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

Using Seaweed in the Garden

DSC01294

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 Fairies, History, Inspiration, Life, Poetry, Sligo, Spirituality, Uncategorized

The High Cross of Saint Colmcille under Ben Bulben.

A day away from my permaculture smallholding, to visit the beach of Streedagh, in Sligo.

On the journey to the ocean, I stopped off at Drumcliffe to visit the grave of William Butler Yeats.

Yeats lies in the little churchyard beside the church where his grandfather was once a clergyman.

This was once an early Christian site of
major significance.

It founded by St. Colmcille in A.D. 575 – the round tower and high cross, as you can see above, still remain.

Saint Colmcille is remembered  for his part in the ‘ Battle of the Books’.

Colmcille copied a book while a guest
of St. Finian’s.

Finian claimed the copy as well as the book, but Colmcille refused.

Here you can see the beach of Streedagh and the mountain of Ben Bulben in the background.

Yeats lies in the churchyard at the foot of this great mountain.

Anyway, on with the story…The dispute was brought
to the High King of Ireland whose edict was: ‘To every cow its calf and to every book its copy’.

In consequence, in 561 AD, the High King and Colmcille engaged in battle on the slopes of Benbulben.

Aided by an angel, Colmcille won.

Thousands of men were slain and the King forced to concede the copy of the
psalter to Colmcille.

Stricken by remorse after the Battle of the Books,  Colmcille confessed and
was banished to Iona, Scotland, in 563 AD.

His penance was to convert more people to Christ than had
fallen at Culdreimhne.

Here is the poem by Yeats, “Under Ben Bulben.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXoM0Ze-9xE

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Climate, Earth, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardening, Growing Food, History, Ireland, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Stormy Evening at the Cottage

A storm is making its way in from the Atlantic as I write this and a cold wind blows through the window. I took these pics earlier today when it was positively hot and humid. It’s strange how quickly the weather can change! The ground is very dry, the spring well runs low and lots of rain is needed, so I am happy to see the storm blow in!

Painted Mountain Corn, Poppies and Feverfew are jostling for space in the tunnel. Still high summer in many respects and flowers continue to bud and bloom.

Here in Ireland, Corn, or Maize is usually called “sweet corn”. Sweet corn is harvested earlier and eaten as a vegetable rather than a grain. This one that I am growing is from the Native American seed bank of Corn, known as “Painted Mountain.”Corn has shallow roots and is susceptible to droughts, intolerant of nutrient-deficient soils, and prone to be uprooted by severe winds, so growing it in the protective atmosphere of the tunnel makes good sense.

It has taken two years, but finally, the Leek has seeded, with multiple seed heads like this one…really ornamental and worth growing on as flowers I think!  Leeks are easy to grow from seed and tolerate standing in the ground for an extended harvest. Leeks usually reach maturity in the autumn months, and they have few pest or disease problems. Leeks can be bunched and harvested early when they are about the size of a finger or pencil, or they can be thinned and allowed to grow to a much larger mature size. Really tasty in soups, so I’m inclined to leave them in the ground and pull them as needed.

Leek is typically chopped into slices 5–10 mm thick. The slices have a tendency to fall apart, due to the layered structure of the leek. There are different ways of preparing the vegetable:

  • Boiled, which turns it soft and mild in taste.
  • Fried, which leaves it more crunchy and preserves the taste.
  • Raw, which can be used in salads, doing especially well when they are the prime ingredient.

The veggie garden, all new and improved with the terraced beds…just waiting to see if the terracing directs the water when a storm hits…as it may do very soon!In the Andes farmers have used terraces known as andenes for over a thousand years to farm potatoes, maize and other native crops. The Inca also used terraces for soil conservation, along with a system of canals and aqueducts to direct water through dry land and increase fertility. This has become part of the approach for growing in Permaculture…conserving and adapting to the environment as found, rather than trying to change the lay of the land!

One of the Poppies in the tunnel today, all papery and delicate…

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Current Affairs, Earth, Folklore, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Permaculture, Roscommon, Uncategorized

Jack, Bealtaine and the Ocean…Permaculture Musings from Ireland at Beltane

Drove to the ocean yesterday.

Rosses Point in Sligo on the west coast of Ireland.

It was beautiful.

Took Jack and he loved it too!

Jack approves of the sea and the sand…he got really excited!

And he even found friends on the sand…

Tonight is the Eve of Bealtaine, the eve of summer, SummerEve…

A jet in the evening sky heading into the west, probably to America.

The setting sun has illuminated the trail in the dusk.

Returning home…The lane-way at Bealtaine, now densely planted with trees and shrubs and other living things.

It is almost impossible to see the cottage!