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.
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. more “Morning Tasks on a permaculture farm”
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 in our silvopasture. We also planted cabbages between all the grapevines that were added last winter.
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 grapes during the growing for truly organic wine.
This blog details the process and if you live nearby and have grapes you can bring us your grapes next year and we will make your own wine for you in exchange for some of the wine.
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 were up to. We are now open for guests and are running permaculture internships. more “Life During Lockdown”
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. more “Cleaning and Using Sheep Wool for Insulation”
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
€5 per 100 worms (approximately 1kg) + €5 postage and packaging
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”