Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, biodiversity, Earth, Edible Gardens, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency

Building Resilience


www.bealtainecottage.comSoil is being depleted at a rate never before encountered on Mother Earth.


www.bealtainecottage.comPlants can only upload minerals from the soil and if they are absent from the soil, then the plants, that make up our fruit and vegetables will be nutritionally deficient!

About 10% of the land on the planet feeds the entire population.

www.bealtainecottage.comA 1992 Earth Summit Report stated that American soils, for example, are now 85% depleted of the essential minerals and elements conducive to growing healthy fruit and vegetables.

Considering the fact that this report was published over twenty years ago, the soil would  now be considered to be useless in terms of growing healthy food.

That leaves many people in a state of undernourishment.

www.bealtainecottage.comI suggest you look into this for yourselves, to understand the full extent of nutritional depletion in the food we buy.

Type the words : soil depletion, into your search engine and YouTube, to be surprised and shocked!

So what do we do about this problem?

www.bealtainecottage.comWell, here at Bealtaine Cottage, the answer I have implemented over the past ten years, has been to continually mulch and build up the soil, all over the three acres of Ireland of which I am guardian.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis method uses tons of biomass, which I grow on the land, shred, then compost or spread directly onto beds.

You can see the bed I covered in cardboard, compost and shreddings last autumn.

The light material is shredded willow on cardboard for access paths.

The beds themselves will be heaped up with even more compost before planting out!

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is carbon neutral and requires no shipping or transportation…it can be grown on site! 

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is all biologically-produced matter based in carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, so even dredging the ponds of weed will provide nutritive mass for the soil!

This pile of clippings will be shredded to produce more biomass to be added to the soil, building up a nutrient rich, resilient land!

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Gardening, Growing Food, Life, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

A Reason to Dig ~ Life in the Country, Town and City!

Bamboo this afternoon in the garden.

Many people are experiencing hardship at the present time.

This will, inevitably get much worse, as more and more people get trapped in the web of debt.

This is surely a time to think seriously, long and hard about sustainable living.

There are many ways that people can empower themselves and perhaps the most beneficial one is growing food.

Crocosmia shoots are growing fast this month, promising early flowers and colour!

Of course, not everyone has a garden.

In fact, I lived in an apartment at one time in London and did not have access to any growing space, so rented an allotment.

For those who have never grown fruit and vegetables this way, I can tell you, it is the best fun and most social thing one can enjoy!

Beautiful Birch trees on the north bank today.

I often think that allotment growing is even more productive as going to the allotment is a regular delight and there’s always good advice and help at hand.

More important, it is about real self-empowerment, growing and sustaining oneself and one’s family.

Willow, cut, tied and standing in the barn, ready to be used in 8 weeks time.

Growing food is only the beginning of an exciting and fulfilling journey.

What follows from here is an engagement with food…making jams, chutneys, wines, cordials for a start!

Perlagoniums standing in the barn to over-winter, continue to hang onto their flowers…that’s just how mild the winter has been!

Now is the time to get started in the garden.

A propagator can really give you a start on the growing season and there are also many seeds that can be sown on the window-ledge and even directly into the ground.

Any good gardening book will inform you well!

Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2011 006

Pot grown veggies can be very easy, as with growing in hanging baskets.

Willow off-cuts…when dried these make great kindling for the fire.

Have a go and get growing…the first big step in taking control of your life back and embracing independence!