Warrandyte – 3 years later
Permablitzing seems to provide an excellent incentive to maintaining a garden. Carol and Alan’s permablitz was done in 2013, in two stages. Carol recalls about 40 people the first day, with neighbours stopping by to get an introduction to permaculture. It was an ambitious plan, with some of the preliminary hard work done before the blitz.
Three years later and the garden is still a joy. Carol says there was nothing that didn’t work out. What was planned (by VEG) and implemented works well and they are still developing more. Ebony, the black lab, has made her own decisions about plant placement, so there are a few new plantings in one of the raised beds! A few trees have been added, some to screen off the neighbours’ pool, others in the orchard.
As long as there is something to eat from the garden, Carol and Alan are happy. But there is plenty more. The berries planted along the side fence grew magnificently, even in the shade of a shed where no one (except Carol) expected them to survive! Now they provide fruit for Nillumbik Council’s Home Harvest Feast. A row of Lebanese cucumbers along the back fence is shared with the Palestinian neighbours, who reciprocate with home-made dolmades from the grapevine on their side of the fence. In the front, an old water tank has been re-purposed to plant a random selection of veggies to share with passers-by and a basket contains surplus-to-requirements veggies from the main garden. One neighbour adds her lemons to the basket also. This could grow!
Carol’s recommendations for blitzes:
- Let people know beforehand whether or not children are welcome and if they are, make sure the yard is child-safe
- Make sure tools are clearly labelled so those left behind can be returned to their owners (different coloured electrical tapes can help distinguish one person’s tools.
The garden is clearly well-planned, with plenty of lawn space around the various stations – orchard, raised veggie beds, berry patch, wicking bed areas, etc.
The chooks have plenty of space and can be directed to use different parts of the yard as needed via the chook tunnel made of discarded supermarket shelves. Unfortunately there are too many foxes in Warrandyte but the two surviving girls seem very alert and happy.
In keeping with permablitz principles, Carol collects her own seeds as much as possible – no bought seedlings where possible – and there is a wide variety of produce. One of the beds was being allowed to go to seed, so she can use them for the next planting. The lone artichoke mentioned in the first blitz article has become half a dozen, with mouthwatering artichokes nearly ready!
Weeds and disease are kept at bay without harmful chemicals – preparing her own concoctions from chillis, garlic and so on. The wonderful multi-purpose comfrey is plentiful, for use as mulch and fertilizer, sometimes as comfrey tea – and for sharing (my garden is very pleased to have a new comfrey).
Flywire screens protect seedlings from sun and rain, and disperse large water droplets when rain is heavier.
The plant hospital is busy, too, with a shelf of rescued plants right beside the compost tumbler system. Two little artichoke plants came home with me.
Alan and Carol’s garden is a place to relax and enjoy the gardening experience.