Why Save Seed?

All seed-saving at Bealtaine Cottage helps to preserve heirloom seeds’ genetic diversity! This is Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria. This 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. This 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! Saving seed also makes one value the pollinators, especially the Bees…for without their incredible work there would not be any seed to collect!  During the 1900’s we…

Move to Higher Ground

We are facing a multitude of crises at this time. War, austerity, climate change, environmental disaster…the list goes on.  Each month seems to bring a stronger cumulative effect in how we are perceiving the world around us…many feel threatened and some even feel doomed. It has been quite some time now since the cost of petrol at the pump has dropped, in fact the opposite has happened, as the cost has climbed steadily, week on week. This tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we have reached Peak oil and there will never again be affordable car travel for the…

Permaculture Place to Stay in Ireland

Bealtaine Cottage is a Permaculture Smallholding in the West of Ireland that has been developed from barren land over the past ten years. As a way of spreading the permaculture message of hope and regeneration, the gardens and cottage have remained open to visitors from all over the world during this time. Many visitors have spoken of their wish to be able to stay at Bealtaine Cottage and have invariably had to seek accommodation at local B&B homes. This is the Lodge,  dedicated for anyone who wishes to stay and spend more time than just a visit to Bealtaine Cottage….

New Permaculture Orchard

Last year I planted a new orchard at Bealtaine Cottage. To date there are thirty eight fruit trees planted across the three acres of land here. This new orchard was planted on an area previously fenced off and used for hens over a period of years. This is always a good start, as the land was prepared by the hens in terms of manuring and picking over. Before the trees were planted I laid down a generous spread of seaweed and covered this with cardboard, to hold back the weeds for a year or so. Over the morning I have…

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…

Bottling Summer

The old tin bath has been taken down from the wall of the barn. Used wine bottles are left to steep for a few hours in rainwater. Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine. There is always at least one day during the Summer, when one feels enthusiastic enough to overcome the reluctance to get stuck into bottling wine…today, all the right chords were struck and the work began! Cork stoppers were duly washed and left to soak and soften, till, finally… the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!…

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…

Lower The Lifeboats!

The economic crisis, that became evident to all in October 2008, has never really been discussed in the mainstream media. Much of what could, and should, have been put in place by national governments, to ameliorate the dreadful effects of this crisis, have been blatantly air-brushed from the media and political debate! We continue to be sold the illusion of full employment for all. As direct fallout from the media hype around this lie, many people are feeling inadequate and hopeless, believing it to be their fault that they are job-less. The media has demonized the unemployed and disabled, citing examples of…