Why Save Seed?

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All seed-saving at Bealtaine Cottage helps to preserve heirloom seeds’ genetic diversity!

This is Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria.

dsc07184This seed has adapted over twelve years to grow in difficult conditions, for as you know, it rains frequently here and the gardens are all on a north-facing slope.

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageThis is why the seed saved here, year after year, is more resilient than commercial seed, which is grown in ideal conditions for the maximum production value!

Foxglove seed Saving seed also makes one value the pollinators, especially the Bees…for without their incredible work there would not be any seed to collect! 

Lunaria seeds drying on the veranda of the LodgeDuring the 1900’s we experienced a startling drop in the number of heirloom varieties—because gardeners stopped saving and trading their own seeds.

Bealtaine Cottage SeedsHere at Bealtaine Cottage I have developed a seed bank over twelve years, adding more and more seed year on year, as the biodiversity increased similarly throughout the gardens. 

growing seeds at BealtaineWhen we rely on commercial seed companies, any seeds that sell slowly simply get dropped from production and disappear.

seedlings in tunnel at Bealtaine CottageIf you would like to support this vital work of seed-saving and building resilience for the future, consider purchasing some seed from Bealtaine Cottage…

Click on the link below to see what’s available so far… (I’m adding continually as more becomes ready to pack!) 

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

Old Year’s Night…Celtic Samhain

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Between two worlds, that of Summer and of Winter, rests Samhain. 

dsc03482Samhain, (pronounced “Sow-when”) is the most important time in the Ancient Irish (and Celtic) Calendar.

dsc03483The time of Samhain starts at dusk, when the light and dark are in balance.

dsc03484This was never regarded as a time of death, but a time of incubation for Mother Earth.

dsc03485It was the onset of Winter that allowed the Great Mother to get ready the seed for Spring.

dsc03486Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s Eve.

dsc03487It is at this time, between worlds, that the veil is thin.

dsc03488A time of possibilities.

dsc03489A time to pay honour to those who are no longer with us in human form.

dsc03490This was a time of endings and the promise of beginnings, a time for stillness and reflection.

dsc03491It was understood that in the dark silence of Mother Earth, when all appears dead, comes the promise of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed beneath the ground.

dsc03492 It is on this night, some believe, that time stands still, allowing access to other worlds and into new consciousness.  

dsc03495As I walked the gardens today, taking these photographs, there was a real sense of endings and beginnings, of approaching a marker in time.

dsc03496 A sense of anticipation and readiness for the sabbatical that is Winter…for Samhain means “Summer’s End” and as the Celts believed, this was Winter’s Beginning.

dsc03497As an integral part of their culture and interpretation of life, the Celts held strong the tradition of The Transmigration of Souls, a philosophy I believe in.
dsc03498The Celts believed in two lands after death, the Underworld and the Otherworld.

 dsc03499The Otherworld was the abode of the dead.

dsc03500This is interesting, as it strongly suggests a “life alongside the dead”…and in that an understanding of the “Night of the Thin Veil,” 

https://bealtainecottage.com/2013/09/29/the-night-of-the-thin-veil/

dsc03501Archaeological evidence has drawn attention to the richness of Iron Age tombs and the abundance of grave goods within them.

dsc03505 There is literary evidence from Caesar that seems to confirm at least part of the Celtic Beliefs system.

dsc03513In his description of the Druids, he alluded to some of their lore that related directly to the movement of souls between one world and another or between one individual and another. He states:

‘…the druids attach particular importance to the belief that the soul (or spirit) does not perish but passes after death from one body to another’
(Julius Caesar: Gallic Wars VI)

dsc03514Lucan (Pharsalia: I) stated that the Celts considered death as merely an interruption in a continuous life, as the spirit passed from one form into another, or from one world to another. dsc03515Other writers, such as Diodorus Siculus drew attention to similar beliefs – that the soul was immortal and, as its body deteriorated with age, it simply moved to another, usually located in another world.  

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It is little wonder then that the Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”. dsc03517And so we celebrate Samhain…

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Please consider making a small donation to the Fundraiser for

LEITRIM ANIMAL WELFARE CENTRE (once the home of Jack)

https://bealtainecottage.com/leitrim-animal-welfare-fundraiser/

“Animal companions come into your life for an infinite number of reasons, each one being in service to you, your current life experience, and moreover, your soul’s growth and evolution.”
Amy Miller, Beyond Companionship: Connecting with Kindred Souls of Animal Companions.

Seed the Future!

Propagator at Bealtaine CottageIn my small attempts to stand up to the Ecocidal Monsters of this world, I often feel like David (of Goliath fame), and then I am reminded of the massive opposition to Government and Corporate plans to control our planet and all the life therein!
Polytunnel at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens in April 2013Amazing people like Elena from Greece, who posted seeds to me  last year…one of many subscribers to Bealtaine Cottage who is doing incredible work in protecting our Seed Sovereignty, without which we have NO future at all! home made polytunnel at Bealtaine CottageElena has written to me to inform us all about what is happening in two days time!
veranda at Bealtaine CottageElena writes:I am writing now to tell you that on January 20th there will be a big demonstration outside the European Parliament in Brussels about the forthcoming seed laws (maybe you already know this, of course). Activists from all over Europe  are coming to Brussels to be there, and events are being organised around Europe on that day. I will be coordinating the Athens events – a demonstration outside parliament, all urban farms open and giving away seeds/seedlings/information packs, hopefully some media coverage, as well as Greek blogs posting something relevant to seeds on that day (a movie, a small piece of text, etc)…
I thought that maybe you could also write something specifically for seed freedom on that day, as well – although I know that you have written so much already!
have a very happy new year
with blessings from Athens
xxx
Elena
Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 003Our struggle to keep our Seed Sovereignty is ongoing, despite the small successes we have had in various government buildings.
Aug 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008The problem is there is so much wealth tied up with seeds, food and food production, the Corporations are seeking total control!
April Bealtaine Cottage 2011 004Understand that this struggle is an ongoing battle to keep the seed!
Aug 2011 Permaculture Cottage 008I have harvested seed, like this Leek seed, here at Bealtaine Cottage for almost ten years.
Green fennel at Bealtaine CottageI allow all the plants to seed themselves and I harvest seed every year…No government will stop me!
July permaculture 2011 008No law will prevent me posting this seed to all the world.
July 2011 Permaculture Cottage 014This is the year for you to take your future into your own hands and save seed, share seed, gift seed and talk about the seed…it is your future, it is my future.
Without it we are slaves to tyranny!
www.bealtainecottage.com 038
There is a wide selection of seeds available here at Bealtaine Cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 030If you would like some Bealtaine seeds for your own garden, then click on the link at the very top of the page.

Free From The Bank…Permaculture Plants, The Growing Investment!

It’s rare to get anything from a bank these days.

Investments and savings are accepted, while little is offered to customers!

However, my local bank, in Carrick-on-Shannon, provided me with one of the best growing investments I have ever had…and one that continues to grow and spread rampantly…Valerian.

To be honest, I stole them!

Now that’s a confession I should not be making, but in this case, as the seeds did not belong to Monsanto, I felt it was my duty to snap them off and spread them as generously as I could, all around Bealtaine Cottage.

Anyway, six or so years later, the seeds continue to spread, of their own volition and infest the gravel with delight, for me and the Bees!

Here they are…Click on the link to see the best investment anyone can make…investing in Nature and the environment…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeJ92Su4Ssg

Permaculture Cottage ~ A Ramble aound the Gardens at Bealtaine Cottage

Working in the gardens today. The evening has arrived. It’s hot and still and sweat appears effortlessly. To chill out I decided to just ramble around the gardens here at Bealtaine, mug of coffee in one hand, camera in the other.

These are some of the poppies grown from seed this year…all are different shades of pink and red and white and, I hope, perennial.

The girls are happy! I deposited heaps of fresh barley straw all around their extensive runs today. They enjoy scratching around…

I have often thought that what we need more than any religion in the world today is a spiritual order that will teach a sense of belonging to Earth and communion with Nature. I say this because working on this land over the past seven years has brought a sense of spirituality into my life that was never before experienced. This spirituality is creation centred and allows me to see the Divine in so much of Nature that it sometimes takes my breath away.

Even though all our institutions and governments are in debt, it isn’t money that we lack in our lives today…it is that spiritual awakening we most need and it is that which will change our lives and our communities.

Over recent decades we have been exposed to great materialism, yet drug and alcohol abuse increases daily. Here in Ireland, a study out just today, has put Irish motorists at the very top of European drivers surveyed for drug and alcohol abuse. Even here, in this green island paradise, there is a deep disconnect!

Growth on all of the trees planted here has been amazing this year. As I walked through the land I stopped often to look at trees that I had simply forgotten I had planted…they now towered above my head and appeared to look down at me. I almost felt like an intruder!

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Daily News from Ireland…Bumper Permaculture Harvest!

The first day of Autumn in the Celtic calendar and the harvest continues. Blackcurrants are being picked at Bealtaine, along with masses of herbs, including Oregano, Chives, Dill and Fennel…though the Fennel in the tunnel is seeding and will be dried and stored for baking purposes later on.

The Plum trees are bearing up well with the wight of the fruit and this will be used for jam and wine. I have planted four Plum trees so far and am also growing some trees from seed.

Yes…it’s hard to believe, but there have been bumper harvest every year at Bealtaine and this is set to continue as the land moves from monoculture in year one to wonderful biodiversity in year seven, with shelter developing and compost heaps bursting…

This is the Fennel in the tunnel this morning, with a good crop of seeds developing.

Apple too are plumping out well…juice, chutneys, pies and crumbles here!

Remember the immense power as a consumer you have…and ultimately, your ability, with others, to control the market…buying Fairtrade and supporting local producers is one way to control the market for the good, rather than giving your precious money and support to the global corporations who wreak havoc on our world…

Permaculture Sunday…Apples, Sweetcorn and more seedlings

More logs wait to be carted around to the barn and stacked ready for the cold winter days ahead!

Valerian grown from seed continues to flower and will do all summer and into the autumn all the time that the seedheads are removed…

Something else grown from seed here at Bealtaine…this gorgeous Poppy this morning in full bloom, all red and frilly like the Folly Bergere!

Blackcurrants and Sage in the Nursery area, again grown from seeds, so 100% permaculture at Bealtaine plants to come. Both of these plants grow very easily from seed scattered into limestone gravel and left to overwinter, before being pricked out and potted on…how simple is that?

This is one of the many apple trees snapped this morning. The harvest is coming on well, with plans for lots of Apple Chutney! The trees continue to be fed with mulched comfrey and nettles.

Painted Mountain, Native American Sweetcorn is a real success in the tunnel, with lots of heads coming to maturity. Definitely one to save seed from!

The Aloe Vera on the sitting room window has had babies!

Growing Fruit and Vegetables the Permaculture Way

Apples

Apples today in the gardens at Bealtaine.

No chemicals.

Lots of mulching.

Sheeps wool mulched around base.

Regular feeds of manure tea.

Maximum biodiversity planted around the trees.

Trees well spread out.

Hedges and shrubs to protect from the wind.

In other words, intelligent planting, thought-out and planned along  permaculture lines…

Planning Permaculture

Just a few shots of empathy for and with Nature, alongside good, basic common-sense, realising that Nature is poly-cultural and loathes monoculture in any form, so, be diverse!

Plant for maximum biodiversity, with pockets of plants everywhere in your garden…and don’t try to dominate!

Us humans seem to have an innate desire to dominate Nature, an idea supported by so many of the world religions!

Use Local Resources

Raised beds can be made from most materials.

Local is best.

I continue to use some tyres in my gardens, but am replacing them gradually with stone, local stone, as and when I uncover it or come across it.

Wood is good and sustainable.

All my compost heaps are made using old doors, up-cycled to a new use!

Look at what you have as a local and preferably free resource and start using it!

No-Dig

By far the easiest and best way of growing I have ever encountered…this is my template for a great garden.

These are the potatoes this morning, growing mightily on a no-dig potato bed.

Have a look at previous blogs to see how this was started…

Collect and Save Seed!

Fennel in the tunnel this morning, flowering and soon to seed.

Save seed…any seeds and grow them on and share them out and value this above all else that you do, for without seed we have nothing!

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 85 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Visitors to Bealtaine Cottage are welcomed free.

Donations are always welcome.

Thank you!

Thank you for supporting this blog

Saturday in the Permaculture Garden.

Valerian coming into flower today at Bealtaine. The rain continues, almost unabated, raising the water table and pushing the water in my spring well down towards the cottage. Spent quite some time bringing water across to the tunnel to give the plants a good drenching!

Valerian growing along the west gable wall from seed scattered into the gravel…one of many reasons why permaculture and tarmac are not good mates!

Sprays of Hawthorn blossom hang in swathes around the hedgerows at the cottage. The flowers of this tree release a certain chemical which is good for the heart and it is recommended to breath deeply around these gorgeous blossoms!

I’m hoping that the roses will go on for longer this year, as they have a tendency to flower early in the summer. This has certainly been the best year yet for the blooms.

The Importance of Compost in a Permaculture Smallholding. Notes from a Cottage.

It’s amazing to think that this compost heap in the making can lead to…

This incredible, rich, nourishing soil and plant food.

And some of the compost is used to help grow trees here at Bealtaine, many of which, like these in the pic., are grown from seed and seedlings.

This is the first of four huge compost heaps that were started, topped and thatched last year…as you can see  from the heap it is a good quality compost!

The woodland known as the Fairy Dell is high with fragrant wild herbs and flowers. Seven years Chemical-Free! No certificates of Organic testing here…see for yourself is my advice to all visitors.

Have a good day everyone!