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 just 20EUR! more “7th & 8th September – WWOOF’s 10th Birthday at Keela Yoga Farm”

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.

more “New permanent beds this winter”

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.

more “Winter Update”

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 us and also get a tour of our farm, a healthy vegetarian lunch and an optional yoga class on our new yoga deck.

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. more “Sunken Beds”

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 Fundao in Portugal more “Composting Worms Portugal”

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 itself if left to its own devices. However we want to speed this up by growing a lot more green material for mulching as well as fixing nitrogen into the ground. These are called cover crops, green manure or green mulch. more “Nitrogen Fixing Cover Crops and Living Mulch”

Photos of the Land in November 2017

Keela Yoga Farm is based on an 18.8 hectare (46 acre) plot of land in Mata Da Rainha in central Portugal. Far from any roads or noise, away from light pollution and surrounded by nature.

On our land we plan to create a magical place where people can practice yoga, relax and eat healthy food in a community living environment. We grow our own food organically using permaculture principles, create our own energy and plan to reforest as much of our land as part of our reforestation, carbon offsetting and food forest project.

Photos from November 2017 – when we bought the land. For updates please check our facebook page or blog.

We have our own waterfal on our land. Some volunteers showered in this duing the cold months now more people use it in the summer. We didn't even know about this, a volunteer found it...

We have our own waterfal on our land. Some volunteers showered in this duing the cold months now more people use it in the summer. We didn’t even know about this, a volunteer found it…

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Kimberly leaving the courtyard into the magical 50 acre garden where everything you see is part of Keela Yoga Farm!
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Cork hill which is visible from the main house is the existing forest we have. This mainly contains Cork Oak (for wine bottle cork) and Holm Oak. To add diversity to this forest we have already planted many chestnut and oak trees and plan to plant lot more.
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We call this lake ‘The Barragem’, which is portuguese for dam. This is a man made lake which was part of the intricate earthworks that have taken place over generations to help the land manage its abundance of water. This lake will be dedicated for animals to drink from.
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The stone pig houses that we hope to convert in the future.
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This is ‘Bonnie Lake’. It is full all year round and was historically used for irrigating the land, so we will use it for the same purpose.
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This is part of the old stone house before we removed all of the brambles from the front. It was built with natural stone from the land.
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Our land has many overgrown terraces and the land has not been fully used for more than 9 years. It also had a big fire 5 years ago which unfortunately damaged many trees. The lack of work on the land has allowed nature to recover it with natural grasses, wild flowers, medicinal herbs and pioneer species coming up everywhere making the soil very fertile. We have almost a metre of organic soil in most areas. We will turn most of it into food forests, vegetable gardens, places for animals or nice places to relax, meditate and practice yoga.
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Our land is big and nobody lives in the farms that surround us which has left a lot of space for nature to take over. With that comes animals. We see this vulture circling almost every day, and we have named him Hank. We have also seen wild boar, rabbits, deer, badgers, snakes, quails and many other birds that we haven’t yet identified. We plan to leave areas of land for them and provide corridors across it so wild animals can thrive and move. Don’t be afraid of these animals, they generally stay away from us but we do need to put up defences around our trees, vegetable gardens and food forests.

 

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If you like climbing rocks, you can go to ‘One Tree Hill’. There is large cork tree growing on a huge mound of rocks on a hill that requires some rock climbing. It has a beautiful view that includes Monsanto mountain and many farms and villages.
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This part of the land has been devastated by years of agriculture, the tractor and the plough. However there is evidence that nature is bringing it back as there are many baby trees growing and last spring it was full of wild flowers. This is where we will help nature move along by planting trees as part of our carbon offsetting program.
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This green shrubs are called ‘Giestra’ or ‘Broom’ in English. They have a wonderful flower and are pioneer nitrogen fixers so are usually perfect for a project such as ours. However they also catch fire easily and spread fire fast. Portugal has a huge problem with fires, and even our land was mostly burnt down 5 years ago. So no smoking on our land please. Most local farmers would take their tractor and plough across the land and destroy it all to prevent fires. We have found out that the giestra is a good mulch, good when put through a wood chipper to use in a compost toilet and a great for animal bedding. Instead of using a tractor, we will slowly over time remove the giesta one by one as we use them and plant other species in their place to take over their function when they are gone. In reality they will never be gone but we will maintain clean fire breaks around our land and the areas we live in.
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From this high point you can see three flat fields. These are open fields that have been used for grazing, corn and grains over centuries. The soil is amazing and rich and nature has taken over and it is full of different grasses, wild flowers and baby trees. We will be turning this into many smaller fields and a lake by creating edges through planting trees and shrubs. We want to make different food forests that would support different animals as without animals a forest is missing manure.
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As the land has been used by shepherds for so many years, there are a lot of fences around splitting the land into different areas. We will use these to plant climbers such as kiwifruit and grapes. In this photo is a gate to a magical flat quiet area that has olive trees, eucalyptus trees, one tree hill and wonderful view that will be turned into our Zen Gardens for absolute undisturbed bliss. Every been to a yoga retreat and the yoga deck is next to something noisy, a road, kitchen or nightclub? We searched for 3 years to find somewhere that isn’t like that so we can design the perfect yoga retreat from scratch!
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This is our rye field with ‘Pac Man Hill’ in the distance. All over the land are large stones that resemble different animals or things and we are naming them accordingly! This field was previously used for grains and Laurence has been digging down to test the soil for growing and the clay below it for building.
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This was the court yard when we arrived here in August, three months before we bought it. We have cleaned it up but we still have a long way to go.
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Chilling after a hard day clearing brambles and checking out the sunset from the rocks behind the stone buildings.
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Our friends that recently volunteered with us, and of course Lenny the dog, sitting in the field that we plan to reforest and create a huge lake in. It is very waterlogged and no good for mulch. If you know what else to do with waterlogged land, please get in touch with us!
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Before we started cleaning this well, you couldn’t even see it. Since then, we have cleaned it nicely and have discovered an old rock that a lady in the village says was for washing clothes on and an old tank. This well is fed by an underwater spring and has been stagnant for many years. We keep pumping water out and it keeps filling up! And now the water is clear and doesn’t smell. this is what we will use for showering and irrigation. For drinking water we collect large amounts of water from a famous spring in the mountain that has water with no chemicals and all the minerals that we need.
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We are free!!!! Our house and the back of it where we have started a food forest with the existing pear trees.
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Although we have been working on cleaning the land since August, we did not officially buy the land until 22nd November, 2017 and by the end of November we had planted more than 1000 acorns, chestnuts, pine seeds and over 150 baby trees. This acorn was the first one we planted. Our only problem will be locating it again….. We have the space to plant 1000s more trees and we plan to do it.
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Our cousin Louise standing on another viewpoint near the house that we can get to if you like climbing rocks. We only discovered this in November as the path is overgrown with mimosa trees.
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Near the courtyard is a big stone oven (middle right) and three stone pig houses with outhouses (left). We will use the oven to cook bread, cakes and whatever we can, and at the moment we are using the outside of the pig houses for storing wood. The land is full of very old constructions using granite stone that is in abundance in this area. On top of that, the old owners have left piles of them everywhere ready for us to use for any more buildings or walls as they moved them when they were plowing.
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Another view of the open fields.

Click here to see further photos of the work that volunteers have been doing to the land in November 2016

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 availible today for our daily salads.

more “A real salad from the garden”

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! more “Food Forest Course Portugal March 2018”

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 the first half of 2017. more “Starting a food forest in portugal”

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.
more “Pioneer Volunteers”

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, screws or cement.

more “Timber Framing Course Portugal”

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 I started to learn about it. 

more “Foraging for wild greens in Portugal”