Paul Ryan

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since Feb 14, 2014
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Recent posts by Paul Ryan

Yes Glenn, I placed dirt-filled jute sandbags on the edges, and poked local grasses and weeds into them to get them started. It now looks pretty verdant. I'll post a photo when I get a chance.

The rest of the roof has collected a nice layer of leaf mould, moss, etc. that should help against UV breakdown of the pond liner. And I throw up sods of grass from time to time, to land where they will. (They always seem to land roots-down, which is nice. Obviously an evolutionary adaptation.) I'm not worried about the weight of the organic matter on the roof (yet) - it doesn't look significant. I'm more concerned about visually melting into the surroundings.  

I hardly think about the workshop structure now, just what's going on inside it. I guess that means it was a success! My thanks to all on this forum who offered advice along the way!
3 years ago
Two years in, the pond liner on the workshop roof is doing fine!
3 years ago
hi everyone!

I'm going to build a wooden cabin on a site near a railway line (no choice about site). There is a little ground vibration when a train goes past. It's not terrible but I'd like to minimize the effect if possible.

So I am thinking about putting old tyres under the bearers that support the floor joists.

I was not intending to fill them with anything, just leave them as they are. The hope is that they will insulate the cabin frame from some of the vibration but still be firm enough to give a good solid foundation. They should also a good damp barrier.

Does anyone have experience of using tyres like this? If yes, I'd love to hear how it went for you ...

3 years ago
Thanks David, I'll check that out

In case anyone stumbles across this post in the future, the following two books are useful if you're interested in the sociological and cultural significance of the dacha in Russia (but they do not focus on practical info about the actual gardening):

Lovell (2003) Summerfolk, A History of the Dacha, 1710–2000, Cornell University Press

Caldwell (2010) Dacha Idylls: Living Organically in Russia's Countryside, University of California Press
4 years ago
calling all Russian permaculturists ...

I'm trying to find good sources in English language about practical aspects of typical dacha gardening - plant lists, garden designs, month-by-month routine, ways of extending the growing season, ways of preserving the crop, etc. Practical stuff.

(For one thing, I'm wondering what's the same and what's different about dacha gardening and UK allotment gardening.)

Can anyone recommend any online resources or books in English? (I can't read Russian, otherwise this would be easy!)
I think we in the UK could learn a lot from the Russian experience of grass-roots food production (and making it fun)

4 years ago
hi everyone

Does anyone know what regulations apply to brewing beer in Spain (on a small-scale commercial basis)?
In the UK, small breweries ('micro-breweries') get a few tax breaks and a slightly easier ride from the state bullies, so long as they're below a certain size (measured in litres of beer per year)

what's the situation in Spain? I know there's quite a fashion for craft beers in the big population centres but I can't find much info on regulation of the brewing industry.

I can read Spanish but just don't know what search terms to use.
5 years ago
hi all

We're starting the hunt to find a homestead in rural northern Spain. Asturias and Cantabria appeal. We _love_ Galicia but it's just too wet.
We'd like a temperate climate, green landscape with woods and rivers, mild winters and sunny but not droughty summers. Ideal: an old run down cottage to modernise, with an acre or so of land and preferably a bit of woodland (or at least publicly accessible woods nearby). Remote is good, dark night skies are important to us.

The climate and rainfall maps suggest the coast of Asturias and Cantabria is very wet and the mountains are very cold (in winter). So I'm hunting for a sweet-spot microclimate in between - somewhere far enough from the sea not to be too rainy (we're not beach people anyway) but not so high that it's under heavy snow all winter.

Any suggestions? The area is so big, the search seems daunting

Are you homesteading in northern Spain? how is it for you? what's a good inmobiliaria for casas/fincas rurales?

We'd love to hear from you...

5 years ago
I bought my couve galega seeds from an eBay seller called patch-of-heaven (they're in Portugal). They all germinated easily, were very easy to grow and good to eat! It's a great plant and very vigorous.
5 years ago
I'm rearing a Forest Garden in Hampshire, England

I wish there was a UK-centric permaculture/forestgarden forum. As far as I know, there isn't one active. Permaculture Association's website lists a few broken links and defunct websites but nothing active and lively like

Perhaps we could ask Paul Wheaton for a UK folder on this site? permies/forums/regional/UK

There are so many people in the UK doing this stuff, it seems like a forum would be a great idea ...
5 years ago