seaweed and shires – great news

The shires and seaweed idea mooted some time back at TR meetings has come to the fore this week following a Transition Roseland talk by Heligan gardeners where seaweed was discussed in detail as a fantastic nutrient for the soil –  generating a flurry of activity….

Debs just got in touch to say

” Great news we can collect seaweed with the shire horses from the beaches.The village and Gerrans school are also interested. The school are making Keyhole gardens and growing veg (for the big lunch hopefully) and they will learn the history of Cornwall  farming and everything, Its great as it all kind of links together.We will put on food and drinks after at the campsite.

exciting.. as this idea is historically performative, poetic in the sense of bringing back memories and constructive in feeding the soil and generating collective action.


some notes on seaweed:

“In Cornwall until quite recently it was not uncommon to see tractor and trailers collecting seaweed from the beach, destined for the fields.” – Penzance now

Seaweed makes plants healthier.RHS discussion forum on seaweed use – peoples first hand experiences

“No seaweed, no cornstacks” article.pdf published in the New York Times 1851 – The Seaweed Harvest in Jersey’  (source accessed 3.09)

A frond of seaweed hung outside will predict the weather.(source)

Detached seaweeds sometimes called “total drift” have been used for many years in several European countries for the making of “lazy beds”. Soil or sand is layered with seaweed for vegetable production, particularly potatoes. Such organic material has proved very useful in very barren areas, such as the limestone Aran Islands off the mid-west coast of Ireland, and parts of Scotland. On the Aran Islands, seaweed and sand was painstakingly transported from the shore to small fields and laid on bare limestone to make “buaile” or small pastures. In the 18th and 19th century land within easy reach of the shore was much more valuable than land inland because of the easy access to seaweed. (source accessed 31.12.08)


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