Kitchen Garden in May

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Between the Potager Beds, shown here, and the tunnel, there’s lots of food being harvested, even in these early days of Summer!

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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 of Russian Kale seed, (posted it all of to many of you!), but no need to worry, as it’s come up on it’s own accord in the tunnel!

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Pumpkins are planted in the Potager here in a bottomless pot, (more room to grow roots!), surrounded by Celery, Lettuce, Beetroot, Beans, Cauliflower, Tomato, and Chard.

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Here’s a Leek opening to flower and seed and lots of baby Leeks around too!

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Purple Sprouting Broccoli is seeding nicely too, so there’ll be lots on the seed site!

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I’ve wrapped some raw wool around the Courgette to protect her from slugs, as well as provide a feed.

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Cauliflower and Kale seem happy enough together in this sheltered Potager.

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The tasty leaves of the Bronze Fennel are essential in salads! This perennial is growing near the veranda.

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Lemon Balm near the back door is another essential salad ingredient.

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There’s lots of Thyme in the tunnel, but this one is in a pot by the new veranda…great added to chopped Garlic and fried with mushrooms!

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Another quirky pot, with Lavender, lettuce and Leeks!

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More Kale…I’ll be on a slug hunt tonight!

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Kale, Peas, Beans and Tomatoes…and a tiny Feverfew coming through!

Lots more to plant and sow…but it’s all underway!

 

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Permaculture Harvest despite Chaos!

JackThe permaculture harvest continues, along with the increasing numbers of visitors to Bealtaine Cottage.

Garlic is harvested, dried and stored…just in time for re-planting the crop for next year, in just a few more weeks.

As the world teeters once more on the brink of chaos, in the forms of war and nuclear contamination from Fukushima, getting the harvest home and planning for next Spring is a way of keeping one’s sanity!

It’s also a way of nurturing optimism and hope for the future!

kilronan mountainTomatoes are everywhere in the gardens and tunnel.

I let them do their own thing and they have produced wildly!

All the tomatoes are late, but then the summer was dithering in and out of Spring this year!

Even the Perlagoniums in the photo above are in late flower after several months of sleepy time!

porchAs the summer fades into Autumn, the light changes inside and around the cottage in the most delightful ways.

Shadows prevail in unfamiliar places, making all look quite different.

workshopOnions, Blackcurrants, Peas and Broad beans are all stored for the year.

I am continuing to use the remainder of last year’s Blackcurrants!

More wine I think!

I was invited to give a talk to the Green Party recently and am invited to give another talk at an Arts festival in Connemara…along with a wine making demonstration, so will be finding use for excess Blackcurrant crops!

evening sun reflectionsShadow play on the door of the Lodge…isn’t this beautiful?

This is a good place to dry herbs when the stove is lit, as it gets very hot very fast!

wine, kitchenI noticed that there is a bumper crop of Blackberries on the hedgerows this Autumn.

I looked up some old recipes for using Blackberries, so will be collecting them and saving them in the freezer, ready to use in a plethora of delicious recipes!

Food for free and lots of it!

The new compost heap is being stacked up daily, so am already thinking about next planting season!

cup of tea!There is a slight chill in the air, heralding Autumn as it transits into cooler times.

It’s a good idea to wear cotton scarves around shoulders and neck and take them off indoors!

Along with all the food harvested, there is an abundance of seeds to bring in and herbs to dry and store.

This is also the time to begin collecting tree seeds to sow in pots…something I do every year!

missyAs I work, show visitors around, harvest and continue building my workshop, Missy snoozes, oblivious to it all!

Cottage Garden Harvest

Cottage garden harvestRed onions and seeds dry in the heat of the afternoon sun at Bealtaine Cottage. cottage garden harvestThe Permaculture harvest is on it’s way.

cottage garden harvestI am saving lots of seed from the biggest, healthiest and tastiest plants!

cottage garden harvestThe rain came and has left a little water…not much, but enough to fill the tank in the loft!

Cottage Garden HarvestHerbs and seeds are coming into their own!

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottagePotatoes are appearing where none were planted…these have grown from seed dropped last year and have not been earthed up!

cottage garden harvestBlackcurrants are taking over the gardens!

Apple harvest

Apples are plumping out…

Runner beansRunner beans are seeking Heaven…

Raspberry harvestRaspberries are being eaten straight from the garden!

broad beansBroad Beans are looking monstrous!

potager beds at Bealtaine CottageAnd the Potager beds have received their second planting…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 006My brother Hugh O’Neill has made some very special Bog Oak pendants for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 003Hugh has carved some Rune and Ogham symbols on some of these special little pieces of Bog Oak.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 004The wood is carved and polished by Hugh into these amazing pendants, each accompanied by glass or wooden beads…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 005 A little piece of Ancient Ireland to wear around your neck!

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 002You can find these on the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/157732408/ancient-irish-bog-oak-pendants

 

Replenishing the Earth

Sammy Cat on the roof of the porch at Bealtaine Cottage Ireland

Sammy Cat is exploring his environment as he grows up.

He managed to find his way onto the roof of the porch at Bealtaine Cottage.

And the best way to get him down?

Rattle the cat biscuits bag at him!

Missy Cat sitting on a log at Bealtaine CottageThe days are longer and brighter and all the animals at Bealtaine are in playful mode.

Missy, being older and wiser, enjoys basking in the sun on a warm log.

The logs, placed here and there all over the permaculture gardens, are essential to the health and fertility of the gardens.

Much life depends on these and much life is nurtured under and around these big old chunks of wood.

Bealtaine Cottage spring well in Fairy WoodSpring has sprung!

The Spring Well is flowing clear and cold, feeding the ponds where the frogs have spawned.

sowing seeds in the permaculture gardens of Bealtaine CottageSeeds are spouting and growing.

Broad Beans, Peas, Wild Rocket and Salad Leaves are all outdoors, on the veranda, at the back of the cottage, warm in the south-facing shelter.

I cover them over at night with plastic sheeting and cardboard.

They are warm and snug in an old polystyrene fish box!

growing onions in potager beds at Bealtaine CottageBottomless pots of onions are planted into the Potager Beds.

Using pots with the bottoms cut away is a good way of making full use of all the space in the growing beds that have been heavily laid with manure and seaweed over the winter months.

The roots of all planted into pots like this will spread out and find abundant nourishment.

Bealtaine Cottage potager gardenThis worked very well indeed last year with everything I planted!

Welcome to the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Today, Monday, is sunny and warm…a chance to continue sowing seeds in as many pots as I can fill.

There is no such thing as too many plants!

Just lots and lots to give away!

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Midsummer in an Irish Permaculture Garden

Fruit, flowers and vegetables are all in abundance in the permaculture smallholding of Bealtaine.

Roses are in over-production and some are well on their way to becoming the wonderful, vitamin-C packed hips of harvest for the Autumn.

 Missy continues to direct operations, while listening to the calls of the Pheasant on the hill behind the cottage.

Pumpkin plants are making their way up along bends of Willow, as Peas vie for their territory along the same climbing frames.

All is in full growth and bloom as the day turns into a weekend of stillness and calm after the high winds and heavy rains of previous days!

Today’s video link…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_x8EII9J_c

Friday at Bealtaine Cottage.

Friday at Bealtaine Cottage, featuring Missy and Flo…

Click and watch

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvA7AONAaNc&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp

(click on the speech bubble on the video to see Flo on her own video!)

Saint Patrick’s Day Permaculture at Bealtaine Cottage

Saint Patrick’s Day! The middle of March in the West of Ireland…and there is much to celebrate! For we have enjoyed a mild winter and fast warming Spring.

According to  the old Irish annals, Patrick died in AD 461 on March 17.

And so, it is today that we celebrate the greatest non-Irish person as the greatest  of the Irish… for it is in Patrick that the Irish nurture their sense of national pride.

Much of the landscape of Ireland is awakened into Spring at this point in the year as you can see from the photographs taken this morning here at Bealtaine Cottage.

It has been traditional to plant potatoes on saint Patrick’s Day or thereabouts, so this morning, this is what I shall be doing, having prepared the beds at the beginning of the week, (and sliced through the water-pipe!).

Potatoes in Ireland were traditionally planted into mounds, a form of raised bed.  

Potatoes are planted into the mounds as they have a lower tolerance to frost and this way of planting affords a certain amount of protection. Other more hardy crop,s are Peas, Beans and Cabbage, all of which can be planted out regardless of frost.

Permaculture planting takes into account these variants and straw is placed over the beds of potatoes as both a mulch to exclude weeds and a protection against late frosts, which can be expected right through to May!

All these pics were taken this morning and as you can see, it is a perfect planting day in the west of the country.
The celebrations and parades will all take place this afternoon, so the morning is planned for a little light work, planting!

So, it just suffices to say…A very Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to you all, with blessings and love to each and every one of you, from Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

Permaculture Cottage Daily Diary

It’s been a really busy day!  After making the decision to re-design the vegetable garden and move the tyres…and this was several months ago, I finally got my act together to make a start on the work.

The Rhubarb in the first line of tyres had become embedded as they had not been divided for about four years or so…it was time to use brute force!

Stage one complete…next I will manure and mulch heavily while the soil is warm. Straw on the top will suppress weeds and keep the heavy rains from leaching the soil!

I’m doing this now because it is the right time and a good way of expanding the veggie garden!

Although it’s taken me most of the day, I’m glad to have got it done, finally, as there’s nothing worse than putting things off…now that can be ticked off my ‘to-do,’ list! Anyway, it’s been a lovely day for the work, though now have quadruple the freckles on my face that I started the day with!

Peas are growing well and ready for picking. It’s a task in itself just keeping the harvest up tp date on my list of work…still, that’s not a bad complaint really now, is it?

Before I came in for the evening, I picked a big bunch of flowers…Shasta Daisies, Dill and Lavender and it smells as good as it looks!