Constructing Raised Beds in Permaculture Gardens

Do you believe in Fairies?

There are times when the only way I have of explaining the growth of everything  here at the permaculture smallholding that is Bealtaine Cottage, is by citing the Fairies as the little workers that sally forth at night, as the sun descends and their Fairy Forts allow them exit…and here’s what I mean…

This bed is less than 3 weeks old, built and planted out on the same weekend…now look at the growth!

Well, it must have been the Fairies, because it wasn’t the chemical companies that most people use to grow food…

Mirrored cottage of Bealtaine Permaculture CottageTalking of which, I was in Lidyl this morning and they had some lovely Rose Bushes for sale.

I did what I always do, I read the label…and oh, the utter disappointment!

It read that the Rose was licensed and one could not grow cuttings from it!


Not grow cuttings?

That’s like telling me not to drink the Spring water from the well, or breathe the clean air on the mountain!

permaculture at 008

So, …these are the raised potager beds in the Magical Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage…

Cardboard straight onto the gravel to stop weeds coming through!

And now to show you a little secret…here’s what I use to line the raised beds, sheep’s wool.

It’s referred to as “shoddy,” which is the parts of the fleece of little or no use for spinning.

It is very rich in plant food and even a liquid feed can be made from it.

It will rot down nicely and the roots of plants can bury themselves into the feast of food that is trapped therein! Fairies are fond of beauty and loathe straight lines…none here!

Just one more little bit of information on this beautiful Sunday in the west of Ireland…

You may be wondering why on earth there are pots sitting on the top of the raised beds…well that’s another brainstorm I had…

Potager bed at Bealtaine CottageCut the bottoms out of pots and plant that on the raised bed, with a plant inserted, so the roots have even more depth! 003Have a lovely day and watch out for the Fairies! Earth Spirits are at work everywhere!

My special thanks and blessings to:

Linda Vassar

John O’Donoghue

Lynne Gruber

and Frederique Llensa

for your wonderful support!

 Please consider supporting Bealtaine Cottage


  1. Thanks for all the inspiration and I hope you forgive my beginner-type questions as I try to make a start on converting boring lawn to something more productive… In the interest of no-digging could I put wet cardboard down on a patch of cut grass, then shoddy and compost to plant 3 raspberry bushes and expect success? Also if I wanted this to be the start of a mini food forest what would you recommend adding to the same bed that will work well together and perhaps create different levels: canopy, raspberries and then ground plants to keep weeds out?

  2. Thank you for sharing! In your 3 week old raised bed you have put many willow arching supports…..why? does it give extra protection or does it deter curious creatures? It certainly looks elegant and I will be following your lead on that one and add to my own raised beds, I was just curious 🙂

  3. That is a great tip about the shoddy thank you. I have been using it to mulch the roots of some young fruit trees but hadn’t thought to use it as a base for a new bed. I also loved the idea of the bottomless pot. I’m guessing you don’t have rabbits in any numbers?

  4. I am in Wisconsin, USA. Some ‘shoddy’ is coming my way via a farm who has sheep. They also told me it would hold more of the water around the plant. Water is a proplem here. My 65 gallon watter barrel only waters my land for 7 days. This is using it by bucket and a dipper giving a amount to all that has been recently added. I am so excited about the wool,

  5. Re Roses / Licences: Suggest an edict be sent out from Fairy Fort Head Office (FFHO) to all Roses, reminding them that the terms and conditions of their Licence to blossom and bloom, states that “Humans wishing to encourage widespread recognition and support of the inherent beauty and horticultural importance of the the Rose species – be allowed to carefully, sensitively and respectfully remove cuttings for the purposes of propagation”

Your comments are welcome!