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.
Washed and clean, ready to be filled with home-made Blackcurrant wine.
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…
the wine was securely bottled! All that remains to be done is labelling…Chateau Bealtaine!
Outside the back door, Summer continues in layers of sheer abundance…Feverfew splurges on masses of tiny, daisy-like flowers.
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!
There is so much food and flowers, it’s sheer Heaven!
Walking around the cottage is a feast for the senses!
Even 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!
Yellow Loosestrife stands tall in the casual cottage borders.
Roses fall over in a drunken Summer stupor, heavy with scent and bees.
Petals cascade onto stone steps, ivory wraps for blushing fairies.
Valerian falls onto the gravel path, dropping seeds and heavy flower-heads onto the visitor’s shoe.
And the Summer that was bottled today, will be brought out amidst smiles and raised glasses in the depths of Midwinter.
One of the interesting aspects of growing food is the continual study of plants and what grows where, how and why.
I 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!
Also, 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!
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.
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…
And as for the perennial vegetables, most have the ability to become perennial, if given the right growing conditions.
So, the more micro climates you create in your garden, the more possible perennials you will have.
Also, many annuals take on an aspect of perennial if allowed to self-seed, so stop being so tidy!
I 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.
If 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.
The archives at Bealtaine Cottage blog contain over 500 entries.
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…