Thornbury: A boutique blitz in the Northern suburbs, was an absolute cracker. The host, Sheryl, had quite a bit to say about it all...
As the blitz approached, 25 people had booked in after starting with a limit of 8; it got away from me a bit! Come Sunday though I was able to offer those on the waiting list a spot and most came. Tom Danby offered to help at 7.15am so I asked him to be a facilitator as it was Elias' first blitz!
The morning frost melted as the sun poured over the West Brunswick Food Forest, resulting in a spectacularly sunny winter's day. Volunteers from both the Permablitz network and friends of the Food Forest joined forces in what was a productive and fun day.
The last blitz of Summer heralded the first chill of Autumn – and occasional breaks due to showers! This day down in the South-Eastern suburbs saw a grassy, run-down and neglected alley...
...transformed in to a beautiful and productive garden, with a sunken wicking bed, sinuous pathways and edible plants galore!
Let it be said that there isn't a garden too small to be permablitzed. A small group of helpers descended on Matt and Emma's small garden in North Fitzroy, which had been blitzed just over a year ago and needed a few small tweaks.
This is what Kat, a member of the original design team and revisit blitz facilitator had to say:
Revisiting blitzes to evaluate our designs is an important stage in the learning process for hosts, designers and participants. Matt and Em have had a bumper harvest since our blitz a year ago but there's always adjustments to be made. Their major issue was with the sandy, water repellant soil - an unfortunate result of not-very-crash-hot soil mix delivered for their raised beds. After some careful research we used bentonite clay to improve the water and nutrient-holding capacity of their soil, which should mean an even better harvest with far less watering next Summer.
If you thought 10am was an early start on a Sunday – how about 8:30am? This was one day when many blitzers would be happy to get up a bit early; already 28 by 9am, and rising towards a top of 36 meant that a day of hats and sunscreen would be in order!
The first point of call was digging the pond, in an effort to get the picking and shovelling out of the way before the sun became too merciless. I can't be certain, but there may have been a few voices suggesting that perhaps the pond should be redesigned to take up the entirety of the front garden, so as to allow for some post-blitz swimming later in the day... however it may have been, by the time 10am rolled around and the official welcoming began, the pond was already dug and one of the first tasks after the opening circle was to fill it for the first time!
A good-sized crew rotated seamlessly throughout the day, almost as though planned – a couple of dozen blitzers moved through the site, with a maximum of 15 or so on hand at any one time as some of the early-starters were replaced around lunchtime by a fresh eager batch coming in to reinvigorate everyone with excited energy. Well, that and the lunch itself – as always at Permablitzes, a delicious but simple spread was provided by the happy hosts.
The main foci of the rest of the day, once the pond was established, was the construction of several wicking beds, raised vegie beds, and the showpiece cubby house for the children (both big and small!) of the family. Seila tirelessly took everyone through the intricacies of wicking-bed construction, all the way from the best method of deconstructing and denailing the crates, to how to ensure the correct depth and ordering of the 'lasagna' filling. The beds ingeniously also acted as the 'fence', providing delineation of the space as well as acting as a beautiful, edible barrier for a safe children's play area.
By the time the promised cool change finally swept through, the chilled water and 'sun tea' had been augmented by delicious fruit smoothies to ease the way through the final task of the day – planting up the beds to kickstart the family's journey to a gorgeous – and edible – surround for their new home. Not everyone could make it all the way through – well past the scheduled finish time – but all who made their way out to Eltham will have felt great satisfaction in making such a contribution to helping Renée, Ant, Callista and Cinta on their way.
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