Food in the Midwinter Garden

dsc05676

It’s surprising just how much food is growing in the gardens of Bealtaine at this time of year, the time of scarcity…but far from it!

dsc05673dsc05672dsc05671There’s the makings of a decent salad, with Fennel, Japanese salads like Mizuna and others as well as a lovely edible garnish in the form of Pansy flowers.

dsc05670dsc05675In other parts of the gardens, where little micro-climates exist in the form of stones and shed walls, there’s Flat-leaf Parsley and Thyme.

I used Thyme in roasted potatoes yesterday…delicious!

dsc05664Purple Sprouting Broccoli is giving lots of florets…delicious raw or cooked and full of goodness! dsc05663Then there’s Leeks…all grown from saved seed and the stronger for it!

dsc05662Elsewhere in the gardens I found stands of Kale…shred this in salads and roast as chip dips!

dsc05669dsc05668Here and there in the flower beds and in pots…lots of Sage and Rosemary…great herbs to add taste to root vegetables at this time of year!

dsc05666Bay is growing in abundance, quite acclimatised to the Irish climate.

dsc05674Golden Oregano continues to thrive past Midwinter.

All of this is growing outdoors, not in the tunnel and these pics were snapped today, 26th of December!

dsc05651Even the Rhubarb is beginning to produce!

dsc05642There’s lots of other food in the garden…for birds and small mammals, in the form of berries.

Seeds are available from the link below…

 

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

To join the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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

 

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

www.bealtainecottage.com

This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out!

www.bealtainecottage.com In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here!

www.bealtainecottage.comI woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all!

www.bealtainecottage.comBees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of seedlings has excelled…it appears that every seed sown has germinated!

www.bealtainecottage.com Fortunately, now that I have five beautiful hens, seedlings that are excess to requirements can simply be fed to the hens as a wonderful source of nutrition.

www.bealtainecottage.comSome of the seedlings are also used by me in salads, again a wonderful source of nutrition!

www.bealtainecottage.comSlabs of bedrock, rising out of the earth all over the land here at Bealtaine, show off their pink colour in the drying air of late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses play peek-a-boo on the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comCrocosmia show off a vibrant lime-green in the early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to blue, because…

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply cannot resist it!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe vibrant pink of this Saxifrage has found a perfect bed in the gravel driveway…another reason why tarmac is a non-starter here!

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses aren’t the only things around here playing peek-a-boo!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mist in the valley has cut off Kilronan Mountain.

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther up the gardens, behind where I now stand, Comfrey, Lovage, Fennel, Valerian and Chives are all about a foot high and looking very robust in the late Spring, early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy my feet, the Euphorbia flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd indoors, on the dresser, reminders of Spring and Easter…

www.bealtainecottage.comHappy Easter to all!

PS: Next month will the my tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today marks the 700th blog!

Permaculture Gardens

www.bealtainecottage.com

The growing season has begun, with Rhubarb sending forth strong pink stems despite the storms of recent weeks.

www.bealtainecottage.comMeanwhile, down in the Fairy Wood, ferns have kept their green in the shelter of the dell. Mosses grow bright in the sunlight and ivy twists and twirls around the Goat Willow.

www.bealtainecottage.comLots of Goat Willow has been coppiced over recent months, and although it takes a year or so to season, it makes excellent logs for the stove, giving out masses of heat for free!

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther down the gardens, Pine, laurel and Great Western Cedar all grow happily together and appear healthy in the spring sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comDaffodils are on their way to opening under the shelter of the Beech hedge. This is down beside the pond by the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd as I turn around from the Daffodils, the Ivy that hangs from some of the mature Goat Willow, swings about in the wind and sunshine…this is turning into a lovely walk around the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.comI amble around the lower pond, snapping as I go…Jack moves ahead of me, tugging on his lead for he has picked up the scent of a fox or badger!

www.bealtainecottage.comI put my camera away and let Jack pull me along, hot on the scent of other life…we finally stop as we come up to the east side of the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.comWe move around towards the polytunnel and one of the orchards. Pyracantha and Cotoneaster are now devoid of berries. This can be a hungry time for the birds as they mate and nest…there is a big bag of Oats I can scatter around in handfuls for the hungry birds and will do this later.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to the cottage and the shelter of the veranda…it’s very stormy, despite the sunshine!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith a full moon over Bealtaine Cottage tonight and a hard frost to come, the evening will be cold for sure.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe coppicing continues and the woodpile grows…

www.bealtainecottage.comFennel is beginning to send forth lots of new growth in the shelter of the veranda and the back of the cottage. These new shoots are delicious added to salad!

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd just across from the Fennel…

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd a reminder for anyone wanting 100% Bealtaine seeds from Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you can choose what you want.

Coppicing Trees for Future Forests

Dwarf sunflower at Bealtaine Cottage

The day is warm and still.

flower arrangementThere’s a hint of early autumn in the air.

coppicing birch trees in the permaculture gardensI have been working in the gardens, coppicing trees.

This morning I coppiced this lovely Birch tree.

The trunk remains growing about a metre or so from the earth and will rapidly produce several new stems, that will thicken up to give even more wood for the cottage in a few short years.

Che Mousey Bear relaxes on the benchCoppicing was carried out on all medieval woodlands and is the reason why there are so many old trees in counties of England.

coppicing at Bealtaine CottageCoppicing regularly will enable a tree to live for several thousand years!

The main stem will be sawn into small logs and stored in the barn.

Shredding tree branches to use as mulchThe remaining small branches are shredded and used as a mulch on the Potager Beds! So everything is returned to the Earth.

Trees are a direct way of enabling the harvest of solar energy.cats at Bealtaine CottageMeanwhile,

Missy Cat lounges on the gravelas I worked, the cats relaxed, as only they can do…

bees on NasturtiumsAnd the bees kept working…

Bealtaine Cottage verandaAnd the morning drifted effortlessly…

fennelinto a beautiful afternoon…

Garden steps

Framed, Raw and Rather Juicy!

Upcycling Old Picture Frames

I was given this beautiful old frame by a guy in a second-hand market in the local town.

It is one of the most beautiful picture frames I have ever come across.

Look closely at it, for it is a colourful mosaic of sea washed glass and shells.

The new chalkboardFor several years now it has waited patiently in the shed for someone with a good idea…who just happened to come along this week.

Cara was helping me to find a hammer in the outside shed on Monday, when she spied this frame and suggested it be used as a chalk board for the garden…all it needed was some board cut to fit, which could then be painted with blackboard paint and fitted into the frame!

Cara turned up with the finished, magnificently up-cycled chalkboard today and promptly fitted it onto the wall of the lodge under the shelter of the veranda.

Lodge VerandaDoesn’t it look great?

organic herbs from the permaculture gardensMeanwhile…in the kitchen I prepared some wholesome juice, using organic produce from the gardens…

After juicing organic apples and carrots, I add Kale, Apple-mint, Lemon Balm, Fennel and Parsley.

Juicing is a great way of ensuring a steady supply of the finest and freshest nutrients, especially using what is so easily grown in the edible gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage.

Preparing aVegan stir fry at Bealtaine CottageMuch of what I harvest is added to stir-fries too.

These are the ingredients for this evening’s meal.

Missy catMeanwhile, Missy Cat is enjoying the sunshine, while keeping an eye on me!

An Irish Ark

Lunaria, Honesty in the permaculture tunnel

Lunaria and Fennel in the tunnel today.

The Latin name Lunaria means “moon-like” and refers to the decorative seed-pods.

It’s warm and dry and great for working outdoors.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe clothes line is heavy with clothes moving gently in the breeze…a perfect Spring day!

I do not own an electric dryer, or a washing machine.

Washing clothes by hand in Spring water leaves them soft and smelling beautifully.

Buds on the Damson tree in the permaculture gardens

The Damson tree is now in blossom, with a strong prospect of plentiful fruit.

Cherry and Apple trees are almost ready to break blossom!

Euphorbia in a barrel

Euphorbia in a barrel outside the veranda today.

The lime green of the flowers are so joyful at this time of year!

That’s Valerian coming up at the front of the barrel.

Primroses at Bealtaine Cottage

Primroses on the driveway this morning.

I have never seen this many Primroses in bloom across the permaculture gardens.

There has been a huge amount of self-seeding over recent years and, with the absence of livestock, plants have grown and flourished in abundance!

I believe that there are more species of plants in the 3 acres of Bealtaine Cottage than anywhere else in Ireland.

Many of these are indigenous and some even rare!

It will be an interesting study to complete, when cataloguing all the plant life here.

Bealtaine Cottage  badger settBealtaine Cottage is evolving into an Ark of sorts, where many species are protected from livestock, chemicals, pesticides and the urge to dominate Nature!

Looking at the picture above of the Badger sett here in the gardens, Mr and Mrs badger will testify to that!

Hens in the permaculture gardens

The hens are out in the sunshine, just basking on the grass.

They have begun to lay eggs and appear to be quite content.

Bealtaine Cottage entrance to the fairy dell woodland

The Fairy Wood in summer…just about 8 weeks away from Midsummer!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 500 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Daily News from Ireland…Bumper Permaculture Harvest!

The first day of Autumn in the Celtic calendar and the harvest continues. Blackcurrants are being picked at Bealtaine, along with masses of herbs, including Oregano, Chives, Dill and Fennel…though the Fennel in the tunnel is seeding and will be dried and stored for baking purposes later on.

The Plum trees are bearing up well with the wight of the fruit and this will be used for jam and wine. I have planted four Plum trees so far and am also growing some trees from seed.

Yes…it’s hard to believe, but there have been bumper harvest every year at Bealtaine and this is set to continue as the land moves from monoculture in year one to wonderful biodiversity in year seven, with shelter developing and compost heaps bursting…

This is the Fennel in the tunnel this morning, with a good crop of seeds developing.

Apple too are plumping out well…juice, chutneys, pies and crumbles here!

Remember the immense power as a consumer you have…and ultimately, your ability, with others, to control the market…buying Fairtrade and supporting local producers is one way to control the market for the good, rather than giving your precious money and support to the global corporations who wreak havoc on our world…

Growing Fruit and Vegetables the Permaculture Way

Apples

Apples today in the gardens at Bealtaine.

No chemicals.

Lots of mulching.

Sheeps wool mulched around base.

Regular feeds of manure tea.

Maximum biodiversity planted around the trees.

Trees well spread out.

Hedges and shrubs to protect from the wind.

In other words, intelligent planting, thought-out and planned along  permaculture lines…

Planning Permaculture

Just a few shots of empathy for and with Nature, alongside good, basic common-sense, realising that Nature is poly-cultural and loathes monoculture in any form, so, be diverse!

Plant for maximum biodiversity, with pockets of plants everywhere in your garden…and don’t try to dominate!

Us humans seem to have an innate desire to dominate Nature, an idea supported by so many of the world religions!

Use Local Resources

Raised beds can be made from most materials.

Local is best.

I continue to use some tyres in my gardens, but am replacing them gradually with stone, local stone, as and when I uncover it or come across it.

Wood is good and sustainable.

All my compost heaps are made using old doors, up-cycled to a new use!

Look at what you have as a local and preferably free resource and start using it!

No-Dig

By far the easiest and best way of growing I have ever encountered…this is my template for a great garden.

These are the potatoes this morning, growing mightily on a no-dig potato bed.

Have a look at previous blogs to see how this was started…

Collect and Save Seed!

Fennel in the tunnel this morning, flowering and soon to seed.

Save seed…any seeds and grow them on and share them out and value this above all else that you do, for without seed we have nothing!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are welcomed free.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog