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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

Sustainable Food Hubs – Why We Need Them and The Role You Could Play

Our current food system needs to be overhauled. Farmers and food producers will not need to be told that their efforts are often currently hugely undervalued. Environmentalists will no doubt be well aware of the problems inherent in current agricultural and food systems. Those living in food deserts will already know well the injustice inherentContinue reading “Sustainable Food Hubs – Why We Need Them and The Role You Could Play”

Market Gardening Tips

Making money is, of course, not the be all and end all. Permaculture food production can add value in many, more important ways. When trying to work out the value a permaculture scheme can add, it is important not to only think about money. It is also important to consider the environmental and social valueContinue reading “Market Gardening Tips”

Kitchen Garden Layout Ideas

At this time of year, you might be thinking about creating a new kitchen garden. You might be thinking about improving the layout of the garden you already have. There are, of course, plenty of different ideas to consider. In this article: 7 Vegetable Garden Layout Ideas to Grow More Food in Less Space IContinue reading “Kitchen Garden Layout Ideas”

Back To Work

Tomorrow morning I will be getting back to work after my break for the festive season. My husband and I have been working on our barn conversion for the last week, and our slow project is coming along well. But I am now ready and excited to get back to work on a number ofContinue reading “Back To Work”

Learning Lessons from 2020

2020 has of course been a very difficult year for many. But adversity always brings with it the potential to learn and grow. By looking back at all of our experiences, positive and negative, over the last year, we can develop strategies for a better future – for ourselves and our families, and for theContinue reading “Learning Lessons from 2020”

Midwinter Harvests

Though food may be less varied over the winter months, there is still quite a lot that can be harvested in my midwinter garden. Though there have been a few cold days with heavy frosts recently, there are still some yields to harvest outdoors. Kale, cabbage, sorrel and a few other leafy greens… In theContinue reading “Midwinter Harvests”

Edible Succulents

Succulents are extremely popular. Keeping them as houseplants is very much on trend. But did you know that you can be part of this trend and the other growing trend of growing your own edible crops at one and the same time? Most succulents are kept purely for their ornamental value, and because they areContinue reading “Edible Succulents”

The Green School Movement

Following on from yesterday’s case study, I thought I would talk a little more about why it is so important consider education, and examine the green school or nature school as an alternative to the box ticking education so many children today are offered. The green school movement is all about making sure that childrenContinue reading “The Green School Movement”

Garden Jobs for December

December might not be the busiest month of the gardening year. But even in the deep mid winter, when most plants are dormant, there are still some things to do in your garden. Today, I thought I would give you a list of a few garden jobs that you might think about taking on thisContinue reading “Garden Jobs for December”

Rethinking Thistles

Many gardeners view thistles as problem weeds. But thistles (of several different varieties) can be extremely useful garden plants. There are lots of thistles where we live, but rather than trying to eradicate them entirely from cultivated areas, I consider them as a benefit and welcome them in my garden (at least to a degree).Continue reading “Rethinking Thistles”

Pest Control in an Organic Garden

Organic gardening is easier than many people imagine. But one thing that can take some work is pest control. It is, perhaps, the part of organic gardening most commonly misunderstood. It’s not primarily about finding organic alternatives to chemical pesticides. In an organic garden, pest control is not about eliminating or ridding ourselves of aContinue reading “Pest Control in an Organic Garden”

Case Study: Small-Space Haven

This permaculture plan aims to bring a sense of space, nature and freedom to the small space around the home (which is currently being constructed). It aims to combine organic, natural materials with diverse living plants to create a tranquil haven and make the small space seem larger and more filled with possibility.  First ofContinue reading “Case Study: Small-Space Haven”

Planting in December?

You might not think that there is much planting to do in December. And it certainly isn’t the busiest time of the year when it comes to home growing. But that does not mean that there is no sowing and planting you can do at all. One thing I like to do this month isContinue reading “Planting in December?”

Telling the Truth

We all tell lies. We tell them to others. Even more insidiously, we tell them to ourselves. Lying can become so much of a habit that sometimes we might not even recognise that we are doing it. But telling the truth is crucial for sustainability. It is essential when it comes to forming a solidContinue reading “Telling the Truth”

Knowing Your Garden

Winter can be a good time to pause, reflect, and observe. It can be a good time to look back on the previous gardening year. And to look forward to the months to come. Whether you are new to gardening, or an old hand, the extra time you may have over the winter could beContinue reading “Knowing Your Garden”

Elaeagnus in a Forest Garden

I am soon going to be taking hardwood cuttings of some of the Elaeagnus in my forest garden. While Elaeagnus varieties can be invasive in certain regions (of North America, for example) I find that they can be very valuable additions to polyculture planting schemes in a range of settings. In my gradually evolving forestContinue reading “Elaeagnus in a Forest Garden”

Fruit-Infused Alcohols

If you are interested in food preservation then there are plenty of interesting activities to enjoy at this time of the year. When you think of preservation, it is most likely that your mind will turn first to freezing, canning and dehydration. But another interesting thing to consider is making fruit infused alcohols. Infusing alcoholicContinue reading “Fruit-Infused Alcohols”

Sustainable Christmas Trees?

Following on from my previous article, it’s time to take a look at Christmas trees from a sustainability perspective. Should you get a Christmas tree and, if so, which is the most sustainable type? Should you get a real tree or an artificial one? The truth is, unfortunately, that both artificial and cut Christmas treesContinue reading “Sustainable Christmas Trees?”

Why Grow (and Buy) Organic?

Today, I thought I would focus on why it is so important to grow (and buy) organic. In order to answer this question, we need to look at the problems inherent in modern food producing systems. Unfortunately, the cost of organic produce compared to non-organic options often means that the decision often comes down toContinue reading “Why Grow (and Buy) Organic?”

The Benefits of a Mixed Hedgerow

Hedgerows are a common feature of UK landscapes, but less familiar in other regions. There is a huge difference between a wild and diverse hedgerow and the mono-crop hedges that are more common in suburban and urban settings. There are a huge range of reasons why incorporating mixed hedgerows in agricultural or garden settings isContinue reading “The Benefits of a Mixed Hedgerow”

Identifying Flows and Pathways

Patterns are important in permaculture. Whether we are talking about landscapes, gardens, homes, communities or broader societal systems, it is important to look at patterns in the big picture. Of course, there is an important permaculture principle that we design from patterns to details. We take a holistic, big-picture view before we delve into theContinue reading “Identifying Flows and Pathways”

Embracing Uncertainty

As a permaculture designer, I am often asked to bring order to ideas, and come up with plans designed to keep chaos at bay. By implementing the principles of permaculture design, we can bring a certain order to systems and make sure that they meet the central ethics and sore ideals of the movement. ButContinue reading “Embracing Uncertainty”

Connect and Thrive

Everything in nature is connected. While we, as humans, often have a tendency to compartmentalise, permaculture involves seeing everything holistically. We must understand the connections between elements in every system, and use and value diversity. We must recognise natural interactions and use them to our advantage. When we connect – both to other people andContinue reading “Connect and Thrive”

Case Study: Terraced Site

This plan is for a domestic property in Port Townsend, Washington.  The Site The property is in USDA planting zone 8b. The frost-free period is typically 225-250 days. The area typically has lower precipitation than is usual for the state. There are typically around 21 inches per year of rainfall, and 2.1 inches of snow.Continue reading “Case Study: Terraced Site”

Planting for Soil Stabilisation on a Slope

Yesterday, I mentioned swales and terracing for water control. These landscape features often used in permaculture design manage water flow. By preventing water run-off, they can also aid in reducing erosion. But in addition to these earthworks, soil stabilisation on a slope also involves thinking carefully about planting. In permaculture, earthworks and planting cannot beContinue reading “Planting for Soil Stabilisation on a Slope”

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”

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