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.
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:
Planting Cover crops in the vegtable garden
Welcome to the first edition of the monthly gardening blog that will feature in Central Connect magazine in Portugal. The focus of this article and future articles will always lean towards the edible garden, known in portuguese as ‘A Horta’. To download your copy of the magazine, scroll to the bottom.
December in the Garden or Farm in portugal
Here is my December gardening article for the central connect magazine. Summer has ended, the rains have started, and the cold is coming. This brings new tasks in the garden and on the homestead. Here is what we are up to at Keela Permaculture Farm this December.
Tropical Strawbale Greenhouse Shower Room
In addition to our outside shower, we have an inside wood-powered shower in our greenhouse. This gives the beautiful feeling of showering outside in nature but inside in the warmth of the greenhouse. The hot water heater heats the greenhouse, and guests stay nice and warm.
Photos from Permaculture Design Course Sept 2022
Photos from our September 2022 certified two-week Permaculture Design Course. Week 1 had two theory classes per day and two practical classes per day. On the weekend, students had the opportunity to visit another local farm for a work exchange. On week two, students were split into design groups; each had to complete a permaculture […]
Photos from Oct 2022 Natural Building Course
Photos from our 5-day natural building course in October 2022. Students got to experiment with various Natural Building methods, including wattle and daub, earth bricks, earthbags, cordwood, cob, earth plaster, lime plaster and straw bale. Please take a look at the photos below from the five-day course. You can also check our video from our […]
Harvesting Grapes for making Wine
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
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 […]
How to make a sheep skin rug – Easy and quick way
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 […]
Natural Building Applied Technology
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.
Natural Building Techniques
List of different Natural Building Techniques that can be used in a Natural Building.
Natural and Sustainable self build building Principles
Here are our principles for natural building.
Permaculture Diploma Portugal
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 […]
Thomas Henfrey – Permaculture Design Educator
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.
Registering Sheep in Portugal
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 […]
Baby animals are so cute – births on the farm
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.
Permaculture Internship Video
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.
Olive Press Fundao / Penamacor / Castelo Branco / Idanha-a-Nova area
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.
Buy a tree for a gift
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.
Chicken food forest update
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.
How to Kill Eucalyptus Naturally on Organic farms
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.
Private Farm tour & Consultations
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 about your plans and your project.
Offgird eco farm stay Portugal
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.
Gluten Free Bread Machine recipe with Carob Flour
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.
Update from the farm
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.
Closed for guests due to covid restrictions
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.
Morning Tasks on a permaculture farm
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.
Fruit trees going into the agroforestry field
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.
13 cool new trees
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 […]
Our first Article in Permaculture Magazine
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.