Permablitz #188 – Frankston
A sunny spring Sunday, despite the weather forecasts, made for excellent blitzing weather. Our host, Bronnie, suffers from chronic migraines and her biggest stress reliever is enjoying her garden – so our plan was to make it even better!
Bronnie’s goal statement is: “My garden is a place where I easily grow all kinds of foods, including fruit, veggies, nuts and herbs. Working with nature and the chooks means I have more time to relax and enjoy the serenity of the space. I love sharing with family and friends the abundance and beauty of what the garden brings. Along with the flowers and trees it is a beautiful place to be.”
Thanks to Nikki and Terry’s design, we’ll all see if we can get her closer to her goal.
We arrived bright and early to find Bronnie’s front yard already stacked with everything that a permablitzer could ask for – mulch, soil, bags and bags of horse manure, woodchips, timber and, just in case that wasn’t enough of a clue, a string of balloons tied to the mailbox.
Following some preliminary digging and investigation of the garden and surrounds, we launched into a briefing and warm up. There was a long list of things to achieve over the course of the day, including building a greenhouse, installing hugelculture and keyhole beds, refencing the chook run, digging paths and plenty of weeding and mulching.
Following the briefing, we divided into teams to tackle each area and immediately got down to work. The heavy work of digging out the paths and beds from the lawn, hacking out the larger weeds, digging post holes for the chook fence gates and levelling ground for the greenhouse came first, leaving the lighter work for after lunch.
We ended up digging out around half the lawn, and stopped for lunch (cooked by the amazing Leigh) surrounded by huge piles of soil, turf and bricks.
The hugelkultur bed was prepared by digging out the grass and then excavating down about 600mm. After this, the hole was filled with logs, manure, wood ash, wood chips and the top layer containing the grass, then covered with wet cardboard and soil. The bacteria from the manure will kill the grass and provide nitrogen, and the wood will break down over several years, feeding the plants that grow there.
The African keyhole bed is a raised keyhole bed with a compost pit in the middle. As compost is added, its nutrients are leached out and carried by worms to feed the soil. We built it up with prunings from the garden, and a decent helping of compost from the chook run to get it going
The frame of the greenhouse was built from recycled timber by a friend of Bronnie’s. It was decided to bolt it down using old sleepers to prevent it blowing away, and to reinforce it using fencing wire stretched diagonally. The roof is built from poly pipe, with foam tubing stretched over it to stop the plastic tearing through.
With the day drawing to a close, and the promised rain finally drawing in, it was decided to tidy off some final loose ends and pack up for the afternoon. It was after 5, well over our allotted finishing time of 4.30, but the extra time was deemed worth it, and we probably would’ve stayed longer if we could. We were treated to a sudden downpour 10 minutes after we left – just in time!