Permaculture Cottage ~ Food and Fairies

Mulching is really important once the dry weather sets in! It keeps the moisture in the ground as well as suppressing weeds. The fruit trees and fruit bushes were all mulched heavily during May. This helps to produce a good harvest as the fruit plumps out according to the amount of moisture they receive.

In gardening, mulch is a protective cover placed over the soil to retain moisture, reduce erosion, provide nutrients, and suppress weed growth and seed germination. Mulching in gardens and landscaping mimics the leaf cover that is found on forest floors.

This is the tunnel today. Courgettes, Pumpkins, Fennel and Corn are all producing well. As crops come to fruition, the ground is cleared, fresh compost is spread and new plants set out. Compost is rich in nutrients and used for all planting at Bealtaine Cottage. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner, a fertilizer, addition of vital humus  and as a natural pesticide for soil.

Courgette flower today and small fruit underneath. Courgettes are one of my favourite veg, especially cooked as fritters and served with a homemade, tomato salsa sauce…mmm! Courgette is also known as Zucchini!

When used for food, zucchini are usually picked when under 20 cm in length, when the seeds are still soft and immature. Mature zucchini can be as much as three feet long and known as Marrows. These are delicious stuffed and baked! Jam can also be made using Marrows…Marrow and Ginger jam is delicious!

Courgettes can be prepared using a variety of cooking techniques, including steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked, barbecued, fried, or incorporated in other recipes such as soufflés. It also can be baked into a bread, zucchini bread or incorporated into a cake mix. Its flowers can be eaten stuffed and are a delicacy when deep fried, as tempura.

Zucchini can also be eaten raw, sliced or shredded in a cold salad, baked into a bread similar to banana bread.

A place of calm and quiet contemplation…

The path that leads out from the Fairy Dell…

And deep within the Fairy Dell, Cow Parsley reaches up towards the sky…

Saturday Morning in the Permaculture Garden

These are the pears in one of the orchards this morning, continuing to develop. Good rainfall has helped enormously and the days are healthily damp!

The No-Dig Method of Growing.
It is possible for one woman as myself to look after 3 acres of poor land and make it productive, using the No-Dig method which is in itself an integral part of Permaculture.

Mulching…the Magic!
Making compost…the most important work you can undertake in the garden, for whatever you don’t want growing will be turned into this rich food for all you want to encourage. Start a compost heap today, don’t wait! I practise the cold-composting method, which is the easiest one to do…just heap it up!

Easy Potatoes…
These were planted onto a thin layer of cardboard that was placed directly onto grass. However, you could dispense with the cardboard, as I have done in the past and it works perfectly well! Used straw from the hen run is spread on the top.
As the potatoes push up compost is added on a weekly basis…I have 4 huge compost heaps, so no shortage of good organic food!

Animals and Bedding
I keep 4 hens. Their bedding is barley straw. This is changed often and regularly, giving the garden a continual supply of nitrogen impregnated mulch and fertilizer. I also spread generous amounts of barley straw around their outdoor runs as they love to scratch and I continue to collect the used straw. It’s a good method and works very well for me!

Mulch to Grow, Mulch not to Grow!
Srtaw is placed on the top of cardboard as a way of excluding growth and preparing the ground for the following year. This can also be planted into and is super for trailing plants such as pumpkins!

Permaculture Health, Wealth and Abundance…May the Force be With You!

Apple blossom this morning at Bealtaine.

As I write this I am listening to Irish Radio…talking endlessly about money, economics, making people spend money, kick-starting the economy! They just don’t get it! The wealth of a country must be measured in the health and wellbeing of its people…

Rhubarb waiting for me to turn it into jam…bumper harvests have begun again!

Apple blossom open today. the bees have feasted on the Ribes and are ready to continue the party on the fruit blossoms.

Irusan in the Fairy Dell this morning. He loves to walk the land with me each morning when he is staying at Bealtaine. Irusan is a Bombay Black Cat, whose mother was feral, living almost wild in London. he is extremely perceptive and interactive with people he chooses to like.

Growth over recent days has begun to impact on the paths that connect the permaculture zones at Bealtaine Cottage. Where monoculture fields around this smallholding are waiting for chemical fertilizer to green them, the grass and herbal pathways do the greening for themselves, for underneath lies a healthy soil that now pushes forth abundance!

Violets have emerged in the Fairy Dell…woodland abundance!