Posted in Abundance, Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Climate, compost, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Vegan

The Permaculture Loop of Plenty!

bealtaine cottageHarvesting continues from the Potager beds.

It’s worth noting that theses productive little beds, built near the back of the cottage, straight onto gravel, have no soil in them whatsoever!

Soil is precious here in North Roscommon and the land is rushy and wet, so I filled the beds with home-made cold compost and shredding…I continue to build up the structure with shredding, made in my little electric shredder!

bealtaine cottageThe beds carry a lot of food in them still, due to the close planting system I use…as food and flowers are harvested, other plants spread themselves out and the gaps are quickly filled with seasonal planting.

Garlic will be planted out over the weekend in this bed.

bealtaine cottageLoads of material is then transported over to the growing compost heap…and so the cycle of life continues in a wonderful loop of plenty!

bealtaine cottageThe huge Sunflower head will yield a generous amount of seeds…I use these in Oat Smoothies, an important part of a healthy diet.

bealtaine cottageRudbeckia, Marigolds and Evening Primrose continue to bring colour and delight to the Potager Beds as they’re cleared, providing food for many visiting insects.

bealtaine cottageThere is a good amount of herbs around the edges of this bed.

They like the micro-climate afforded them by the stones, as well as the good drainage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Apples continue to plump out, surviving the storm of last weekend by virtue of the fact they are all very sheltered.

This is an important aspect to growing apples in the west of Ireland, as many storms blow in from the western seaboard at a terrifying speed, decimating fruit production that’s in any way exposed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Today is a fine day with clear skies and strong sunlight…this will help the tomatoes in one of the baskets to ripen, the salad tomatoes! it’s such a pleasure to be outdoors on days like today…one of the last flings of Summer as she goes on her wilful way!

www.bealtainecottage.com 006The hips of the Rosa Rugosa hang heavy over the path.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010“The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” continues…

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Posted in Abundance, Eco-Living, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Food Freedom ~ Making Blackcurrant Cordial ~ Bealtaine Cottage

Blackcurrants are coming into ripeness.

With the potential of doubling the harvest from last year, I am looking at a possible 200-250 lbs of Blackcurrants.

These are some I picked this morning.

In previous years I have made jams and wines, but this year I have decided to make Blackcurrant Cordial.

After boiling with water, I strained them overnight by hanging a clean pillowcase from this upside down stool, filled with the stewed blackcuckcurrants and water.

It was left to drip overnight into a clean bucket.

This morning it was mixed well with the sugar, then bottled.

The bottles were all corked and topped…these will now keep all winter and through next Spring, ensuring a good supply of top notch blackcurrant cordial, with only organically grown fruit, spring water and sugar as the ingredients…the corporation food pales into insignificance!

The girls ate the leftovers…yum, yum! Nice eggs to come!

I washed the pillowcase out in a bucket of spring water outside and guess what was left in the water?

Lots of blackcurrant seeds, that when emptied over the garden, grow these…Blackcurrant bushes…a perfect permaculture cycle of life!

Almost forgot…here’s the recipe!

Blackcurrant Cordial

1 kilo Blackcurrants

600 mls water

Simmer together for 45 mins.

Strain juice, as above, overnight.

Next morning add 1 kilo of sugar to every litre of juice.

Stir in well.

Bottle.

(You can adjust the sugar, I have a sweet tooth)!