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Elizabeth Waddington

Permaculture and Sustainability Consultancy

Permaculture design, sustainability advice and environmental consultancy for individuals, businesses and organisations.

News and Inspiration

Ecosystem Restoration and Community Development Must Go Hand in Hand

I’ve been working on an ongoing project in Somalia, and this has led me to think a lot about the fact that, all too often, efforts in conservation and ecosystem restoration are divorced from efforts in the social and economic spheres. We often talk about the fact that economic sustainability involves looking at the environmentalContinue reading “Ecosystem Restoration and Community Development Must Go Hand in Hand”

Case Study: Washington Garden

The site is a domestic garden in the state of Washington. The property currently has a cabin, and several mature trees, which will be retained. Though is largely grassy, open and relatively exposed. There are plans for future construction – initially a garage and apartment, and car port. In the longer term future, there areContinue reading “Case Study: Washington Garden”

Using Living Mulch

Mulching is an important thing in an organic garden. It is crucial for protecting the soil, retaining moisture and suppressing weeds. It can also be beneficial in other ways, such as providing habitat and shelter for soil life and other wildlife. Many people are familiar with mulches such as compost, well-rotted manures, straw, wood chipContinue reading “Using Living Mulch”

The Future of Farming

Food system reform is a hot topic. It is essential that agriculture changes, if we are to successfully tackle the environmental and social challenges we face. As a permaculture designer, I often focus on the basics – energy use, water, fertility… But as we develop sustainable growing systems, we need to recognise that while weContinue reading “The Future of Farming”

Weed Seeds To Eat

When we think of autumn foraging, wild fruits are likely the first things that spring to mind. But there are also other more unusual edibles to consider. Today, I thought I would mention three types of seed that I use around this time of year. The first of these is nettle seeds. Nettle seeds mightContinue reading “Weed Seeds To Eat”

Patterns in Permaculture

In permaculture, you will often hear talk of designing from patterns to details. Most frequently, this idea is applied to garden design. We think about the patterns of sunlight and water, plant growth and human interaction. Since permaculture can also be applied in other areas of life, patterns can also refer to a range ofContinue reading “Patterns in Permaculture”

Cooking From Scratch

Since so many people have been inspired this year to grow their own for the first time, I thought I would return to basics once again and write a little about the importance of learning how to cook healthy, fresh ingredients from scratch. In our modern world, where so much convenience food is available, itContinue reading “Cooking From Scratch”

What is a Sustainable Business?

Whether you are running your own, thinking about setting up in business, or choosing from whom to buy, it is important to think about what sustainable business really means. Sustainability is about creating something that endures. But more than this, it is about thinking of the planet, and of future generations, in every decision thatContinue reading “What is a Sustainable Business?”

Green Tomatoes – How To Ripen Them and How To Use Ones That Don’t

Those of us with relatively short growing season often find that growing tomatoes is a race against time. Even though I take steps to make green tomatoes ripen more quickly, we are always left with green tomatoes at the end of the season. But just because the tomatoes are not fully ripe, that does notContinue reading “Green Tomatoes – How To Ripen Them and How To Use Ones That Don’t”

The Benefits of Clay Plaster

In our steading/ barn conversion, we are aiming to use materials and finishes that are as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible. One step we are taking to make a healthy and sustainable build is using clay plaster. In finishing one wall prior to the arrival of our Rayburn (delivery has been delayed but it isContinue reading “The Benefits of Clay Plaster”

Pasteurising Apple Juice

One of our favourite ways to use up our bumper apple crop from the forest garden is to make apple juice. In a previous post, I already mentioned our fruit press, which is essential to us in being able to make the most of all our apples. We have a range of different apple varietiesContinue reading “Pasteurising Apple Juice”

Autumn Foraging

In addition to the main autumn crops, apples and more, it is also well worthwhile working out what your autumn surroundings can provide. Even if you don’t have a garden full of food, your local area might provide a wide range of yields. Both in my own garden, and in the surrounding area, we canContinue reading “Autumn Foraging”

Sustainable Fashion: Repair

Of all the ‘R’s of sustainability, repair is one that is most often overlooked. The emphasis is often on reducing consumption, on reuse, and recycling. But when it comes to sustainable fashion, repair is another ‘R’ that can be very important. One of the complaints or ‘road blocks’ that comes up frequently in discussion isContinue reading “Sustainable Fashion: Repair”

Flowering Quince – An Interesting Ornamental Edible

In a shady part of the forest garden, sandwiched between apple trees and an east facing stone wall, we have some interesting and more unusual edibles. One of these is flowering quince. With its beautiful red flowers in spring, this shrub, Chaenomeles japonica, thrives in rather difficult conditions. In rather deep shade a lot ofContinue reading “Flowering Quince – An Interesting Ornamental Edible”

Practical Tips for Crop Rotation

New gardeners often sow for summer without thinking about what comes next. But in gardening, we should always be looking ahead. Planning can be important, though of course we should be flexible and adapt to change, and not stick too rigorously to the plans we make. This combination of planning and flexibility can be challengingContinue reading “Practical Tips for Crop Rotation”

Make The Most of Fallen Leaves

Gardeners and all nature lovers are no doubt already aware of the vital role that trees and deciduous plants play in natural cycles. Leaves fall, and through a series of mechanisms and with the aid of earthworms, fungi, bacteria and other life, the nutrients within them return to the soil, where they can be usedContinue reading “Make The Most of Fallen Leaves”

Sustainable Camping Trips

If you are in the need of a getaway, camping can be the ultimate green and sustainable option. Here are a few tips to help you plan the perfect eco travel adventure: Choose a destination close to home, and off the beaten track. Get there in a sustainable way. (Think about hiking or biking, forContinue reading “Sustainable Camping Trips”

Sustainable Wedding Tips

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary. I cannot believe it has been that long. My husband and I have spend almost our entire adult lives together. We were very lucky to meet when we were at university together and we’ve had many adventures since. I guess we have now more or less earned the rightContinue reading “Sustainable Wedding Tips”

Having No Money is Not Necessarily a Barrier to Sustainable Change

When I talk to people about sustainability and green living – money is often the monster lurking in the background. Whether spoken or unspoken, there is often the feeling that sustainability is a ‘luxury’ some people cannot afford. My job is often to make it clear to people that having no money is not necessarilyContinue reading “Having No Money is Not Necessarily a Barrier to Sustainable Change”

The Forest Garden in August

This is a time of abundance in the forest garden. Yesterday, we began to harvest some apples. Different apple varieties will continue to ripen in succession over the next month or two. And the plums are ripening up. They are not ready yet, but will be at some point next month. It is interested toContinue reading “The Forest Garden in August”

Sustainable Restaurant Ideas

As well as working with individuals to help them improve their gardens or live a more sustainable way of life, I also help small businesses navigate a way forward. Obviously, these have been, and continue to be, difficult times for restauranteurs and other food business owners. Thinking outside the box and finding new ways toContinue reading “Sustainable Restaurant Ideas”

Washing Clothes Sustainably

Yesterday I spoke about drying clothes – but what about washing them? Do we really need to use harmful chemicals to get our clothes clean? The answer is an emphatic no! We can adopt a natural and sustainable laundry routine. One of the ways that you can be more sustainable in your home is toContinue reading “Washing Clothes Sustainably”

Preparing For Winter Growing

We’ve already previously discussed the idea that growing your own is something you can do year-round. No matter where you live, with the right strategies, you can grow at least a little food all year round. So to help you prepare for winter growing, here are a few tips: Keep Sowing It is not tooContinue reading “Preparing For Winter Growing”

Where the Wildwood Went

The wildwood is a term used by historical geographers to describe Britain’s dominant landscape type when there were not yet managed, distinct areas of ‘greenwood’ but just one massive, uncultivated, untamed woodland/ forest ecosystem.  We began to see the destruction of the British wildwood far earlier than many people imagine – from the very earliestContinue reading “Where the Wildwood Went”

Growing Nuts in Your Garden

Nuts can be an excellent source of plant-based nutrition, of course. When choosing trees or shrubs for your garden, it is worthwhile thinking about nuts as well as about fruits. The options available to you will of course depend on where you live. In my climate zone and on my property , there is aContinue reading “Growing Nuts in Your Garden”

Preparing For the Apple Harvest

The apples on the trees in our forest garden are ripening nicely. We have several different varieties that were already established by the time we arrived here five years ago. Since we moved in here, I’ve worked to create understory planting. We’ve also adapted strategies to manage and make full use of all the applesContinue reading “Preparing For the Apple Harvest”

Why Trees Are So Important

In my design work, and in my own life in general, trees play a very important role. Most people are of course well aware of the role trees play on our planet in regards to the carbon cycle. But have you really considered all the many ways in which trees improve our environment and makeContinue reading “Why Trees Are So Important”

Forest Garden Tips

If you are familiar with my work, you will no doubt have noticed that I am passionate about forest gardens. This form of food production can provide generous yields for remarkably little effort once established. And of course there are many other benefits to forest gardening too – for our households, communities and the widerContinue reading “Forest Garden Tips”

Why Renovation/ Retrofitting Can Be More Sustainable Than Building New

When you think of sustainable living, it is likely that a number of different solutions spring to mind. You might think about a tiny home, that really cuts down your impact on the planet. You might think about a natural building, made of sustainable timber, straw bales, cob or adobe. Or you might think aboutContinue reading “Why Renovation/ Retrofitting Can Be More Sustainable Than Building New”

Increasing Yield in Any Garden

In permaculture gardens, one of our key goals is to obtain a yield. The higher the yield, the more productive, resilient and sustainable our gardens can be. Yield is theoretically unlimited… I recently wrote a short e-book for a client on how to increase yield in a polytunnel garden: How to Increase Yield: (without gettingContinue reading “Increasing Yield in Any Garden”

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