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”
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”
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”
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”
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.
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”
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”
A list of nitrogen-fixing cover crops in Portugal and when to plant them in Portugal. Research-based on our land in Central Portugal.
This page is updated each season as we get more experience growing these. Last update in Summer 2020
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”
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.
During our Permaculture Design course at Rak Tamachat we learnt that, just because food looks beautiful and fresh in the supermarket, doesn’t always mean that it’s full of all the nutrients and minerals that it should have. Food will only be complete with the necessary nutrients and minerals if the soil is organic and contains what the plant needs. more “Healthy Soil for Nutritious Food at Rak Tamachat”