Flemington Food Forest
There were a couple of unique features to the Flemington Food Forest Garden in October 2013 – the hosting and the venue. MINTI, a local transition group hosted the event, thanks to Tom from the MINTI group who had completed 3 permablitz days. The site was part of the Farnham St Reserve and council gave permission to transform the area surrounding some fruit and olive trees into a forest garden with public access.
The day was a resounding success. Jo’s planning and communication with MINTI as hosts was fantastic. We had a clear idea of the plan for the day and all that was needed to carry it out. About 30 permablitzers, some for their first event, donated energy, enthusiasm, skill and hard work as the photos testify! There was also enough time to stop for good meal breaks and to learn through the workshops interspersing the manual work!
We achieved everything we set out to do and since that day we’ve watched the new plants growing, had many conversations with park visitors and seen potential for much more planting after summer. An unexpected conversation with 2 first time permbalitzers last weekend revealed their lingering enthusiasm for what had been achieved and their positive experience on the day.
Tom found a great source of hessian coffee sacks, Vlad collected equipment and a team collected cardboard and newspapers. The local council delivered mulch for the pathways and donated indigenous plants. The MINTI team shared the catering. One of the MINTI group believes it’s the best activity we’ve worked on thanks to Tom who had thoughts of a permablitz to extend the Farnham St garden, to Jo who thought of the forest and to the combined generosity of the MINTI group and FSNLC as hosts. Let’s hope Jo’s dream of this becoming a model for other local public spaces will come true.
With an established community garden adjacent to an existing selection of fruit trees, the permablitz started with fair, but cool weather and all smiles – perfect conditions.
Having been planted many years ago, the existing trees were suffering a bit and wanted some protection with mulch and infiltration paths around them, so this blitz wanted to rejuvenate the site as well as cut down work for the council having to weed around the trees. To add to the mix was about 5 boxes of seedlings and cuttings ready to be planted, brought by anyone willing to contribute some plants, and well identified and planting formation suggestions by the new Encyclopedia Botanica Australis – Ros.
Designed by Jo, there were about 30 permablitzers on hand – a good number. Outlines for new beds and paths had already been done, allowing the crew to rip turf and level paths with Dylan giving a great workshop of using a sight level to ensure that two points on a path were level with each. Others sheet mulched the beds with recycled bulk coffee bags (a great smell for morning work!). We then settled down into the welcome introduction where the design aspects of the work presented (awesome plans for hardiness, species, sunlight and moisture conditions). We were also informed of the lunch that awaited us; soup was on the go, dips were out, great bread and a few party pies! And there’d be heaps for a hungry lot.…but not yet!
Work resumed: laying woodchip and sheet mulch on the beds, with the “fit-blitz” crew getting to show their endurance (not their strength!) moving 8 cubic meters of mulch and the same again of compost in under 45 minutes…hardcore! Wheel barrows flew from one side of the garden to the other carrying their cargo, and spread and raked into neat garden beds and paths lined with bricks – the big adult ones going from A to B, and little fairy ones for kids going via C, D, E, F, G…
Lunch was finally ready – yeeeeummm! There was a fantastic pumpkin and ginger soup, humus from the heavens, great bread, savoury and sweet scones and muffins, the aforementioned party pies, plus a create selection of cakes and other baked bits for dessert. I had three plates…oops, did I just write that??
After lunch, and with all the prep work complete, the planting could begin. In went two elderberry trees, half a dozen yam daisies, mints, nitrogen fixing natives, and a range of other shrubs and grasses to complement the bigger stuff. Jo then ran a cuttings workshop, showing us the use of willow bark tea as a plant immune booster to get them through the tough phase, followed by storing them in a juice bottle – cut in half to allow the cutting to sit inside and allow bigger sections to be added for the bigger cuttings – brilliant!
By 3ish the work was pretty much done – not always the case with a permablitz, but this crew were a finely-honed team of dedicated, smart and attractive…people, just like you.
Find out more about the design:
To see more photos click here.