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.
To join one of our food forest courses please click here
Other posts about our food forests:
We run a small co-cop where we make wine collectively together and am just making this short post so share to those in the coop who are harvesting grapes for the first time.
Planting trees in the summer is never ideal but sometimes we just need or want to do it. Ideally, we plant trees bare-rooted trees in Automne (or spring for more frost-sensitive trees). However, we have moved big olive trees and planted potted trees in the summer and this week we planted 21 and this is […]
A lot of homesteaders chuck away the sheepskins when the process lambs and so this is a wonderful free resource that anyone can get and turn into a high-quality natural rug. We have been making them for a few years now and are perfecting the method so I thought I would write a blog post […]
Here are some of the technologies that can be used alongside Natural Building Techniques. To join our natural building courses please do check out this link.
List of different Natural Building Techniques that can be used in a Natural Building.
Here are our principles for natural building.
If you would like to start or continue your Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design with the Permaculture Association you may do this at Keela Yoga Farm. We have opportunities as Teaching apprenticeships, teaching assistants and design work experience at our Permaculture Farm with Tom Henfrey, the only official registered Diploma teacher in Portugal. Diploma in […]
We would like to introduce Thomas Henfrey. Tom is a co-teacher at Keela Yoga Farm’s Permaculture Design Courses. He is the only certified Permaculture Diploma tutor in Portugal. He is an author of various permaculture and ecology books and has 20 years of experience in Permaculture and Ecology.
We have been through the process to get a licence for sheep and register sheep in our area of Fundao in Portugal and should apply to any area in Portugal I thought I would type up the information to share as it was quite confusing for us and would like to make it easier for […]
Keeping animals are such a joy, especially when you can integrate them into the farm to reduce work load and increase fertility. Not to mention all the food you get. This year we have had so many births of piglets, chicks and lambs and here is a little into and some photos for you.
Want to know what it is like on one of our Permaculture internships? Check out this 20 min video showing what we got up to each day during the Summer 2021 internship. Remember internships are different seasonally and annually but this will give you an idea.
List of Olive presses in our area. Between Penamacor, Fundao and Castelo Branco Area, please leave comments about the ones you have used or if you know any others.
Gift a tree to your loved ones! A birthday, Father’s day, Christmas present or whatever occasion you like. We will do a personalised video of the tree planting for you to share.
We planted a chicken food forest two years ago with many species of plants. Fallen fruit and low hanging fruit will be for chickens, middle fruit for us and the highest fruit will be for wildlife.
Eucalyptus trees are bad for the environment and a fire hazard in Portugal. We have killed many areas of Eucalyptus on our farm and we would like to share with you how we kill eucalyptus trees.
We can show you around the whole farm or focus on certain areas for a private tour and consultation. We will be happy to give you any advice you need and answer any questions you may have.
You are welcome to stay and experience our off-grid permaculture farm in Central Portugal. Find out what off-grid living in nature is all about, learn from us how we got started and see some of our permaculture and off-grid systems.
A simple gluten-free recipe with Carob and Rice flour, both ingredients readily available in Portugal. I just tried this one day and it is the best gluten-free bread we have made.
Here is an update on what we have been doing on the farm, information on upcoming yoga retreats and volunteering opportunities, and farm-stay holidays and experiences with us.
We were set to open our doors for guests again in two weeks but last week Portugal went back into a strict lockdown, so we have to close until further notice.
We made a youtube video on our morning tasks at Keela so you can see he we start our day. There is nothing better than getting to connect with nature, get some fresh air and connect with animals and plants every morning before breakfast.
This winter we are planting out our newest agroforestry field in multiple stages. A field to integrate fruit crops, reforestation and sheep pasture. This week we planted in 54 fruit trees into the agroforest along swale lines. Have a read about the stages we have completed and what we have left.
In November 2020 we planted our first 13 trees in our new agroforestry system. We have prepared this field over the last year with swales, fencing, cover crops and a pond and now they have 13 cool new trees! This field will have a forest planted that will offset carbon, create habitat for wildlife and […]
We wrote a three-page article on Sheep Wool Insulation for permaculture magazine. It talks about ways of cleaning and using insulation. More people should be using wool for insulation, this article looks at the effort vs cost saving. We have subscribed to this magazine for a few years and can highly recommend it to you.
This year we have had a bit of rain in September so we started our tree planting early. On top of that we further planted into the layers of our silvopasture plantation. Thank you to our Permaculture interns for buying trees and planting them. We planted cherries, nectarines and almonds into space that we had […]
We are lucky to have had our friend Kiko help us make the wine for the past two seasons. Kiko grew up making wine at his father’s winery, studied winemaking and has worked in various wineries. We make wine from organic grapes and nothing is added during the wine-making process and no chemicals to the […]
During the summer of 2020, we ran a 10-week Natural Building internship where guests joined for 1 week, 1 month or the whole 10 weeks to help build a barn from start to (almost) finish using sustainable building techniques. There are terms such as ‘natural building’ and ‘low impact building’ but this time around we […]
During the lockdown, we had 5 guests guaranteed with us for 3 months after they were meant to leave and then we enjoyed the farm to ourselves for a while. For those of you that are not following us on social media for our daily updates, here are some photos of all the things we […]
Sheep are amazing creatures to have on your permaculture farm. For very little input they give us so much in return. They manage our pasture helping to keep our land fire safe, they provide us with income from meat, cheese from their milk and manure for our food forests and growing gardens.