There are three basic ways of using hemp in construction:
- It can be mixed with lime or with clay to create a composite which can be used to build walls or floors
- It can be mixed with lime or clay as a form of internal or external plaster
- It can be used as a loose insulation fill in walls or roof, but for this it must be treated with a fire retardant chemical
An Eco Habitat is not just about construction - it is also about the landscape surrounding the building. In effect, it is trying to produce food with the minimum of tilling, protecting hedgerows and increasing woodland cover to negate the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere.
Hedgerows are a significant and beautiful part of the Irish landscape, particularly so in Leitrim with it's patchwork of small fields. As an intrinsic part if the farming system and as valuable wildlife habitats they are an important feature of the National Heritage. They also contain the remmants of the ancient Irish woodlands.
But hedges are coming under increasing pressure, from neglect, incorrect management and just pain old age and the majority no longer fulfil their orginal purpose of acting as stockproof barriers, and offer poor shelter and reduced value to wildlife. Many are slowly dying.
Consequently, it is important to manage hedgerows properally and to rejuvinate old hedgerows laying and coppicing means. So what better way of protecting your garden than having a well managed hedgerow surrounding it.
The Hedge Laying Society of Ireland (HLSI) has been set up, which can provide good information on how to:
- Promote the craft and profession of hedge laying
- Promote the conservaion of Irish hedgerows
- Encourage and facilitate landowners in the management of hedges by laying
- Establish, maintain and promote recognised standards of craftmanship in hedge laying
- Encourage and train people in the craft of hedge laying
- Research and document the tradition of hedge laying in Ireland
You can contact the HLSI Secretary, James Ham, at
Low Maintainance Vegetable Gardening
Minimum tilling is effected by utilising mulching and growing cover crops. This is important to feed the soil as a complex soil web lives under the ground. It is teeming with earthworms and bacteria. Benificial mycorrhizal fungi grown in the soil and with other microorganisims prevent diseases and help plants to fight of insect attacks. Heavy tilling of soil destroys the structure of the soil.
So mulching the soil not only sustains the food web but also is a less time consuming method of gardening.