After rainy days earlier in the week, the day of the permablitz was a sunny and welcoming one throughout. Most of the crew arrived for the start (10 am on a Sunday!) and got straight into it. The day began with weeding and removing nails from old sleepers that would soon be used for the raised veggie beds. Some tree branch pruning was going on too.
Lots of the weeds and branches collected were then used to bulk up the beds, once the beds were built, using the hugelkultur method (branches and weeds first, soil on top).
Meanwhile the antique, broken down, ‘renovators dream’ chook shed had a team resurrecting it so that it became once again fox proof and a Taj Mahal for chooks (the frame needed a new roof, walls and door so we used old building materials that had come from other places in the yard).
In the chook run we created some sturdy compost bays using packing crates generously donated by a blitzer.
Work continued at a steady pace after lunch and we finished the day by kick starting the orchard part of the yard. We planted 2 olive trees and a pear tree and covered the area around the trees with cardboard and mulch (unused branches that had been put through the shredder).
Many ideas were shared, items donated and a good time was had. Thanks so much to everyone involved!
A plug for our friends who produce the excellent Permaculture Calendar:
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Produced in Australia on 100% recycled paper using vegetable based inks. 10% of net return donated to Permafund. Size: A4 (210mm x 297mm) opening to A3.
RRP $12 and available from www.permacultureprinciples.com
[Update 7-Nov-12: Check out the timelapse video!]
It was a gorgeous day. The sun kindly poked its head out just in time for the first blitzers to arrive - some new faces, and others who met at previous blitzes. In a circle of blitz karma, the host of one of my very first permablitzes turned up at my own!
As always, it was incredible how quickly the yard miraculously transformed from a mass of weeds into curvaceous beds, which were mulched and planted with a range of seedlings - some of which we raised ourselves, some purchased from a local festival, and many kindly donated by those who came. Two of our awesome designers, Dylan and Jo, led a series of workshops on how to build a planter made of recycled wood from pallets, vertical pallet gardening, and making a worm farm. There was such a great vibe among all present - for most of whom this was their first blitz - and I think we all learned a lot with, and from, each other. (This is the best part of a Permablitz!)
Thank you so much to everyone who came, or offered support in one way or another. It's really amazing what we achieved together in such a short time. See you at another blitz, somewhere, somehow!
We had about seven people attend the blitz on Sunday. We relocated about three cubic metres of soil, set up about four raised vegie beds including planting seedlings, and weeded the existing orchard in the front garden.
David and Nancy were great hosts, helping out and providing a lovely lunch.
[ After we made some reference to the apparent incompatibility of permablitzing and goth culture in a recent newsletter we received several responses from some wonderful ecologically-minded goths, who are involved in activities such as permaculture, homesteading, even tall ship rigging! Perhaps the most heartwarming and also awesomely hilarious came from Emily, who writes: ]
Hi Permablitz team,
It's so funny that you've had people share goth gardening stories with you, because my friends and I once thought we were the only goths in the garden, and then over the years have realised there's quite a big underground black draped, green thumbed gardening scene out there!
As young adults, two close friends and I used to covertly partake in environmental rehabilitation programs during the day and then don our corsets, doc martens, fishnets and big hair to head out at night. So secretive was one of my friends about not disclosing her day work with Conservation Volunteers that a friend in the goth scene once quizzed whether she was a sex-worker and that's why she wouldn't confess her profession! When we finally did tell another friend in the goth scene, he confided that he too cared about the environment and had a particular interest in bats (no great surprise there!). He then bought us books by the Australian conservationist Harry Butler to the nightclub he DJd at, carefully concealed in black plastic bags so as to preserve the secrecy of the goth gardeners. Later we spent a stint living in the UK and used to alternate our weekends either volunteering for local conservation causes or traveling to Germany to attend goth music festivals. Attached is a photo of me at/after a recent blitz wearing a souvenir t-shirt from one of the festivals, Zillo, with my friend Leoni who clearly embraces her hippy side far more than her goth side these days. Over the years our dedication to gardening has stood strong, but our involvement in the goth scene has definitely faded. But as they say, 'once you turn black you don't turn back', and we'll still crank old goth favourites on the stereo and laugh in glee when we hear gossip from the goth scene about prominent goths taking up horticulture courses. Clearly we weren't the only ones with black eyeliner and green thumbs!
[ We love it! Thanks so much Emily and Leoni!
Emily is also involved in Putting Down Roots Seed Bank a gardening and food security project for vulnerable migrants. They need urgent donations of seed and small gardening tools! More info here (PDF) ]
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