Bottling Summer

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com

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.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (3)Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)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…

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (2)Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5) Midsummer has only just crossed over and the garlic is ready to pull, with the first batch of Garlic and Oregano Olive Oil infusing.

Summer just keeps on getting bottled!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (4)There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (5)Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.comEven the ancient Polygonum is covered with bright red flowers…one of the very few plants here that has nothing for the Bees…but a delight for me!  

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (6)Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (7)Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (8)Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (9)Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.

permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com (10)And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.

Permaculture Orchard and Spring Well

New mulched permaculture orchardAn update on the new orchard…the mulching continues as the blossom breaks on the little trees.

Permaculture Orchard at Bealtaine CottageLots of nettles have been chopped and layered on the mulch!

mulching the orchardThe path is being extended, as I find time to do a little more and a little more!

Look who has made a little bed for himself on the weed suppressing mat…

New apple trees in the permaculture orchardThis project will continue into the autumn as I have several other projects on the go, including the new kitchen floor.

Herbs in tyres at Bealtaine CottageHerbs are lovely flowers to grow and these are growing just outside the Lodge.

Chives, Feverfew, Comfrey, Clary Sage and Ox-Eye Daisies all happily growing together!

Hen House at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensThe hen house this morning…I leave the girls in long enough for them to lay.

This is the entrance from the new orchard.

I have just returned from cleaning out the well up on the hill.

The water tank had stopped filling and had, in fact dried out.

A visit to the well confirmed my suspicion that the pipe had clogged up with plant life!

I can hear the water filling in the tank in the loft as I type.

The hens at Bealtaine CottageThe hens are all in good shape now and are the most passive and calm little creatures I have ever encountered.

Hens at Bealtaine CottageJust adorable!

Lime tree walk at Bealtaine CottageThe Lime trees are now in leaf.

I have discovered that these trees grow very well from cuttings!

Pollarded Willow at Bealtaine CottageWillow is growing thick and fast on the pollarded trees.

This will grow up to 15 feet high, making great fedging lengths this autumn.

Perennial Vegetables in a Permaculture Garden

Bealtaine Cottage summer in the permaculture tunnelOne of the interesting aspects of growing food is the continual study of plants and what grows where, how and why. 

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds in permaculture gardenI keep records of all I grow as the seasons progress and notice how the environment changes as trees and shrubs grow taller and more dense each year, creating micro-climates, where it is possible to grow all manner of fruit and vegetables that before seemed almost impossible!

Bealtaine Cottage wheelbarrow to compost heapAlso, the manner in which things grow.

I made a short video today on Purple Sprouting Broccoli, originally planted as an annual vegetable but since has developed into a perennial vegetable…fascinating to record!

Missy and the potager garden Bealtaine Cottage Over recent days I have been cutting back and shredding, spreading the chips on the soil around trees, fruit and vegetables.

I noticed how warm the soil was in certain areas of the garden compared to others.

Missy and the potager garden Bealtaine Cottage I then looked at what was growing, as well as other factors affecting the conditions, including aspect.

Some of the conclusions I reached include facts like, stones create heat.

Dry soil heats faster than wet soil.

Hedgerows are such efficient windbreaks that the air on the shelter side is always a few degrees higher than on the wind side.

The area around a wood pile is always warmer and more fertile.

The list goes on…

Bealtaine Cottage veranda and courtyardAnd as for the perennial vegetables, most have the ability to become perennial, if given the right growing conditions.

Bealtaine Cottage plants and logsSo, the more micro climates you create in your garden, the more possible perennials you will have.

Bealtaine cottage Permaculture GardensAlso, many annuals take on an aspect of perennial if allowed to self-seed, so stop being so tidy!

Bealtaine Cottage verandas and plantsI scattered the seed of Aquilegia once only, some nine years ago, and now have Aquilegia all over the upper gardens.

The same goes for Lunaria, Feverfew and Nasturtium.

bealtaine Cottage Permaculture gardens IrelandIf you want a garden of abundance and perennial growth, lay off the Roundup and watch how Nature does it!

Mother always knows best!

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

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Look Who Visited Bealtaine Cottage on Friday!

Country Views
United States FlagUnited States 344
United Kingdom FlagUnited Kingdom 67
Ireland FlagIreland 42
Canada FlagCanada 26
Sweden FlagSweden 18
Denmark FlagDenmark 9
Australia FlagAustralia 4
Italy FlagItaly 3
India FlagIndia 3
Slovenia FlagSlovenia 2
Belgium FlagBelgium 2

This is the new feature on WordPress and it is just fascinating…a breakdown of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage on Friday.

I love to look at statistics, as these represent real people in real time…and from all over the world!

Seedlings are springing up all over the tunnel, some in pots like these and others in the long beds where they have germinated in the compost.

A little pic from April last year, showing the Kanzan Cherry Tree in blossom…I am hoping for an even better dislaly this year!

Feverfew coming up in the gravel driveway…I must admit to being rather naughty and deliberately shaking seed from plants all over the gravel…I shall NEVER get my driveway tarmaced! That would be the end of such fun!

The delightful little buds on the Hawthorn hedgerow are fast becoming leaves as they unfurl in the bright warmth of an Irish Spring…

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…

Permaculture Notes from Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium ), a member of the sunflower family, has been used for centuries in European folk medicine.

This sweet smelling flower is commonly associated as a remedy for headaches, arthritis, and fevers.

The name Feverfew is derived from the Latin word for fever…febrifugia, meaning, fever reducer!

It grows really easily from seed, self-seeding all over the gravel here at Bealtaine Cottage.

This is growing in a pot near the back door of the house, on the southern side.

These are rambling roses, climbing and pushing their way across a willow arch I made to help support them last year.

Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden.

There are several different varieties here, though I don’t really know the names, as I have grown them from slips, mostly purloined from other gardens!

Roses are  used for commercial perfumery and commercial cut flower crops.

Some are used as landscape plants and for hedging.

Although Roses have minor medicinal uses, the fruits, or Rose-hips tell a different story altogether, most famous for the syrup made from them and fed to babies!

This is a little apple tree bought by my mother and planted into a quiet little spot on the land behind the cottage.

The apple is from the species, Malus domestica, in the rose family (Rosaceae).

It is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits.

The tree originated in Western Asia, where its wild ancestor, the Alma, is still found today.

There are more than 7,500 known cultivars of apples.

Cultivars vary in their yield and the ultimate size of the tree, even when grown on the same rootstock.

This particular cultivar is a miniature apple tree.

At least 55 million tonnes of apples are grown worldwide, annually. China produces about 35% of this total.

The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 7.5% of world production.

Iran is third, followed by Turkey, Russia, Italy and India.

Plants in pots and tubs at the back of the cottage today.

I noticed the birds coming down to feed on the flowers of the pansies.

The red and pink plant at the front is the little plant, Herb Robert.

Another rose growing here at Bealtaine…