Permablitz #195 – Greening the Mall at Box Hill
The Saturday started off cool and drizzly, but quickly warmed up as eager blitz volunteers met in the brick and concrete settings of the Box Hill Central Mall with a vision of transformative action – some herb’n’veggie-filled wicking beds were going to be made!
The day had been in gestation for quite a while – the coDesign Studio came up with the The Neighbourhood Project: a plan to utilise currently underused space and help promote local community while spreading awareness of ways to grow and share local food.
Once everyone had met and Cassie led us all in a series of ever-more difficult warm-ups, the first of the main wicking bed build sessions was ready to begin. Jeremy and Cassie of Very Edible Gardens led the teams, with Jeremy proving to be a hit with the young ‘uns!
It wasn’t long before the first two wicking beds had their plumbing set up, and the screening filled to just the right height…
Before we knew it lunch was upon us, which was just as well as The Vegie Hut provided this hungry group of volunteers with plenty of good food that disappeared very quickly!
Once our bellies were full the good people of Whitehorse Urban Harvest gave us a series of great workshops – on both plant propagation and planting with seed blocks! From there it was back to the wicking beds, although it must be said that under-age brigade were showing the grown-ups how the work was to be done. The kids were eagerly filling wheelbarrows with soil or screening for the wicking beds – even dragging some curious police into helping them!
Before long it was time to plant the beds out with seedlings of herbs, veggies and plants that bring in the beneficial insects. Once again Jeremy led the charge, showing the kids how to plant out a bed (“big ones up the back, small ones in front!”) as well as offering best punnet-splitting techniques.
By the end of the day the four wicking beds were fully decked out with edges and plants galore – and numerous shoppers were stopping to admire the volunteers’ handiwork – a great day with work well done!
A big thanks to the below groups for getting this initiative off the ground:
Click here to see the full gallery. Photos by Adrian O’Hagan and Dan Ong.