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 Bisaro and they will live in our pig house for two weeks whilst they get used to us. Our farm is officially called ‘Vale Leitao’ meaning Valley of the Piglet. There were already three stone build pig houses on the land when we purchased it. We had been using one of them as a chicken house until the recent completion of our new chicken house and run, so the pigs are currently in the old chicken house. more “Introducing our pigs”
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 blog post which shows photos of all of the build steps. more “Building our Strawbale Community House”
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 for the animals. more “Silvopasture for Chickens & Sheep”
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 for more information on Kimberly Manchee. more “Kimberly Manchee – Yoga Teacher and Co-Founder of Keela Yoga Farm”
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 us on facebook or Instagram. more “Photos and updates from 2019”
There are three types of chickens, chickens for eggs, chickens for meat and then there is Beyonce ‘The Gentleman Cockerel’. more “Introducing Beyonce – Our Pet 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, partners, other, yourself, nature and food.
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.
more “What makes the biggest garlic heads”
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. more “Vermiculture flushing toilet”
Instead of the usual compost pile to heat water with wire mesh frame and wood chips we are testing this with a wall of straw bales filled with woodchips, giesta (scotch broom) and sheep manure with straw bedding. more “Water heated by compost”
A friend dropped by and took some aerial photos of each area of our farm areas. These are taken at the end of the Summer 2019 when the land is very dry and shows the work we have done on this abandoned land over the past two years. more “Aerial photos and updates Oct 2019”
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. more “Back to Eden Gardening with a twist”
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.
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. more “Autumn 2018 reforestation efforts”
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.
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.
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”
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 leftovers but create a liquid fertiliser for the garden, compost and more worms.
We sell composting worms, they are available for collection from our farm or via post.
Cost for worms
€30 per 300 worms (approximately 1kg) + €5 postage and packaging
€40 for a prepared worm farm, this includes their house, bedding, lots of worm castings. Here they will move with little stress and you will not lose any population from the move. (collection only)
Includes our booklet on keeping worms
Please contact us to order your worms
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. more “Photos from March Food Forest Course”
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”