Permablitz #199 – Montmorency
What will you learn in the next 5 to 10 minutes? (if you read the report, of course)
- The location of the largest Hugelkultur
- The suburb that is most ready for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.
- The details of Terry’s next WBD boot camp.
- This one will mainly concern the residents of the outer suburbs of Melbourne: What to do with a large but sloping block?
The Day: Typical for Melbourne. Noncommittal and underwhelming.
The Hosts: Typical for permablitz. Lovely and welcoming. Spoiling the volunteers.
The Volunteers: Typical for permablitz. Incredibly enthusiastic, with an overwhelming thirst for knowledge.
The Plan: Typical for permablitz. Digging and shovelling, but with a twist.
The Chickens: Above average. Good looking designer chooks obediently laying despite the raucous.
Every year or so there a Permablitz FB post on Hügelkultur. The description of the technique is in the translation, “hill culture”. So, if you’ve got lots of branches/wood instead of having them collected or having a ritualistic burning, a hugel can be built.
It requires digging a ditch, burying wood with some compost and then piling up more with a mixture of soil to create an approximately 2 high metre mound. The primary long term aim is to create some delicious fertile soil. For those of us who need instant gratification, the mounds can still be used for growing many annuals and perennials, just like having a raised garden beds. As wood decomposes the mounds will flatten. You can do a time lapse movie of the evolution of your Hugel over ten years.
Check out the Permablitz article on Hugelkultur!
I bet your chooks don’tt live in a chicken Taj Mahal combined with the Hanging gardens of Babylon? Martin’s incredible chook pen was retrofitted with a terraced orchard inside it and Hugel in the bottom.
This is a great way to utilise the space. Just make sure you stock up on the chicken wire.
Wicking beds are a necessity in Martin and Marie-Claire’s case. Everything in the front yard has to compete with two large trees. The usual annuals only need about thirty centimetres of soil. Martin’s solution was to spot the yard with several slightly smaller than average wicking beds.
Take home messages: don’t over fertilise, it’s a closed system, and seedlings will do better than growing from the seeds.
Saturday was solid six hours of a great workout that included wheelbarrowing, shovelling and digging. Terry, the facilitator /human extraordinaire, was a great slave driver on the day. Not even children were spared.
In all seriousness though, Terry has made an incredible contribution to Melbourne Permablitz and averages at least a couple blitzes a year. On the day, he was extremely encouraging and inspiring.
Fabian and Stu were first time designers and they nailed it. Up until midday the blitz was on the way of becoming the most efficient blitz in the history of permablitz. Our shot for permablitz greatness was sabotaged by the hosts. What morning tea attempted to do with at least three different types of cakes was achieved with the three course lunch. After a hearty and very satisfying soup the volunteers were blindsided by a wide selection of quiches (I lost count, but there are photos), at least two delicious salads, followed by desserts and refreshments. Needless to say it was almost impossible to get back to work after the feast. Food coma!
But the volunteers persevered, and due to their stellar efforts the blitz finished just in time to be confronted by the challenge of a selection of even more cakes and a wide variety of cheeses.
Overall, the blitz was calorie neutral at best.
A big shout out to Yan, who did innumerable wheelbarrow trips. His day was definitely calorie negative.
Martin and Marie-Claire are planning to install two ponds for the aquaponics. Hopefully in two years’ time. There is already a waiting list for the blitz.
Once again many thanks the designers, Fabian and Stu, Terry, the hosts, Martin and Marie-Claire as well as all our enthusiastic volunteers for making the day so special.
*May not actually be the largest Hugelkultur in the Southern Hemisphere. Definitely the largest Hugelkultur in this back yard though.