Blitz 151 in Northcote
Permablitz #151, held at Michelle and Chris’ place in Northcote on Sunday 13th October, saw both first timers and serial blitzers come together with good cheer and steady determination to transform the outdoor space. The morning was heavy with clouds, and as scattered rain fell throughout the day it turned the soil into thick and pebbly mud. Blitzers threw on raincoats and warmed up with a steaming cup of tea, leftover birthday cake, and a quick chat, and got back to the goals of the day.
Christine, who designed the blitz with plenty of input from Michelle and Chris, planned for the group to build four wicking beds, put in a couple of herb and flower beds, plant fruit trees, build a chook yard fence, paint the back wall of the chook shed, build compost bays, and sow seeds (and of course do a fair amount of weeding).
The wicking beds quickly got underway as a group began building the first frame plank by plank. Designed to water from the bottom up, a wicking bed self-waters by wicking moisture from its reservoir and is more water-efficient as surface evaporation is prevented. To watch a great how-to on wicking beds, click here . As the weather slowed the blitzers down a bit, Christine decided to hold off on three of the wicking beds for the day. By late afternoon and with all participating at some stage, the first wicking bed was complete with frame, wicking material, soil, and green budding seedlings.
While the wicking bed was steadily taking form, another group put in aromatic rosemary and thyme, and transplanted lilies gifted by a neighbor. These, along with many other herbs and teas, were planted and mulched on the edge of the garden closest to the house, with easy access when popping out from the kitchen.
Following the back fence, a group dug in a deep trench of chicken wire to keep foxes out of the chook yard, while a trio mixed concrete for the fence posts. Along the edge of the garden connecting the herbs at the front with chooks at the back, a couple of blitzers persistently bit into the clayey soil to put in a row of fruit trees. The small orchard extended into the chook yard so the chooks could enjoy some of the fallen fruit. Once the trees were mulched with straw and hard-pulled weeds, the blitzers gave them a long drink from the hose with a bit of help now and then from the temperamental skies.
Throughout the Sunday blitz, next-door neighbors and those living across the city came together to participate, learn, and build. By the end of the day, the blitzers had made short work of transforming a hard and scrubby backyard into a growing, good-looking, and productive outdoor space in the heart of the northern suburbs.