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 Bealtaine Cottage, cottage life, cottage style, Country Living, de-clutter, decorating, Good Life, homesteading, Inspiration, Interior Design, Lifestyle, midwinter, Uncategorized

Cottage Makeover…Finished!

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A sneak preview of the new look Bealtaine Cottage is to be had over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website….

There are also a great many other photographic essays to view on the site…

Visit today and subscribe…

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

Posted in homesteading, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Uncategorized

How To Build Your Own Polytunnel!

The polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage has stood for eleven years, retaining it’s structure extremely well and providing all year round space for growing food. The plastic remains “as tight as a drum,” as any visitor to Bealtaine Cottage gardens will attest to.

In this blog I will endeavour to give you simple instructions on how to build your own polytunnel from scratch, as was done here…

To read more, go to Bealtaine Cottage Good life website at…

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

Posted in Gardens, homesteading, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living

One Million Celebration!

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Sometime today, Bealtaine Cottage will be viewed for the 999,999th time.

It will, thereafter, have reached one million views!

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Who would have ever thought that this little place, tucked away as it is in the West of Ireland, would have become such a beacon in these troubled times?

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I never imagined so many people would flock here to find inspiration and comfort, but they have and you continue.

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The journey continues here.

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Better ways of living with Mother Earth are under constant scrutiny and reflection.

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Visitors come and go, always taking away strategies and ideas to use, as well as plants and seeds.

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Basic concepts of sustainable living are explained…the shock of the “Compoost Loo” morphs into admiration for it’s sheer simplicity and hygiene.

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The miracle that Nature has performed here in such a short space of time becomes more visible with each photograph.

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The realisation that everything is possible when one embraces Mother Earth as a co-creator, rather than something to be abused and driven.

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I began writing about this journey and photographing Her magic back in 2011, as a way of trying to convince people that what we stand upon is part of us…we shape our world by how we live.

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Bealtaine Cottage has become a little centre of hope in a world where we are continually told we are a blight upon the Earth.

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We are not!

This is what we are capable of…helping Her to nurture us, as we in turn care for Her. Garden permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 163

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I have two websites… Bealtaine Cottage and Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

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

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life costs 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.

Making this small donation adds your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

This amounts to 104 publications per year, at a cost of 12 cents each!

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