Permablitz #182 – Preston
Six months after a large extension was added to their Preston house to turn it into a true family home, Liz & Finn felt that something was still missing… bring on the Permablitzers!
Under the guidance of designers Chris and Ben, it was decided that a low maintenance gardening paradise for this busy young family could be achieved with fruit trees as well as some flowers, herbs and apple-crate wicking-beds for vegies. Also on the wishlist was a European style courtyard, to be created by planting fast-growing ornamental pear trees along the side of their courtyard in order to provide screening from the two storey house next door.
The day started with one group planting trees under Chris’ guidance, and the other group set up the wicking beds with Ben leading the way. The apple crates were elevated slightly on bricks to prevent rotting underneath. The plastic was fitted in, the outlet pipe and hoses put in place. Then the layers of scoria, soil and plants, and lastly filled with water.
Untreated apple crates make good wicking beds, as they are easier than larger garden beds to drain and empty if you need to move or need to drain the water out for some reason.
Holes were dug for the citrus and other fruit trees. A number were planted in along fences, and will be espaliered as they grow. The fence will hold the sun’s heat and radiate it back to the tree, keeping it warmer for longer. Compost was mixed in with the soil for the trees, and they were watered in with seasol to assist with re-planting shock.
Pea straw was used for mulch around the vegies, herbs and flowers. The coarser stringy mulch was used for the trees, for as Ben pointed out, trees benefit from fungus growing around them and the coarser mulch tends to grow more fungus.
After a delicious and filling lunch of soup, bread, pork sausage rolls, and cake (and even a few beers or wine!), Ben gave a talk on soil biology, which he learnt in a course with Dr Elaine Ingham (look her up you tubes).
A big thankyou once again to The Green Centre for providing us with a much appreciated Permablitzin’ discount for the organic soil, compost and mulch – good on ya The Green Centre!
The front yard wasn’t in the plan to be worked on, but it ended up being transformed as well! Weeds, plants and grasses were pulled out, beds and paths were created, and the existing rocks and bricks and the huge amount of mulch that was left over was used for paths as well as the front yard itself. Even the next door neighbour was impressed and came over to find out what was going on! Putting mulch on pathways is a great idea, as it will encourage worm activity as the mulch decomposes. Liz and Finn were very appreciative, as Finn said, to do all that work themselves would have taken them at least 6 months.
Report written by Liz Waygood