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:
Buy a tree for a gift. A birthday, fathers day, Christmas present or whatever 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.
We started our new chicken powered compost system one month ago when we finished our new chicken run. The chickens will make us compost whilst producing food for the chickens. This is part of our wider Keela Yoga Farm chicken system.
We have just got two piglets from a friend to help us manage our farm and give us sustainable food. We look forward to learning how to look after pigs and use them as workers in an effort to offset more carbon and produce more food. The breed of the pigs are half Mangalitsa, half […]
In September 2019 we completed the building of our straw bale community house. This is a large building where our visitors can eat, work, attend classes and relax. This was built on rocky land using a sustainable design and building with straw and clay from our area or nearby. Please take a look at this […]
Over the past year, we have planted one field using silvopasture principles. Silvopasture is where you grow trees and shrubs with animals integrated into the system that benefit each other. The idea is to reduce carbon based inputs into the system such as tractors to cut grass and fertiliser for trees whilst getting extra forrage […]
Kimberly Manchee is the co-founder of Keela Yoga Farm. She is the farm and kitchen manager and resident Yoga teacher. Kimberly teaches workshops on Reiki, food fermentation and preserving, makes cheese, connects the fresh farm food to the kitchen, runs yoga retreats, teaches local yoga classes and looks after the farm animals. Have a read […]
We have had a very busy year on the farm with more than 100 volunteers, many courses and retreats. We have started some new permaculture systems, continued in the food forests and with our reforestation project and the natural building projects. Here is an update on some of our current projects for those not following […]
An 5 min video update on how the earthworks that have been dug on all of our food forest course are doing after heavy rain.
Keela Yoga Farm featured a double-page spread in the local printer newspaper ‘Jornal do Fundão‘. It was using us as an example of the many people coming here to set up farms and communities offsetting the reducing population in the area.
There are three types of chickens, chickens for eggs, chickens for meat and then there is Beyonce ‘The Gentleman Cockerel’.
We are so happy that Sudhir Rishi will return to us for another 6-day retreat at Keela Yoga Farm on the 13th June 2020J. Join us to deepen your knowledge of Yoga philosophy, Ayurvedic practices, Permaculture and sustainable living whilst being immersed in nature. The focus of the retreat will be Mastering Relationships with yourself, […]
In 2020 we will be running 10-day food forest courses at Keela Yoga Farm. The first course will be on 17th March 2020 and you may also join us earlier to take part in the internship. Book now for an early bird discount
It is known that bigger garlic cloves grow bigger garlic heads. But I want to find out how true that is. So this year we are planting the bigger garlic cloves in separate beds to the smaller cloves so we can see it for ourselves.
The flushing vermiculture toilet system is similar to a normal flushing toilet inside the house, but it is the treatment on the outside that is different. Instead of a usual septic tank, we put our composting worms to work first.