Permablitz 173 Hurstbridge
What a great day for this Permablitz on 24th october 2015! The weather was warm; the Hurstbridge learning co-op is in a beautiful bush location and has many works of art dotted around the grounds.
The main tasks for the day were:
- 6 wicking beds;
- a food forest;
- a herb spiral garden;
- a small pond;
- 2 small geodesic domes to serve a guinea pig and rabbit houses
- 1 large geodesic dome as the new chicken home;
- a hugel bed;
- a fairy garden and tea pees;
- 5 bay compost sytem;
- banana planting.
Because the Learning Co-operative makes all decisions by consensus the design for the blitz was developed through discussions with the students, parents and the designers. Michelle and Filipe, both parents from the school, managed the overall work with each working group led by a school parent. Filipe was everywhere at all times, speaking in English and Spanish. (There were 4 volunteers from Chile and Columbia and quite a few from the Inner North.)
- Wicking beds
The design for the wicking beds was a real refinement on previous systems I have seen. Filipe demonstrated 2 systems for input/overflow piping: one using 50mm white plumbers piping and one using 25mm black piping. Filipe recommends the latter for home use as it makes draining the water reservoir easier. This must be done every 6 months.
- Sheets of corrugated iron were cut in half to give a height of 45cm and attached to recovered cypress frames, which incorporated a small ledge for people to sit on. The long beds also had cross bracing at intervals for strength.
- Heavy duty 200um black builders plastic lined each bed and was stapled to the inside top of the frame. If using pond liner use a non-PVC liner.
- A 52mm hole was drilled through the corrugated iron at the base of one of the shorter sides to take the 50mm overflow pipe.
- The overflow pipe was pushed through this hole and the plastic (a small cross was cut in the plastic at the appropriate point) forced over the pipe.
- The inlet pipe was then joined to the outlet pipe and cloth tape, silicon etc was used to ensure a leak free join.
- Slotted ag pipe was fitted to the bottom of the inlet pipe and laid out down the middle of the bed and then covered with geofabric to stop sand clogging the outlet holes in the pipe.
- Then the waterproofing was tested and then the beds were filled to 15cm with coarse builders sand; the coarser the better.
- The water reservoir was filled until the water rose above the sand and the sand was levelled.
- Shade cloth was laid over the sand and up the sides and stapled onto the cedar edges.
- Then the beds were filled with layers of soil, well-rotted manure, straw, soil, well-rotted manure and a heavier layer of straw as mulch.
- Herb spiral
To improve drainage twigs were laid down at the bottom ,then straw and manure was put down, and finally soil and mulch.
- Geodesic domes
These were constructed from reused sleepers cut down on site.
Also have a look at this video on our facebook page for the ‘dome raising‘
What a great moment: the completion of the new geodesic dome! The chooks and dwarf fruit trees will be happy in here! Thank you Matt and Lee for the carpentry and the 15 hardcore permablitzers that stayed until sunset! Permablitz Permaculture
Posted by Hurstbridge Learning Co-Operative on Saturday, 24 October 2015
The food was plentiful and tasty; the workshops were interesting and much was achieved.
by Jan Lansdowne