An Irish Cottage Garden and Homestead in Spring

The promise of peaches growing outdoors in the west of Ireland, another Bealtaine Cottage first! Blossom on these home grown trees, grown from seed, is looking good. So far, with only the first month behind us, this has been a remarkable Spring! New Bird Boxes have been added to the rich habitat, now in its fifteenth year on these three acres. The interior of the tunnel has been remodelled  to create a sanctuary in which to enjoy being in the garden, even in very wet weather! Sanctuaries are much needed in today’s world! The plastic has been washed inside and…

Cottage Garden Harvest

Red onions and seeds dry in the heat of the afternoon sun at Bealtaine Cottage. The Permaculture harvest is on it’s way. I am saving lots of seed from the biggest, healthiest and tastiest plants! The rain came and has left a little water…not much, but enough to fill the tank in the loft! Herbs and seeds are coming into their own! Potatoes are appearing where none were planted…these have grown from seed dropped last year and have not been earthed up! Blackcurrants are taking over the gardens! Apples are plumping out… Runner beans are seeking Heaven… Raspberries are being…

Permaculture Harvest Home and Easiest Strawberries Ever!

After a full moon last night, the morning is beautiful. As I write this the sun has illuminated the interior of the cottage and blue skies are making themselves known. I’ve just snapped this pic…it’s the view from my desk, so you can see for yourself! It’s been busy here over recent days as I attempt to bring some of the enormous harvest home. It helps to have a veranda to sit where I can prepare the blackcurrants for the freezer. This is a home-made drying rack for the fruit, after it’s been washed in the rainwater barrel. I have…

Making and Using Compost on a Permaculture Smallholding.

Here’s a 5 minute video from Bealtaine Cottage on making and using compost on a permaculture smallholding.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLkBREOi8hE&feature=plcp&context=C4035676VDvjVQa1PpcFOWi9w1WJ3Ko7EephcqjG1KM5MBe0Xa1V8%3D

The Easiest to Grow Vegetables and Fruit from Bealtaine Cottage

Potatoes. Last year I grew them successfully on straw and manure spread on the ground on top of cardboard. The ground was in perfect condition afterwards for digging in a new Rhubarb bed. Swiss Chard. A  cut and come again crop. It just keeps on giving! Here it is growing outdoors during the winter. The frost may set it back but it grows again quickly from the root. Eat young leaves as salad or cook. You can sow directly into the soil, but I prefer to start almost everything off in pots to give them some strength to resist the…

Permaculture Planting at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland

Over the last few months I have been gradually clearing the compost heaps…5 in total. The ground under the heaps is in lovely condition, as you can imagine, so I decided to use this area to plant potatoes into tyres. The chitted potatoes are pushed deep into the earth and the tyre place on top, then gradually filled with compost, from, you guessed right, the nearby heap. It’s a bit like growing potatoes in the heap, but they’re much easier to find! There’s quite a few chitted potatoes left, so I am doing the same thing in whatever spaces I…

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…

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Stormy Evening at the Cottage

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…

Permaculture Cottage ~ Compost, Potatoes, The Fairy Tree and a Cold Winter to Come!

Potatoes growing by the east side of the shed. Did you know that there are about five thousand potato varieties worldwide?                            Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to molds that feed on the stored tubers, quickly turning them rotten.  However, I left potatoes in the ground over the course of last winter, when all was frozen solid for six long weeks…and they were dug out after the defrost and were perfect! I think it may have been the layer of straw that was atop the ground! Throughout Europe, the most important new food in the…