As War Looms…keeping Faith with Mother Earth!

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 008Such news as makes me angry…so off into the gardens to get working and channel my energy as best I can!

And as if Mother Earth

heard my despair, she has worked tirelessly overnight making the compost heap look beautiful…I laugh out loud in joy!

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 003

This morning as I spread compost and seaweed on the vegetable beds, before mulching down with cardboard and straw, I ponder on putting the exposed earth to bed for the winter…this makes me feel as though I am nurturing the great Mother. 

It is all I can do to help assuage the horrors of what Man does to her!

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 009

The big tidy-up is important, before the wind and rain sets in…and what a lot of tidying to be done!

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 010

Just in case you thought anything about where the compost toilet is emptied…in these neat bins, holes drilled into the bottom of each, no smell, no flies and thoroughly sustainable on site!

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 016

Cutting and chopping Willow to store for burning…as Charlie supervises!

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 018

The Lime trees have begun to shed their leaves.

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 021

The bees continue their daily forage in and around the Nasturtiums.

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 023

As the seaweed dries out, all these lovely shades of autumn emerge…

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 030

Let peace rise up as the Michelmas daisies around Buddha…my mantra for today.

permaculture gardens at bealtainecottage.com 032

Tend Mother Earth…in this time of destruction…it’s the best we can do!

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!

________________________

This website is open source and free for all.

There is now a new addition to Bealtaine Cottage, called Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

If you would like to be a part of this community, please consider joining us…

To subscribe to this Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website, a small donation of 12 euros, will add your name to the subscriber list. You will then receive the full blog as published twice each week. This amounts to 104 per year at a cost of 12 cents each!

Please note: the email associated with the Paypal account is where the subscription invitation will be sent…this is important!

Click on button below to make your subscription and once verified your name will be added and access to the site allowed.

The Best Medicine!

www.bealtainecottage.com

Lists are great things to spend time on.

Despite the wet weather, I’ve been busy making a comprehensive list of what to grow …and the reasons why I should.

The ability to store food is at the forefront of my thinking.

I’ve discovered this year that Beetroot stores very well indeed.

Not just that it stores well, but is a first class root vegetable in the making of healthy juice.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is one taken from a box in the pantry and cut open to be juiced.

Last year was the first year that I grew this wonderful root vegetable and was surprised at how easy it was to grow! www.bealtainecottage.comThe tunnel is now ready to sow.

Most of the seeds will go into the polystyrene fish boxes I used last year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply scattered the seeds into the filled boxes and pricked out the seedlings as they came on…the healthiest were those from boxes where the seed was all mixed in together and in no particular order!

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today...Ruby Chard

Swiss Chard in the tunnel today…Ruby Chard

Greens are next on my list…and again, in no particular order, just greens!

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

Dark Ruby Chard has over-wintered well in the tunnel

As a vegetarian who tries to avoid dairy, greens are an important part of my diet.

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

Mixed greens picked in the gardens and tunnel today

I add greens to my juice every day to stay fit and healthy.

Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.

Parsley,Fennel,Chard and Broccoli leaves all go into a healthy juice.

I have lived at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years and have only needed to visit my doctor once.

The best medicine...fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!

The best medicine…fresh juice made from home-grown produce! A healthy alternative to big pharma drugs!

During this time I have not suffered a cold or infection and never stayed a day in bed…something I must treat myself to at some point!

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

Fresh straw was laid on the paths between the beds.

All the Herb beds were cut back and the paths in-between covered with straw…

to keep the weeds down.

permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 013

Sometimes we do not even need to sow or plant, as foraging for wild food can produce excellent results.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

When I lived in London there were many places that bordered on wilderness and produced masses of food.

Permaculture cottage November 2011 005

There’s a growing movement to get local and municipal councils to plant fruit and nut trees in public parks and highways.

November 2011 079Resilience has it’s foundations in food security and is an aspect of life we need to take more seriously, but, more importantly, see that it not only gets onto the political agenda, but stays at the top of all planning!

If you wish you can subscribe to the latest website from Bealtaine Cottage…”Bealtaine Cottage Good Life”…simply make a donation of 12 euros for a full year and access the long list of blogs now on site. Quote: “Bealtaine Cottage Good Life” with your donation.

(Please note that this small donation sustains the work on this website, Bealtaine Cottage YouTube, Bealtaine Cottage Podcast and Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens FaceBook.)

 

Lifting the Spirits

www.bealtainecottage.com 004

Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

www.bealtainecottage.com 001

The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002

A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft candlelight…a magical time that lifted the spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005

Rich food and drink will now give way to simple soups and tea…a sort of cleansing of the palette and system, together with late winter walks, to appease the feasting of recent days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013

Venturing out this morning, into the wind-driven rain, fresh in from the Atlantic, amid the sounds of birds fighting over food…time to scatter the scraps from the feast around the gravel by the cottage for my hungry and cold feathered friends.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006

Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007

The Chard is particularly beneficial to the body at this time of year, as it contains generous amounts of both Vitamin C and Iron…the Vitamin C is necessary for the body to absorb the Iron.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008

I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!

www.bealtainecottage.com 009

Do you recall the ground I mulched with cardboard and shreddings?

Well, here it is this morning and as you can see it has now transformed itself into a bed ready to be planted out in the Spring…how easy was that?

There are several hundred blogs on this website about mulching and preparing ground for planting using the easiest methods that I have tried and tested.

To access them simply type key words into the Search Bar at the top of this page!

********************************

Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

The No Dig, No Till Garden

Amethyst Horn at Bealtaine CottageBealtaine Cottage is a permaculture smallholding, as followers of this blog know.

In permaculture we mulch, mulch and carry on mulching, building up the soil as we go.Bealtaine Cottage potager bed

Over the past two years I have been creating Potager gardens near the back of the cottage, using stone found on the land to create raised beds.

Bealtaine Cottage making the Potager beds June 2012 005Into these beds I have packed raw wool, compost, ash, leaf mould and shredding…lots and lots, layer upon layer, of shredding.

Plants are planted into bottomless pots onto the top of all this, so their roots can spread down deep into the goodness!

Bealtaine Cottage Potager bedThis year has seen the extending of these beds to cover yet more of the gravel.

The most useful tool in the permaculture gardens is the shredder!

Bealtaine Cottage potager beds and BuddhaI pile the shredding on the soil, wherever there are plants growing, spreading it around the base and everywhere in-between.

Beaten earth floor in ploytunnel at Bealtaine CottageNot only does this suppress the weeds, but it feeds the soil and therefore the plants.

You can see this practice at work here in the tunnel.

April 2013 Permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageAfter a few weeks, the shredding take on the dark look of soil, making it look like the soil has been just tilled…it has not!

permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage, No digCaring for 3 acres, I can assure you that I do not dig and I have no one who helps!

Does it work? …see for yourself.

No sore back and an abundance of food!

Bealtaine Cottage potager garden

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 110 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Over 600 blogs from Bealtaine Cottage in the archives here.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Urban Foraging and Accidental Coppicing!

Happy Bealtaine Everyone!

I began the day with a trip to my local town of Carrick-on-Shannon and managed to fit in a spot of urban foraging while I was there!

You see, many of the shops package up their cardboard waste into huge bundles, ready for the waste collection, a service they pay for, by the way!

This kind of waste is excellent for using in both the cottage and on the land.

Using it in the cottage, in the stoves, as an excellent way to start the fire, as the cardboard gives out a brilliant heat!

As a mulch in the garden, especially around newly planted trees as it keeps the weeds and tall grass at bay for a year or more!

This kind of foraging is very practical, as it offsets the cost of the petrol used in the car driving to town…the cardboard in the stove alone saves money that would be spent on firelighters!

When I was building the porch, shown here, I used a lot of recycled cardboard as an insulating material and it works rather well too!

It is also a great, compostable material after using it on the floors on particularly wet days…muddy feet and wet paws!

The video today is about Roses and coppicing…accidental coppicing!

Click on the link below and enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gr-SI2_V7Y&feature=plcp

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…

Biodiversity in the Garden and How to Achieve it!

Mowing the paths this morning in preparation for the visit of 19 permaculture students this Wednesday.

It should be a busy day!

The grass had grown quite high over the past few weeks as I was unable to get out to cut it because of the continual rain.

I went slow due to the amount of frogs in the grass and because it was still wet!

Planting close together allows shade and shelter to develop.

The Birch shown here, planted close-up to the Ribes, are providing shelter from the north wind, which can be cold and destructive!

You can see Kilronan Mountain in the distance.

It would be impossible for me to work 3 acres without the benefits of permaculture techniques.

I don’t do weeding except directly around vegetables!

The reality is that I simply don’t have the time for this and anyway, I find that mulching and planting takes care of the gardens more than adequately!

Small areas of lawn add interest to the gardens and allow one to look around at the plants , shrubs and flowers and to appreciate the wildlife which is absolutely integral to the health of the land and humankind on it.

This is one of the most important elements of permaculture in my view…after all there is nothing without pollinating insects!

Where would a garden be without birdsong?

Biodiversity at its best…a tiny orchid grows up alongside a young Ash sapling.

I best go back to work…nettles to pull and use as mulch!

Nettles, Compost and Spuds…the food of love! Permaculture Picture Post.

Nettles on the compost heap…

Some are used for tea, some for mulching…makes a nutritious mulch around plants!

Lots of lovely straw from the hens garden, ready to put into tyres as a healthy base for growing spuds.

The spuds are placed on a bed of the used straw and covered with the same.

And as the spuds grow I will top them up with home-made compost…the more home-madey the better!