New permanent beds this winter

We have planted several new permanent beds this winter mostly by students and volunteers participating in this year’s food forest course. A permanent bed is one that requires a lot of extra work up frot, up but shouldn’t need to be tilled, dug or have as much work in the future. It also usually consists on perennial edible plants. There are many techniques which we experiment with including sunken beds, raised beds, woodchip beds and polycultures.

These are my principles to set up a permanent no dig bed:

  • Remove the weeds by either sheet mulching for a year or cutting them back, then digging them in with compost and biochar and then sheet mulching before planting.
  • Plant perennial vegetables or trees in the beds
  • Plant smaller perennials between them
  • Include supporting plants such as nitrogen fixers, mineral accumulators, pest repellers and beneficial insect attractors
  • Plant annuals in the spaces to get an extra crop in the first year out of the spaces until the perennials grow to size
  • Mulch with lots of compost
  • Further Mulch with cardboard and hay or wood chips to suppress weeds

This is still a new project, we took over the land two years ago and it was left abandoned, we have grown annual vegetables until last year where we started to prepare soil and install permanent beds. Once all our beds our complete I plan to mulch all the paths with cardboard and then pine bark, however until then i am sowing cover crops and wild flowers in the paths which i chop and drop with a strimmer to further build soil.

These are our new permanent beds planted in 2019. A big thank you to everyone who has helped prepare compost, woodchips and the beds.

woodchip bed
We have an ever growing back to eden wood chip bed which is on flat ground. We moved a chicken tractor over this area many times, flipped compost piles over it, grew cover crops and the mulched with compost, cardboard then woodchips. we only dug in the area to get out some ferns (unfortunatly we missed some which are growing through it), Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest
another asparagus and strawberry bed, this one planted on the flat, mulched with compost and hay. We grew all the 70 asparagus plants on the farm from seed. Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest.
This blueberry bed has two types of blueberries with large spacing, a physalis on the side and another type of self supporting raspberry in the middle. They have been interpolated with strawberries, flowers and herbs. We are no ensuring that all beds that back onto a path have browsable berries or fruits, so hopefully whenever you walk around the farm in the future you can eat something as you walk. Planted by Joston, Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest.
Asparagus bed and rasbperry bed
Left: Autumn bearing raspberries with a clumping strawberry row to stop the weeds growing into the bed. We plan to kill of the brambles along the back wall and propagate these raspberries up against the back wall. To the right a second asparagus bed interplanted with strawberries. In total we now have 6 varieties of strawberries. this asparagus was planted into mounds. Planted by Manu, Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest
Raspberry bed
New 11 meter long raspberry bed, 1/2 a cubic meter of compost with bio char tilled in (the compost ples were flipped along the bed for the past month), then mulched with aged manure. It includes a trellis made from chestnut and 4 wires. 6 varieties of raspberries planted. We have put strawberries at the back to cover the path to stop weeds. We have put a lie of all the perennial herbs and flowers at the front to stop weeds coming in from the path on the other side. Situated at the community straw bale house
This swale at the highest point of the chicken food forest catches water and sinks it into the ground. It has a Chilean and pineapple guava, myrtle and flowers planted in the swale, sage, goji berry and cover crops on the mound and a tilia and rosemary on the low point. Situated in the Chicken food forest
A new herb garden next to the new kitchen for our new community house. This has been filled with herbs that have been propagated from around our food forest. Herbs in one place by the kitchen make it easier for the cooks. This has been mulched with compost and will mulch with wood chips after a week or so to let the perennial herbs strengthen and the annuals germinate. Situated at the community house
Rhubarb and current bed
This bed along the wall has been planted with rhubarb and currents. It also has various herbs such as thyme, orgearno, fennel, calendula and nasturtium to support. Red cabbages have been planted to fill the spaces until the rhubarb established. This bed was sheet mulched on one side with plastic for 6 months to kill off the brambles, the plastic has been left on the wall to kill of the ones we can not dig out as they grow out of the wall. Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest
Annual garden barrier
This bed is a long thin bed acting as a barrier and support system for annual vegetables, It was sheet mulched with compost, hay and wood chips for several months. Then it is planted with nitrogen fixing shrubs, siberian pea shrub and myrtle. In the future these will feed the wood chips beds that will surround it with leaf mulch. In Between these shrubs are smaller herb shrubs that will help repel pests and bring in beneficial insects such as hyssop, anise hyssop, fennel, lavender, oregano and rosemary. In Between these are flowers such as valerian, pansy, calendula, mexican marigold and elephant garlic to further help the system. As most planted were small, i planted 50 onions in this bed to fill the spaces. I hope this bed will help stop the spread of pests and diseases and support the annual beds beside it. I will plant another one of these and use these to mark out my crop rotations,. (see chicken  tractor to the right). Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest
This is one of 5 asparagus beds, each one prepared differently. This one has 30 asparagus planted in mounds within ditches with compost under. They were mulched with compost and woodchips. the paths mulched with cardboard and hay. The asparagus have been interplanted with strawberries. Planted by Andrew, Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest
Triangular Sunken Bed
This triangular sunken bed was duig down 2 feet with the clay used to make the edges higher, it was then filled with compost and mulched with green manures and woodchips. We have planted some herbs around the side, a cherry tree in the middle, two types of nitrogen fixing Sienna, chaste tree (this gives a black pepper substitute) watermelons have been planted on the mounds to grow its roots into the compost and mulch the bed. This polyculture will be completed next spring once the bed has a chance to settle. Dug by Lawrence and Will, Situated in our food forest for chickens
New polyculture, this bed had 1 cubic meter of compost with biochar tilled into the ground as the soil was hard and poor. It was then mulched with another cubic meter of compost and then a thick helping of wood chips. It has a large Nitrogen fixing neem tree on one side and a persimmon on the other, it has a cherry and peach in the middle with an understory of siberian pea shrub and black lace elderberry. Between these is has Fuchsia, currents, Barberries, 2 types of sages, a line of asparagus at the back, stevia. Between all of these it has Anise hyssop, mock strawberries, oregano, yarrow, thyme, lemon balm, hollyhock, lemon grass, marjoram, calendula, hyssop, Fennel, Nasturngus, sunflower, borage, various bulbs. Designed and planted by students on 2019’s food forest course. Situated in our food forest for chickens


wood chip bed
Newest woodchip bed. Here we have experimented with an underground pipe to water in the summer. Situated in our Perennial vegetable and winter vegtable food forest

Some of our existing beds include many polycultures in our food forests and and sunken beds

To join one of our food forest courses please click here

Other posts about our food forests:

7th & 8th September – WWOOF’s 10th Birthday at Keela Yoga Farm

We are proud to be hosting WWOOF Portugal’s 10th birthday at Keela Yoga Farm. A weekend event that also celebrates the opening of our new community building. The weekend will feature permaculture, natural building, dance and fermenting workshops. As well as DJ Kiko in the evening. Lunch, dinner, breakfast lunch and all the workshops for […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Photos of Spring 2019 Food Forest Work

In March and April 2019 we hosted a one month food forest course, where participants learn how to plan, design, implement and maintain a food forest. During this month our food forests where expanded and upgraded the food forests. Please check out what we got up to. Related Posts:Photos from the food forest courseFood Forest […]

Posted in Food Forest, Permaculture | Leave a comment

New permanent beds this winter

We have planted several new permanent beds this winter mostly by students and volunteers participating in this year’s food forest course. A permanent bed is one that requires a lot of extra work up frot, up but shouldn’t need to be tilled, dug or have as much work in the future. It also usually consists […]

Posted in Food Forest, Permaculture | Tagged | Leave a comment

Winter Update

Some photos for those of you that do not follow us on facebook to see what we have been upto over the winter. We have been preparing beds for the summer, tidying up the land and working on the straw bale house. Check out the photos. Related Posts:Photos of Volunteering at Keela Yoga FarmNew permanent […]

Posted in Updates | Leave a comment

Wild Greens, foraging workshop portugal

Want to know what the medicinal properties are for weeds on your farm? Herbalist and forager Raquel Perdigão is coming to Keela Yoga Farm from ‘Awakened Life Project’ on the 9th and 10th April 2019 to teach us how to forage for wild greens, the medicinal properties of herbs and how to use them. Please join […]

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Back to Eden Gardening with a twist

Back to Eden gardening is a method of gardening from Paul Gautschi it is quite simple and makes complete sense in theory so we are giving it a try with two areas in our winter garden. It is gardening with thick layers of compost and wood chip mulch. Related Posts:Photos from the food forest courseIntegrating Animals […]

Posted in Permaculture, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Harvesting Olives and Making Olive Oil

For the first time we have Extra Virgin Organic Olive oil picked directly from our farm. It was a lot of work and we had a lot of help but in the end we have almost a years supply of olive oil for the farm. Related Posts:Photos from the food forest courseThe LandIntegrating Animals – […]

Posted in Food Forest | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn 2018 reforestation efforts

We plan to reforest 18 hectares of land to offset carbon and attract wildlife. This winter with the help of volunteers, friends, neighbors and donations we have planted a forest in more than one hectare of it. Read on for a full update. Related Posts:Photos from the food forest coursePhotos of Spring 2019 Food Forest […]

Posted in Reforestation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Food Forest for Chickens – October 2018 Design and Planting

During our Automne 2018 food forest course we designed and planted a food forest for Chickens. This is a food forest with perennial plants and trees that chickens can fodder for fruit, berries, leaves and insects. However without plants that chickens will quickly destroy through overeating or scratching. Leaving the rest for us to harvest. […]

Posted in Food Forest, Reforestation | Tagged | 1 Comment

Photos from Octobers Food Forest Course

Check out some of the photos of the students in action during October’s food forest course. The students from this course designed and planted a new food forest for Chickens and Humans to enjoy near our new community building. Related Posts:Photos from the food forest coursePhotos of Spring 2019 Food Forest WorkFood Forest for Chickens […]

Posted in Food Forest, Reforestation | Tagged | 1 Comment

Sunken Beds

As opposed to building soil above ground with a raised bed, a sunken is a bed below ground where it is cooler and wetter. This type of bed appears to work better than a raised bed in Portugal’s hot and dry summers. Related Posts:Photos from the food forest courseSave water with sunken BedsPhotos of Spring […]

Posted in Permaculture | Leave a comment

Composting Worms Portugal

Our compost worms are critical to our organic gardens, they are a must for any organic gardener. They not only reduce waste by eating your left overs but create a liquid fertiliser for the garden, compost and more worms.. We sell composting worms every few months at our worm composting workshops at our Farm near […]

Posted in Events, Permaculture | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Photos from March Food Forest Course

In March 2018 we held our second month long Food Forest course. The group of eight spent one month learning about trees, soils and food forests whilst researching their own trees and creating designs for a food forest. They then planted a new food forest in an old olive grove in one of our terraces. […]

Posted in Food Forest, Permaculture, Reforestation | Tagged | Leave a comment

Nitrogen Fixing Cover Crops and Living Mulch

Our land has low levels of nitrogen and we are looking to fix this without the use of chemical fertilizers. Our land is already growing nitrogen fixing plants (Clovers, vetches and bird foot) trees (mimosa) and shrubs (broom), some of which we are removing due to their fire hazard.  It seems that nature naturally fixes […]

Posted in Permaculture | 6 Comments

Photos from the food forest course

During November 2017 we held our first Food Forest course at Keela Yoga Farm. This month long course was designed to give the students the full experience of how to design and set up a food forest on an off-grid farm. Take a look at what we got up to, and read on to learn more about […]

Posted in Food Forest, Reforestation, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

Yoga Retreat May 2018

A week of yoga, natural sustainable living, sunshine, sleep, mountain views, meditation, star gazing, hammocks, learning about permaculture and enjoying organic food straight from the earth… Related Posts:The LandPhotos from the food forest coursePhotos of Volunteering at Keela Yoga FarmArrival InstructionsIntegrating Animals – PermaculturePhotos of Spring 2019 Food Forest WorkPioneer VolunteersFood Forest for Chickens – […]

Posted in Yoga | Leave a comment

A real salad from the garden

Being creative with salads and using all the edible leaves around, either cultivated or wild ensures we have a delicious varied salad each day and the more types of leaves you use, the more nutrients and minerals you get into you, all of which help your body in different ways. Check out the greens we have […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer 2017 Volunteering Photographs

We have now been living on the land for 8 months and have come a really long way due to the help of volunteers, we have collated a selection of photos from the summer of 2017 for those of you who dont keep up with what we are doing on facebook Related Posts:Photos of Volunteering […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Food Forest Course Portugal March 2018

Join us at Keela Yoga Farm in March, 2018 or October 2018 for our month long Food forest courses in Portugal. Learn everything you need to know about starting  your very own food forest and off grid farm while experiencing community living on a new permaculture project. Enjoy daily yoga and meditation practice amongst the beautiful Portuguese countryside! Related […]

Posted in Events, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Natural Building Course August 2017 Portugal

We are exited to be hosting an 8 day Intensive NATURAL BUILDING COURSE from 26th August till 2nd September 2017 with experienced Natural Builder and Teacher ‘Barbara Leite from the local established community Mount of Oaks. We will also provide daily yoga and meditation! Related Posts:Photos from the food forest courseIntegrating Animals – PermaculturePhotos of […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weekend Yoga Retreat Portugal

A long weekend yoga retreat of natural sustainable living on 29th September till 2nd October 2017, sunshine, rest, mountain views, starry night skies, organic food straight from the earth, movement, breathing, bare feet, community and magic. Related Posts:Photos from the food forest courseThe LandPhotos of Volunteering at Keela Yoga FarmIntegrating Animals – PermaculturePhotos of Spring […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Video Documentary on Keela Yoga Farm

Related Posts:Video Documentary on Keela Yoga FarmThe LandSave water with sunken BedsSunken BedsAccommodationMeditation & Yoga Philosophy Retreat with Sudhir RishiPhotos of Volunteering at Keela Yoga FarmVolunteering at Keela Yoga FarmYoga Retreat May 2018Summer 2017 Volunteering Photographs

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Food, Glorious Food!

Starting a permaculture yoga farm from scratch has definitely been a challenge within itself. It’s exciting, exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. There is construction, plumbing, solar generated electrics, gardening, tree planting, water issues and much more that is taken into consideration every single day. We have been lucky enough to have a […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Starting a food forest in portugal

With 46 acers of land, multiple fields, daily yoga classes, a community to run and a huge permaculture project, starting a food forest can be very overwhelming. We decided to fence off a smaller area which had three old burnt down pear trees, named it the pear food forest and made it our focus for […]

Posted in Food Forest, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Facilities at the yoga farm are improving

Over the past few months, while working on improving our water, solar, camping spots, food forests and vegetable gardens, we now have three choices for showers: A wonderful compost toilet, a yoga room, a chill out mezzanine and 46 acres of land to hang out in. The upgrades continue every day with the help of our amazingly committed volunteers. […]

Posted in About Us | 1 Comment

Pioneer Volunteers

Three years ago we planned to give it all up and start a sustainable yoga community in Portugal. We moved onto the land we bought less than two months ago along with 6 pioneer volunteers who offered to come and help us set up, in exchange for food, yoga and meditation. Related Posts:Photos from the […]

Posted in About Us | Leave a comment

Volunteering at Keela Yoga Farm

Although we have only just bought the land officially on the 22nd November 2016, my birthday, we have had friends and family volunteering with us for the past two months to help us start our permaculture and yoga project. Please see some of the work we have been up to on this blog. Related Posts:The […]

Posted in About Us, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Finding land for Keela Yoga Farm in Portugal

Three years ago, my wife and I decided to leave our  jobs in the city to start a self sustainable community and yoga retreat centre in Portugal. After two years of research and saving, we quit our full time jobs in Singapore and embarked on our life changing journey to find land in Portugal. This blog […]

Posted in About Us, Research | Leave a comment

Timber Framing Course Portugal

During our volunteering stint in Portugal this year, we have seen many different types of structures and buildings that have been built with natural materials and using various techniques. One technique that has interested me is timber framing. This traditional technique requires skilled builders that use green timber from local fallen trees with no nails, […]

Posted in Natural Building | Leave a comment

Foraging for wild greens in Portugal

Ever since reading ‘The Moneyless Man’ that was recommended to me by Kimberly’s brother Darrell, I have wanted to learn more about foraging for food in the forest or roadside. It wasn’t until I was volunteering at the Awakened Life Project in Portugal, where they serve wild greens as the salad at every meal, that […]

Posted in Permaculture | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *