, looking quite forlorn, so I planted them into the spaces left by clearing.

There’s bound to be a few tomatoes offered up to a decent salad!

Much of what is in the tunnel has been left to seed, so at this point it makes a good addition to the compost and the video explains why and how.

Even though the day has been has been grey and wet, it’s been lovely working in the stillness in the tunnel…contemplative and dry!

Today’s video…all about natural seed saving…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h78I26NNzAI