Permablitz #217: Croydon
It was the biggest project they’ve ever undertaken.
When Kirri inherited her father’s home, she knew there would be a lot of work to get it up to liveable standard. After years of upgrading the essentials (new roof, new foundation), it was time to focus on creating the home that she’s always wanted. And of course, what better way to do that than to blitz the garden?
Kirri and her partner Phi have participated in 3 blitzes before, but nothing can prepare you for what it’s like to host your own.
Adrian and Harry stepped up to offer their permie design skills. Their original design featured a water tank, multiple veggie beds, a fire pit, an orchard and all sorts of wonderful features. However, as always, designs change a lot over time, and some elements (such as chickens) may be revisited in the future.
The final design includes bringing the pond back to life, a native garden creating a screen from the street, a wired trellis for kiwi fruit and passionfruit vines replacing the front fence, a massive veggie bed, and of course a large water tank.
Out the back, the focus is on removing as much of the overgrown privet (a weed tree) as possible. This will really open up the giant north-facing backyard and let in tonnes of light creating perfect conditions for an orchard and a couple of hugelkultur veggie patches.
Kirri & Phi had been prepping for 6-8 weeks before the big day. Some of the prep work included the removal of numerous giant weed trees from the front yard (view from the street is pictured below), installing the water tank, sourcing all of the rabbit poo manure, mulch, wood chips, native plants, fence posts… I’m exhausted just writing about it!
Kirri called on a friend who is a permie tree cutter to help remove all the privet from out the front. He gave the thumbs up to use privet in hugelkulture, as long as there are no sprouts or cuttings in there it won’t grow back.
Over 25 people helped turn their vision into reality. And what a day it was! In true Melbourne style rain was forecast for the day so part of the preparations meant ensuring we had a marquee to hide under, but when we arrived the sun was shining and we were all ready to get cracking. Adrian shared the game plan with us and we jumped straight into action.
Out the front, we had quite a few work stations. Here are a few progress shots of each one.
Removing grass and sheet mulching around the giant veggie bed.
Once the bed was in place and ready to go, Adrian ran us through a brief hugelkultur workshop.
Want to learn more about setting up a hugelkultur bed of your own? Check out our article here!
Evan had so much fun filling the bed he busted his gloves!
The outcome looks incredible. The bed is full of wood chopped down from the back yard, rabbit poo compost (free & local), blood & bone and soil. The drip line is connected to the rainwater tank out the back of the house, and Adrian recommended it be set on a timer for easy maintenance. 50 minutes every few days to really soak the soil and ensure the roots of the plants dig deep!
The pond was excavated, lined, and filled…
Harry & co continue ripping out the front fence to make way for the wired trellis.
And out the back…
Before Tom & Josh can break ground and level out the veggie beds, Adrian and Kirri help work out the perfect position.
All those trees on the right? Privet. A very fast growing weed tree. Brendan accepts the challenge. He isn’t going to stop until every tree is down!!
A lot of work went into this blitz, and you might be wondering how does something like this happen? The short answer is: months of planning.
Kirri & Phi spent months sourcing 3 veggie beds, rabbit poo compost (for the hugelkulture beds), soil, mulch, woodchip, cardboard, all the native plants and shrubs for the front garden, netting, all bits and pieces necessary for the new wired fence and all the parts for the irrigation.
Would you believe that only one trip to the hardware store was needed on the day? That is a testament to their very well thought-out plan!
It couldn’t be truer when they say…
“Many hands make light work”
If Kirri and Phi were to attempt all of this work on their own it would have taken them months, if not years, to get it all done. Make no mistake – there was a LOT of work involved in this blitz. But with a team of people committed to transforming our suburbs, it’s transformed in one afternoon. Isn’t that remarkable?
In the upcoming months, Brendan will be bringing some of his goats to Kirri’s back yard for a “holiday” – they will remove the remainders of the privet, as well as some of the ivy and blackberries that were uncovered from the depths of the privet forest. Once bare-rooted season kicks in, Kirri and Phi will also plant out a number of fruit and nut trees in the back, creating a small orchard. Give it a year or two and the back yard will be unrecognisable once more!
The power of our community never ceases to amaze me.
Kirri and Phi are absolutely thrilled with their blitz, and we can’t wait to check back in with them in a couple of months to see how they’re settling into their new routine.
Here are some more ‘Before’ photos…