Why Save Seed?

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All seed-saving at Bealtaine Cottage helps to preserve heirloom seeds’ genetic diversity!

This is Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria.

dsc07184This seed has adapted over twelve years to grow in difficult conditions, for as you know, it rains frequently here and the gardens are all on a north-facing slope.

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageThis is why the seed saved here, year after year, is more resilient than commercial seed, which is grown in ideal conditions for the maximum production value!

Foxglove seed Saving seed also makes one value the pollinators, especially the Bees…for without their incredible work there would not be any seed to collect! 

Lunaria seeds drying on the veranda of the LodgeDuring the 1900’s we experienced a startling drop in the number of heirloom varieties—because gardeners stopped saving and trading their own seeds.

Bealtaine Cottage SeedsHere at Bealtaine Cottage I have developed a seed bank over twelve years, adding more and more seed year on year, as the biodiversity increased similarly throughout the gardens. 

growing seeds at BealtaineWhen we rely on commercial seed companies, any seeds that sell slowly simply get dropped from production and disappear.

seedlings in tunnel at Bealtaine CottageIf you would like to support this vital work of seed-saving and building resilience for the future, consider purchasing some seed from Bealtaine Cottage…

Click on the link below to see what’s available so far… (I’m adding continually as more becomes ready to pack!) 

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

This Could Change the World!

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 of air pollution control, control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide a home for animals worth $31,250. This figure does not include the value of fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees. Just another sensible reason to take care of our forests.

From Update Forestry Michigan State University

cropped-november-2011-018.jpgGDP is one the primary indicators used to gauge the health of a country’s economy.

It represents the total dollar value of all goods produced by that country

November 2011 018But, surely, the health of an economy is as much predicated on the health of it’s people, land, air and soil, as it is on exported dollar goods?

May blossom at Bealtaine CottageCan you begin to imagine how the inclusion of all living trees could change how we regard economic health, wealth, growth and progress?

May 2011 Bealtaine Cottage 018This small step could change the world!

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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/

Know Your Seeds

August 2011 permaculture cottage 010There are basically four different kinds of seed you can purchase.

  1. Open Pollinated Seed.    Bealtaine Cottage in Ireland 001
    This is the most natural seed, simply because it has not been interfered with in any laboratory.Seed growing in the polytunnel in late April at Bealtaine Cottage
    This seed is pollinated by Nature…bees, insects and wind. Occasionally by us too as we brush up against flowers and accidentally get pollen on our clothes, carrying it to another flower and so on. Permaculture Cottage August 2011 007Sometimes we help Mother Nature a little by gently brushing the pollen from one flower to another. It’s all good! August 2011 permaculture cottage 024These seeds are what are commonly referred to more and more as “Organic” on the packaging. August 2011 permaculture cottage 010Organic seeds are fast becoming more difficult to obtain in Garden Shops etc. August 2011 permaculture cottage 008This is because the big seed companies are busy buying up the small seed companies, leaving the consumer with less and less choice!
  2. Gloria, me and FloHigh Yielding Seed.    These look attractive in the packet, with lots of blurb attached to get you to buy, but, these seeds thrive on chemicals and are sort of married to chemicals too! Definitely not organic and in many cases a danger to bees and insects.
  3. www.bealtainecottage.comHybrids.   These are actually designed not to be saved!
  4. www.bealtainecottage.com 006G.E. Seed.   Otherwise known as GM, GMO and all about genetic engineering Nature and patenting the result. These seeds are injected with chemicals and then patented by corporations such as Monsanto. Monsanto declares to be above God Almighty, by stating, and being supported by US Law, that it created the seed!

Bealtaine Cottage 2nd August 2011 Permaculture Cottage 007This is merely a guide for you to build on.

August 2011 permaculture 048Find out all you can about seed, for it is your future and that of your children.

Veranda at Bealtaine CottageVandana Shiva: The seed in its essence is all of the past evolution of the Earth, the evolution of human history, and the potential for future evolution. The seed is the embodiment of culture because culture shaped the seed with careful selection—women picked the best, diversified. So from one grass you get 200,000 rices.

That is a convergence of human intelligence and nature’s intelligence. It is the ultimate expression of life, and in our language, it means “that from which life arises on its own, forever and ever and ever.”

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July permaculture 2011 008Here at Bealtaine Cottage in the West of Ireland I save seed…grown under Permaculture conditions which seek to protect both the integrity of the seed and the environment!

Open pollinated seed is available from Bealtaine Cottage.

Click on the link below to see the current list of seed.

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

Seed the Future!

Propagator at Bealtaine CottageIn my small attempts to stand up to the Ecocidal Monsters of this world, I often feel like David (of Goliath fame), and then I am reminded of the massive opposition to Government and Corporate plans to control our planet and all the life therein!
Polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in April 2013Amazing people like Elena from Greece, who posted seeds to me  last year…one of many subscribers to Bealtaine Cottage who is doing incredible work in protecting our Seed Sovereignty, without which we have NO future at all! home made polytunnel at Bealtaine CottageElena has written to me to inform us all about what is happening in two days time!
veranda at Bealtaine CottageElena writes:I am writing now to tell you that on January 20th there will be a big demonstration outside the European Parliament in Brussels about the forthcoming seed laws (maybe you already know this, of course). Activists from all over Europe  are coming to Brussels to be there, and events are being organised around Europe on that day. I will be coordinating the Athens events – a demonstration outside parliament, all urban farms open and giving away seeds/seedlings/information packs, hopefully some media coverage, as well as Greek blogs posting something relevant to seeds on that day (a movie, a small piece of text, etc)…
I thought that maybe you could also write something specifically for seed freedom on that day, as well – although I know that you have written so much already!
have a very happy new year
with blessings from Athens
xxx
Elena
Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 003Our struggle to keep our Seed Sovereignty is ongoing, despite the small successes we have had in various government buildings.
Aug 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008The problem is there is so much wealth tied up with seeds, food and food production, the Corporations are seeking total control!
April Bealtaine Cottage 2011 004Understand that this struggle is an ongoing battle to keep the seed!
Aug 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008I have harvested seed, like this Leek seed, here at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years.
Green fennel at Bealtaine CottageI allow all the plants to seed themselves and I harvest seed every year…No government will stop me!
July permaculture 2011 008No law will prevent me posting this seed to all the world.
July 2011 Permaculture Cottage 014This is the year for you to take your future into your own hands and save seed, share seed, gift seed and talk about the seed…it is your future, it is my future.
Without it we are slaves to tyranny!
www.bealtainecottage.com 038
There is a wide selection of seeds available here at Bealtaine Cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 030If you would like some Bealtaine seeds for your own garden, then click on the link at the very top of the page.

Images on the First Morning of Lughnasa

bealtaine Cottage windowThe first day of Celtic Autumn has arrived.

It’s cool.

Last night seen the hot water bottle come out of storage and be filled.

Rudbeckia at Bealtaine CottageRudbeckia has opened its beautiful deep orange petals…a marker of the time of year. This has been grown from seed, this year.

I started it off in the tunnel in February, from seeds I collected last Autumn.

Sammy-BearAs I walked the gardens, Sammy-Bear walked in front of me, finally stopping in the tunnel and rolling in the dirt!

Sammy-BearFor a white cat, he can be a dirty little rascal at the best of times!

Sammy-Bear passing BuddhaOn the plus side, he doesn’t seem to mind the rain, so cleans up well!

bee on Lavender at Bealtaine CottageSeed-saving continues apace and the bees keep up the good work, even on a wet morning like today…

Bee on lavender at Bealtaine Cottage…this is where the tunnel works really well!

purple-Sprouting Broccoli seed headsThese are seeds from the three year old Purple Sprouting Broccoli, still in the pods, drying.

These seeds are big and plump and represent the very strongest, biggest, most productive and oldest of the Purple Broccoli.

Monsanto eat your heart out!

Pom-Pom Dahlias at Bealtaine CottagePom-Pom Dahlias are making a show of themselves.

This is the first year I have grown these.

Buddleia growing in two tyres at Bealtaine CottageThis Buddleia was grown from Bealtaine Cottage seed and planted in the tyres two years ago.

Lunaria seeds drying on the veranda of the Lodge Many followers of Bealtaine cottage ask me for Lunaria (Honesty) seeds…and here are some drying on the veranda of the Lodge, hung up last evening.

This is a nice airy place to start off the drying process, though I may need to bring them indoors, if the wet weather prevails for much longer.

Apple havest at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple harvest continues to delight as the fruit appears so healthy and untarnished for another year.

Apple harvest at Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandI NEVER spray my Apple trees, or, for that matter, ANY of the fruit trees, and am rewarded with a bountiful, healthy crop year after year!

Truly Organic!

Leaves of the Crocosmia MontbretiaThe rain settles onto the leaves of the Crocosmia Montbretia, a beautiful harbinger of Autumn!

Bealtaine CottageA pot of tea beckons…

Sammy-Bear CatSammy-Bear is sad to see me go indoors…

 

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Monsanto and Why Your Vigilance is Needed…

Vandana Shiva on GMOsWe have been informed that Monsanto are backing out of Europe.

Cottage todayWe have been told that Monsanto do not see a viable market for their GMOs in the EU.

Bealtaine CottageHowever, it is important to realise that Monsanto have cultivated friends in the highest echelons of government worldwide.

Bealtaine CottageThe EU is now officially in bed with the US administration, via the recently verified Trade Agreement.

Feverfew and tomatoesMonsanto are not going away.

The lure of money and power is too great!

Be vigilant!

David's Oak treesMonsanto have been around for some time and used to playing the long game.

Do not let your guard slip on this one.

The stakes are too high!

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Update on 2nd of August.

As I suspected…

http://rt.com/news/court-overturns-french-monsanto-ban-930/

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 100 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Always an Upside!

Feverfew and stained glassIt is very hot and very, very dry.

sedum in a tin canThe well has dropped low and trickles down to the cottage, threatening water supply to the tank in the loft.

Feverfew and DriftwoodPlants are thirsty and the rain barrels are empty.

Lysimachia Punctata and willow archA potential disaster ensues if the clouds don’t spill the rain soon!

Meadowsweet and Vetch in the Bog Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage todayHowever, there is always an upside…sometimes one just has to search around a little.

Perlagoniums on the Cable Table at Bealtaine CottageI found it!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageThis is perfect weather for harvesting seed that is ripe and there are lots of it!

Foxglove seed The seed is dry and the air is dry…that makes for perfect harvesting in my experience!

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageAnd so I harvested…

Bealtaine CottageThere is always an upside!

Black Bees, Compost and Rocket Stoves

Blue table on veranda at bealtaine cottageNasturtiums, Lobelia, Petunia, Sweet William, Perlagonium, Valerian and Night Scented Stock are jostling for space near the back door.

Roses lead the way to the new orchardAbundance reigns supreme in the gardens, as seen here in these lovely old-fashioned roses that lead the way up to the new orchard.

Bee with a black bumBees are in a frenzy over the Cotoneaster.

This is a strange bee with a black bottom half.

Black beeThe black bit appears shiny.

strange beeDo you have any idea what kind of bee this is?

cotoneaster in full bloom at Bealtaine CottageAll this buzzing guarantees lots of food for the birds over winter!

Bee on cotoneaster at Bealtaine CottageAnother lovely bee working hard here at Bealtaine Cottage this evening.

Cotoneaster and Dog daisiesThe evening is very still and warm…perfect for all the insects that work in the gardens.

Raised Potager Beds WorkshopLots of stone and wood piled up and ready for the workshop tomorrow.

These beds are very abundant and productive, considering the shallow depth and intensive planting…the weather is promised good for tomorrow!

Lysimachia Punctata in full bloom todayLysimachia Punctata is in full bloom.

This cable table has sat in the garden for eight years…great garden furniture for free!

Redcurrants today at Bealtaine cottageThe Redcurrants are almost ready to harvest.

Rose arch today at Bealtaine CottageThis is the new rose arch…first year and doing well.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe Blackcurrants are ripening and will be ready for harvesting very soon.

Tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage todaySunflowers and lots of seeds getting ready for harvesting in the tunnel in these Potager raised beds.

compost heaps todayAs I harvest the compost started last summer, a new compost heap is started.

Friday evening at bealtaineFriday evening at Bealtaine…the rocket stove is boiling the kettle for another pot of tea…could it get any better?

rocket stoveI wonder what the equivalent saving on electricity this little contraption affords?

Would this be equal to a few solar panels?

free tea Just a small matter of washing the cups…have a great weekend everyone!

Making Elderflower Cordial…Summer in a Bottle!

The Summer harvest has begun in time for the Solstice…Elderflowers are in abundance and the making of Elderflower Cordial captures the energy of the summer solstice in a bottle of sweety goodness!

30 heads of flowers, 4 lemons, boiled spring water, sugar and citric acid to preserve the cordial well into the dark days of midwinter.

It’s a very simple process.

First boil the one and half litres of water you will use, then stir this onto the 1 kilo of sugar and leave to cool.

Then grate the lemons and slice into thick slices.

Add all to the cooled sugar water, along with the Elderflowers.

Stir well.

Add 50g of citric acid and stir again.

Cover and leave to infuse for 48 hours or so, then strain through muslin and bottle in sterilized glass bottles.

Mmmmm….

Any leftover flowers can be dried in a cool oven and kept in a clean glass jar for making Elderflower tea with during the winter…

This makes a delicious, organic tea!

I love the abundance of summer…

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