Kitchen Garden in May

Between the Potager Beds, shown here, and the tunnel, there’s lots of food being harvested, even in these early days of Summer! Masses of Carrots here in the shelter of the tunnel and thinning them out is such a tasty task, as I get to eat the smaller ones, complete with vitamin B12. Maybe that’s something you didn’t know…but B12 is found in the soil and why red meat has it in abundance, for cows and sheep are herbivores! If we ate more homegrown veggies, lightly rinsed and raw, our B12 intake would be taken care of! I ran out…

Food in the Midwinter Garden

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! There’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. In 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! Purple Sprouting Broccoli is giving lots of florets…delicious raw or cooked and full of goodness! Then there’s…

Magical Days

Gardens in Spring are one of Nature’s great delights. Here at Bealtaine Cottage the back door remains open and the sun streams in. My grandson, Dylan sips tea, whilst nearby, Charlie sleeps on the rocking chair. It is days like these that are idyllic to recall, as the days of Spring and Summer stretch out before us. Sammy-Bear sits by the open door, enjoying the strong sunshine. Somewhere in the scheme of things, as the days lengthen and the early morning birdsong touches our souls, a deep sense of optimism pervades the humdrum of everyday life. Animals react to Spring…

A New Way of Living

Food production can be a problem for many people who have little or no access to land. There are many who live in conditions where even a balcony is a precious space. I have spoken before about the ways in which access to growing space can be achieved, through allotments, community gardens and the like, but here is something which may prove to be an inspiration, a new way of looking at food, both growing it and eating! As an aspiring Vegan, (sometimes I miss the mark!) and dedicated grower and lover of all life, I have recently been converted…

Midwinter Blessings

The ancients believed winter, especially Midwinter, was a time of tremendous spiritual power. And so the shortest day has passed and we are looking forward, at last, to the ascending sun, from tomorrow. The greenery on the mantelpiece will stay a few days longer, as the days slowly lengthen. Work on the potager beds and orchards begins in the next week or so. Cloud and mist have enveloped Kilronan Mountain today, between snow falls and dark skies…the sun has shone intermittently. Of the Solstices and Equinoxes, the Winter Solstice was the most important among the Ancients, since it marked the…

Growing Food in Cottage Gardens

It’s a perfect day for being in the garden, with just the right amount of sun and shade as the voluminous clouds drift overhead, sun shines full in between and there’s just a promise of rain! The roses on the veranda are hanging so low that one has to limbo-dance under them to get in and out of the cottage. In doing this manoeuvre, one gets smothered in the most heavenly scent. My friend, Terri brought lots of cardboard and seaweed from Connemara and I laid the cardboard down in the new orchard yesterday. The seaweed is being spread on…

Framed, Raw and Rather Juicy!

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. For 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…