Saturday 21 April was our very own permablitz at the rental property I share with my 4 other housemates in Preston. The weather was very cooperative! It started out a cold misty morning when the delivery truck came by with our 4 cubic meters of mushroom compost and mulch, but soon the sun came out for a very nice day. Volunteers started rolling in around 10am and started straight to work digging the fence for the chicken run and weeding the marrow by the peach tree. There were fewer people than we expected, but that turned out to be exactly the number we needed to get the job done.
After a false start just before Christmas last year (we had to pull the plug as numbers were too low), we were all set for 4 March. Response from volunteers was good, but it rained the week leading up to our blitz and poured down the day before.
Nevertheless, we had a good number to start in the morning. After some warm-up exercises facilitated by Kaz (Permablitz volunteer designer) we started. Seila ran a workshop on how wicking beds are set-up, while others assembled the other corrugated steel raised beds. Under Seila’s expert guidance the work progressed smoothly.
As it approached lunchtime, the weather fined up and more volunteers arrived. A break for lunch was enjoyed by all. After that a group started assembling a compost bin and the posts to espalier apple trees were installed. Meanwhile work started on rejuvenating existing garden beds and removing some ornamental shrubs to make way for more vegies. The four wicking beds were competed by 3pm at which time we stopped for afternoon tea.
After that focus was on planting vegies in the new wicking beds and cleaning up. Those who were able to stay enjoyed a well earned beer or glass of wine.
An excellent result all up taking into account the weather challenges! Special thanks to Sarah Gorman and Kaz who were the volunteer designers, Keith Rhodes who facilitated, and Seila for his wicking bed expertise.
Brave, hardy, honourable and strong.
From the happy hosts: As Saturday’s heat began to build, twelve people descended on our house. They quickly set to work, moving dirt and fruit trees, pulling out tree stumps, and constructing garden beds.
Interspersed with the hard work we heard laughter and conversations, and saw connections made and contact details shared. The magic of Permablitz seems to be that everyone gets what they want from the experience. As they left, several attendees, after having just spent a day applying their energy and time to transforming our garden, thanked us for having had them along!
Our Permablitz really began several months ago with the design team meeting at our house. Special thanks go to Leah for her great rendition of the final designs. We’re thrilled with the result and look forward to having everyone back again in 9 months to see how their baby (garden) has grown.
Thank you to everyone who came along. It was magical to see our yard transformed right in front of our eyes. At the end of the day we sat back in our new seating area, in front of our new pond, overlooking our new garden beds and breathed a happy sigh as we shared a beer to celebrate.
And from the Chief Designer: It was a great day at Matt and Emma's with a gorgeous brick edged vegie bed and perennial beds for arising from the bare earth. Despite hot weather the blitz team swiftly moved several cubic metres of soil and mushroom compost into the new beds from the adjoining laneway. Following a delicious lunch there was a workshop on installing a small ponds, and those who stayed until the very end enjoyed a taste of babaco (cool climate paw paw relative) and a well deserved cold beer! A testimony to the effective design (by Ryan, Leah, Thomas and Kat) was that despite the tiny garden (10m x 5m) the vegie bed ended up surprisingly large and should provide most of their fresh vegies, with plenty of room left around the edges for at least 5 espaliered fruit trees, fruiting vines, shrubs and herbs, paths, as well as a cosy seat for two to relax in their new oasis! Well done everyone!
Special thanks to everyone that came! And to Tim Metherall for filming the timelapse. In the background you'll see a fox-proof chicken coup and "strawyard" being constructed, with lawn cleared and veggie beds prepared in the foreground. Also check out the great photos from the day.
Also big thanks to The Sharehood who donated plants. Everyone who came could take a free veggie seedling home, the only catch was you had to take two, and give one to a neighbour and tell them about The Sharehood. The Sharehood "aims to build joyful, sustainable and resilient communities by encouraging people to get to know their neighbours and share with them." There's an online tool and services trading network. Learn more at www.thesharehood.org or watch the little video below with Michael Green, who gave a workshop at the blitz.
The hosts of this blitz included Asha Bee, who was at Permablitz #1 back in 2006 and is part of the Melbourne Permablitz Collective and writes our regular newsletters. They write:
Having been in and around Permablitz Melbourne in from it's early days it's easy to take it for granted that a bunch of strangers would come to someone's house and spend all day doing manual labour just for the love of it (...and for all the perma-learnings through the workshops and the opportunity to be blitzed in the future, yes) but being on the other side of a permablitz again - having wise friends help design the garden, chook run and strawyard, and then having a bunch of strangers-to-be-friends convert our field of lawn into all that in one day - it's great to be reminded of how special the Permablitz concept is. Three cheers for Permablitz and thirty cheers for everyone who was involved in our blitz!!
-- Asha, Ellie and Laura
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