Building Resilience

www.bealtainecottage.comSoil is being depleted at a rate never before encountered on Mother Earth.

www.bealtainecottage.comPlants can only upload minerals from the soil and if they are absent from the soil, then the plants, that make up our fruit and vegetables will be nutritionally deficient!

About 10% of the land on the planet feeds the entire population.

www.bealtainecottage.comA 1992 Earth Summit Report stated that American soils, for example, are now 85% depleted of the essential minerals and elements conducive to growing healthy fruit and vegetables.

Considering the fact that this report was published over twenty years ago, the soil would  now be considered to be useless in terms of growing healthy food.

That leaves many people in a state of undernourishment.

www.bealtainecottage.comI suggest you look into this for yourselves, to understand the full extent of nutritional depletion in the food we buy.

Type the words : soil depletion, into your search engine and YouTube, to be surprised and shocked!

So what do we do about this problem?

www.bealtainecottage.comWell, here at Bealtaine Cottage, the answer I have implemented over the past ten years, has been to continually mulch and build up the soil, all over the three acres of Ireland of which I am guardian.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis method uses tons of biomass, which I grow on the land, shred, then compost or spread directly onto beds.

You can see the bed I covered in cardboard, compost and shreddings last autumn.

The light material is shredded willow on cardboard for access paths.

The beds themselves will be heaped up with even more compost before planting out!

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is carbon neutral and requires no shipping or transportation…it can be grown on site! 

www.bealtainecottage.comBiomass is all biologically-produced matter based in carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, so even dredging the ponds of weed will provide nutritive mass for the soil!

This pile of clippings will be shredded to produce more biomass to be added to the soil, building up a nutrient rich, resilient land!



  1. Thanks for sharing! This reiterates some of the things that have been shared with me by a fine, elderly doctor and his nurse wife regarding the soil. How, due to depletion of minerals, so many are dying of preventable illnesses and diseases in third world and developing countries. Blessings ~ Ruthie

    • The same story is being told all over the world, yet nothing of this is reported in the media…all the more important for us to report the anecdotal and physical evidence we hear and see. There has been much soil erosion here in Ireland due to an extremely wet winter, with heavy rains and little to hold the soil in place! Blessings to you Ruthie XX

  2. I remember a while ago, having an online conversation with an American farmer who was defending the use of GM, herbicides and pesticides. I explained to him that much of the agricultural land here in England was “dead”, ie. no worms, insect life or humus, a desert in the making. I asked him how much life there was in his soil, at which he got very angry. I really think that he hadn’t thought of it that way, amazing.

    • Asking pertinent questions is a valuable tool in helping people to awaken to the massive problems we have created. There should be no such thing as “cheap food,” for that implies a value-less life support system. Farmers have been duped into working for the corporation and become enslaved in the meantime!

    • im an American, and i totally agree with you about land dying. ive bought a plot in which i am totally transforming from a grassy plot to a total biomass with fruit trees berries veggies. and willows next to creek. i WILL make sure that this land becomes productive with herbs, medicinals, pollinators and veggies. i am so ashamed at the blatant disregard of big corporations that do not care about mother earth, bees, monarchs or people. there is a movement i believe, of people on a mission to take back our planet. maybe more than you realize. if you can, on you tube, there is a documentary called * back to eden*. watch it. and a website called its time……..she needs all of the truly caring souls of our world……..

  3. Had a lovely visit with a friend to Bealtaine Cottage yesterday it lifted all spirits ,left with gifts hand made and given with generosity and my friend got a hug really spritual moment .

  4. I only started my permaculture garden about 2 years ago so I speak more from what I’ve read than what I’ve learned directly, but it seems to be really important to choose plants which include deep-rooted species to bring minerals up from the sub-soil that other plants would not be able to reach, and nitrogen fixers to provide that element which other plants cannot produce for themselves. Also it seems fairly intuitive that we can’t just keep taking all the time from the soil (the produce we eat) and never giving anything back, so recycling our own waste on site seems eminently sensible if we’re not to impoverish the land that supports us.

    • That is the answer…recycle all our waste on site wherever possible! This is the reason why I decided on a compost toilet and the use of that compost for tres to grown fuel and biomass…a circle joined!

  5. Hi Colette

    Here’s a riveting piece about the same subject, i.e., producing real food from your soil:

    Here’s a short quote to whet your appetite:

    >”There are very few examples of holistic approaches to nutrient management that incorporate strategies for increasing and balancing nutrient levels as well as developing efficient nutrient cycling. Perhaps this is not surprising when dealing with something that is essentially invisible and which has no generally recognised name as a concept. I use the term nutritional resilience for an approach that extends from ecosystem resilience and productivity, to soil health, plant health and productivity, human health, resource management, community viability and systems resilience.”

    It’s a fascinating article that really gets you thinking about what plants actually do and what they might do, given half a chance. For instance:

    >”what will happen to peoples’ health if they consume food with high nutritional density and no mineral deficiencies? If poor-quality food decreases the health of the population, and food of moderate nutritional quality can sustain health, will the consumption of high-quality food make a person healthier and more resilient? Can it help heal a sick person?”

    I think you know the answer to that last question. 8))


  6. Well said Colette. I have just heard about a person called Carey Reams who spoke a lot about feeding and nourishing the soil if you want to feed and nourish the people. He also mentions the fact that insects are beneficial because they eat or take out of plants the parts that we can’t digest and that weeds are indicators of soil health and let us know what nutrients are missing. Everything in the garden is truly the gardener’s friend. Have a great day.

  7. How are you shredding? I don’t want to buy a gas powered shredder and just wondered if you had a more efficient way. Thanks!

      • Brilliant! Thank you……. I can see the nuclear stacks from my bathroom window….. we live on the shores of Lake Erie in Ohio, US.
        Have been feeding my soil here for 30+ years and get amazing rewards…… Love the blog! Spurs me on to do more here. Blessings on the Spring sun 🙂

Your comments are welcome!