Fawkner – 4 years later
In September 2012 thirty or so volunteers descended upon Leah’s back yard and transformed it based on her own design, so we were keen to find out what worked and what didn’t. So on a drizzly Sunday afternoon, we were lucky enough to visit Leah in her home – complete with the amazing smells of fresh baking emanating from the kitchen!
The veggie patch looked amazing, with bluestone edging and a dog-proof fence surrounding it, as well as a pretty cool chicken gate that allowed the well-housed hens to explore the orchard along the back fence. Plants including possibly the biggest kale plant I’ve ever seen, a garden-bed full of broad beans, some fennel, nasturtium, lettuces, strawberries galore, newly-planted beans freshly planted in egg-shells to beat the snails’n’slugs, and so much more.
When asked what she would do again if she could go back in time, and it was more sheet-mulching. On the day the stores of cardboard and newspaper ran out, so some no-dig gardens were put in without first sheet mulching – and she’s been pulling grass out of the beds ever since.
Permablitz is amazing and it should be mandatory for everyone to participate in at least one blitz!!! Congratulations to everyone for the 10 years!!!
Elements that didn’t age as well over the years were the greenhouse that had been appended to the hen’s roosting area. It has become overgrown and Leah describes it as her “spider-home”. Similarly the hot compost system is no longer used – the requirement of daily turning didn’t really gel with the demands of a young family, so remains dormant. In the same area is a bathtab worm farm – this is also no longer in use for two primary reasons: the first being it is too far from the house so it suffers from “out of sight out of mind”, with the second reason (and possibly more important!) being that with compost bins around the backyard as well as the chickens, there simply isn’t the need for it. All food scraps (if any) are already spoken for!
Overall, Leah has found the experience to be overwhelmingly positive.
“The fact that we are still using the garden 4 years on, kept it going as a source of food, therapy, learning and for my kids – it is invaluable for them to observe and be and experience life of all forms. Lots of lovely moments we have had in there and many to come no doubt.”