Here the members of PermablitzACT share their blitz day experiences.
|Posted on December 22, 2016 at 12:40 AM||comments (0)|
Who lives here - Deb and her dog Molly.
Aims of the blitz - Garden tidy up with an extensive list of things to do, thankfully there were choices and priorities and then have a celebratory lunch.
Project details - Cut down an old rusted water tank, excavate and convert rabbit 'patch' to vegetable garden and create hot compost pile.
Challenges faced - So many jobs on the list, which ones to do first. After a group discussion priorities were made to start on the vegetable garden bed.
Achieved on the day - We weeded the existing overgrown vegetable patch and excavated an area to build raised garden beds on. Built a hot compost pile with the weeds, straw, chicken manure and grass clippings. Replanted the rhubarb into individual wicking tubs of cut down old 44 gallon drums. Cut down an old water tank and removed it from it's rotted stand. Many hands make lighter work of lifting a tank, heavier than anticipated.
|Posted on August 28, 2016 at 11:00 PM||comments (0)|
Who lives here - Sarina, Ben and their children Aria and Allegra.
Aims of the blitz - Garden tidy up and construction of four raised wicking beds.
Project details - Site clean up, construction of four raised wicking beds, pruning existing free trees and planting support (guild) plants for fruit trees.
Challenges faced - Sourcing chemical-free products for the wicking bed was important and took much research.
Weeding the are took a lot longer than first estimated as the couch grass had grown under the concrete paths.
Everyone wanted to be involved in the construction of the wicking beds, because that was exciting. However, there were some technical aspects to jobs (sawing, drilling, leveling foundations) that slowed the process and some people were left standing around. The construction also took longer than anticipated.
Achieved on the day - We ended the day with two constructed wicking beds that were filled with gravel and ag pipe.
Follow up - Sarina and Ben finished the remaining two wicking beds because tha gravel and soil on the driveway were blocking the garage. This is the start of the realisation of a personal vision and family learning opprtunity. Aria now has a functioning worm farm and has been diligently looking after the worm and was able to show off some fresh worm wee. Allegra has been chatting to the garden fairies. The wicking beds have produced winter salad vegies and as spring approaches the newly planted dwarf fruit trees are budding.
Sarina and Ben send a big thank you to everyone who helped in their graden makeover.
|Posted on August 24, 2016 at 1:45 AM||comments (0)|
Who lives here - Deb and her dog Molly
Aim of the blitz - Build a mini swale to allow water into the dry-as-a-bone soil profile.
Project details - Mark out on-contour mini swale, fill in rabbit holes and pull out weeds.
Challenges faced - Deb had to leave for fire station dutires and the remaining blitzers were left leaderless, so only one swale was finished.
Achieved on the day - Dug out a ditch and using the soil to build a berm making a swale 20 metres long.
Follow up - When the next lot of rain fell the swale caught and slowed down the water running off the hill allowing it to soak into the ground.
|Posted on August 23, 2016 at 11:00 PM||comments (0)|
Who lives here - Katy and Greg Bates with their children Nathan (7) and Ruth (5).
Aims of the blitz - Move a huge 10m2 pile of soil to create two swales in the front yard allowing us to grow more vegetables.
Project details - Construct two berms (raised beds) in hugelkultur-style, down the slope of the existing grassy front yard to grow vegetables.
Challenges faced - moving a big pile of soil with only one wheel barrow. Wheelie bins and the trailer were used to physically move soil.
Not enought materials to finish the mulching. We had to go door knocking the neighbours for extra newspapers.
Achieved on the day - Three-quarters of the berms completed, making it look like a push-you pull-you instead.
Follow up - The berms were planted out with summer vegetables which all grew fantastically. One zucchini grew to four metres in length and we harvested 50 kilograms of tomatoes. And when we finally had a big rain event (40mm) the berms caught and slowed down the water making 20cm deep puddles to splash in.
|Posted on October 3, 2010 at 2:25 AM||comments (2)|
Who Lives Here Cally and her two dogs, Cassie and Kiki!
Aims of the Blitz
The aim with my yard was to make it as productive as possible whilst still allowing my dogs some space to run around in.
Berryponics - Before
Berryponics - Stephen's Workshop
Berryponics - Ready for planting!
Project 1 : Berryponics
The most complicated project was the berryponics system down the west side of the property – basically a series of wicking beds designed to allow production to occur in the most inhospitable of Australian environments – directly under Eucalyptus trees, which are notorious for sucking every last bit of moisture out of the soil around them.
My job ahead of the blitz was to plug all holes in the tubs with silicon and pond liner, to ensure they wouldn’t leak.
Front Yard - Before
Team Leaders, Warren and Alison, planning
Halfway there in the front yard!
Finishing touches on the Front Yard
Project 2 : Ground Preparation
The second project was to prepare the ground for a native garden under another pair of eucalypts in the front garden, on a north facing slope. Again, because of the issue of root competition from eucalypts, the strategy was to separate the garden bed from the roots by digging down, laying geotextile (super thick weed mat), and then piling up fresh soil, compost and mulch on top, ready for planting out.
Side yard - Swale before
Swale system - after digging
Filling in the swale
Team Leader, Riccardo, adding some finishing touches!
Project 3 : Swale System
The third project consisted of digging a path down the side of the house that doubled as a swale system, capturing rain water and letting it slowly soak into the beds around the path which would contain a ‘forest’ of fruit trees. There was a bit of preparation required for this site too, as an old concrete path down the side of the house had to be removed ahead of the blitz. Thankfully I found a pair of willing tradies to jackhammer out the old path for a reasonable fee.
Not enough chairs or tables (despite already having three, (yes three!), dining tables!); not having rocks to finish off the fruit tree swale system; not having enough cutlery or crockery (hooray for Anne-Maree and my neighbour Sarah!).
Achieved on the Day
With so many helping hands, the projects were all completed by the end of the day. I was thrilled. What an excellent day.
1. Fruit tree swale system – I’ve put rocks as borders almost all of the way along, but still need to get a few more rocks! All the trees bar one are in leaf and looking happy. And guess what – the Jerusalem artichokes have popped their heads up out of the ground now too! With all of the rain we had recently, I got a friend to cut open two of my gutters so that rain could flow into the system, and it looks to be working well. Great to see the pond all filled up with water again
2. Berryponics: well, I’ve planted up the tubs, and they’re starting to grow well. I’m especially pleased with the cranberries which are putting on heaps of new growth. Looks like I might get a crop of white currants in a couple of months as well
3. The bush tucker zone: Thanks to the dogs, this zone needed a bit of remedial action just recently. This involved pushing the soil back far enough that I could find the geotextile underneath and put a proper border around the zone so the soil stays in place. This duly completed, I have now planted the zone with lots of seeds – mostly warrigal greens, though interspersed with corn, beans, and bordered with nasturtiums – so looking forward to when they all come up in the warmer weather!
Photos Link Cally's Blitz Day
Cally's Article SEE-Change Newsletter Aug/ Sept 2010
Cally's Article SEE-Change Newsletter Oct/ Nov 2010
|Posted on March 10, 2010 at 5:05 AM||comments (0)|
Before - On the day of the Blitz
Who Lives Here
Myself and my four children
Aims of the Blitz
To build a dog proof chicken house and run. Establish more growing beds, plant fruit trees.
It rained in the afternoon, so some jobs are yet to be completed
Achieved on the Day
Planted four fruit trees, extra growing beds, awesome chook house almost completed
To have part two of the blitz completed.
Link to Photo Album Ali's Garden
After - Autumn 2010
Follow Up Blitz - Dec 2010
As Ali's first Blitz was rained out, a second follow up Blitz was held in December 2010. On this day, the chicken house and run was finished. The front yard was also completed with a herb spiral and fruit trees.
|Posted on December 18, 2009 at 9:05 AM||comments (4)|
Day 1 - Saturday morning
The sun was shining and it was going to be a warm day. I woke up strangely keen to make my verge garden - I had three trees waiting to be planted that were about to expire in the heat,and I had decided that the verge would be the best place for them. The area is south facing so shaded by the fence for quite a lot of the day - by the time the trees are tall enough to get above thefence and really blasted by the sun they should be well established.
So I got to work - and if anyone has tried to work seriously-baked Canberra clay, then you'll likely feel my pain. The ground was almost water proof when I started, and as hard as concrete. I started attacking the ground to loosen the surface - I had a small crowbarand a large pick, and of the two, the smaller crowbar was probably more successful. Being on the small side, and blessed with matchstick arms that would make even Popeye's Olive Oil ashamed, I could hardly even lift the large pick! Once I'd made some indentations, I could get some water to stay on the surface long enough to sink in (there's a bit of a slope). Then I'd work a bit more on the surface (probably only to a depth of oneor two inches - it was really hard) and then put some more water on.
Although I was planning to build a bed on top of this area, I thought it would be good to get a bit of moisture into what would become the subsoil - otherwise it might remain an impenetrable barrier to plant roots for quite some time. The thing I've learned about clay soils is that once they are a bit damp (but not saturated) they become moderately workable, so the trick was to get enough water in there to do the most of the hard work for me. That said, the water definitely didn't do all of the hard work - my poor little arms were so sore by Monday Icould hardly move!
The first picture shows the three holes I managed to dig where the trees would go. I filled them up with water to soak into the adjacent soil, and then went inside for a rest and a cuppa...
After the water soaked away, I crow-barred a bit more and then watered the ground again. After a few more hours (and a few more restsand cuppas) the soil had soaked up enough water for me to start adding organic matter to the top. I put in two barrow loads of rotted cow manure,about a garden bag full of old grass clippings, several barrow loads of soil (this I had bought and it was a mix of cow manure, sand and clay), and some mostly rotted vegetable compost from my compost bin. Having mixed it around, I put in a couple of groups of petunias (my Mum always says you shouldplant in threes or fives where possible) that I had bought very cheaply from the Farmers' Market.
Day 2 - Sunday morning
By Sunday morning the area looked like this...
I chose petunias as the colour for this bed not only because they are inexpensive, but also because they are surprisingly droughtand cold tolerant, and should last right through this summer, autumn and winter, and then bloom on to next spring. I also thought it was a good idea to camouflage the herbs I was going to plant - not only to confuse insects, but also any hungry passers by!
Day 2 - Sunday evening
Sunday was a really hot day, so took plenty of breaks in between plantings. As I put the plants in, I realised I needed some stepping stones to access all of the plants. Fortunately I have a lot of leftover bitsof garden edging from the previous owner's front garden (which I'm gradually dismantling), so those became the stepping stones. By late on Sunday, the garden was really taking shape, and I even had one of my neighbours applaud when she drove by! The mulch I used was sugar cane mulch - almost too fine on awindy day, but it didn't all blow away and it's doing a good job of keeping the moisture in...
As I am still in the early stages of doing my own garden inside of my fence, it might seem odd to have rushed out into the street already.However, the advantage of this garden is that it's much safer from my puppies,who, little darlings that they are, can sometimes be a little too 'helpful' indigging up and trampling over any newly created garden beds! That said, I can happily report that my fruit trees in the back garden seem to be settling in well, despite the best efforts of my two best friends. And the verge garden is still looking good too, about a week and a half since I planted it. Good thing too, as the whole neighbourhood will be watching ifit fails! But because it's in shade for a fair bit of the day, the bed hasn't needed too much water - I'm only watering it about twice a week at the moment.
This weekend I'll be finishing off the bed - with some more drought tolerant plants at thefar left-hand-side which does get a bit of the hot afternoon sun. Probably some lavender for some low shade and maybe something like 'pig face' or other seaside native plant. And then, at some point, I mean to paint the fence as I'm not really a Mission Brown kind of girl - colour suggestions most welcome...
|Posted on October 8, 2009 at 12:25 AM||comments (1)|
Who Lives Here
Anne-Maree & Warren Jolly. Children: Angus (20), Siobhan (18), Hamish (15) and Marie Maher (Anne-Maree’s Mum)
Aims of the Blitz
Breathe life into an expansive but somewhat neglected garden in order to move it towards being as productive as possible. As Blitz #2, it was seen as building on the momentum of Blitz #1.
· Install a vegetable garden on what was left of a previous vegetable garden.
· Refurbish reticulation where necessary with more water efficient version
· Clear expanses of noxious weeds
· Install vegetable garden alongside driveway
· Install kitchen garden around rear pergola/natural shade
· Install herb garden in courtyard
· Scoping all projects to ensure all materials and plans were on site on the day
Achieved on the Day
· Day 1 – Site Prep (lots of manual labour)
· Day 2 – Install gardens, reticulation, plant seedlings
· Great lunches both days!
· Good crops achieved from tomato, zucchini, silvanberry, potato, beetroot, capsicum, leek, lettuce, many herbs
· Continuing to plant as much as we can
· Anne-Maree has worked very hard improving the soil with hugulkultur and composting
· Worms providing lots of nitrogen
· Fruit trees and grape vines all identified and pruned with more to plant
· Finally confirmed site for chook pen after much discussion and research.
Links to Photos Warren & Anne-Maree's Place Before the Blitz
BEFORE THE BLITZ - SEP 09
Warren and Anne-Maree volunteered their garden for a blitz in October 2009. Warren and Anne-Maree were asked to kindly keep details of their journey with the PermaBlitzACT team, which evolved over a few months, culminating with the PermaBlitz happening in mid October 2009.
BLOG POST 1 - The Journey begins...
Posted 31st August 2009
I am Warren, married to the gorgeous Anne-Maree(AM) and together we are the proud parents of
Angus (19), Siobhan (17) and Hamish (14). In our 21 years of fairly nomadic married life we have lived in 12 different homes in 3 different states plus a couple of years in the UK.
We have long harboured the desire to explore a lifestyle in which we could reduce our 'footprint' on the earth through establishing an attractive and productive garden. Flicking through the pages of our treasured Earth Garden magazine both inspired us and frustrated us as we thought that establishing a permaculture garden was all just too hard. Too much to learn, too much to do, too much conflicting advice, and we'll be leaving soon anyway. We had lots of excuses until we met Alison Stewart at the Canberra Harvest Festival in March of 2009. Her obvious passion for permaculture captured our imagination and we gave her our contact details on the spot. Here we are in August and in just over five months, Alison has led the formation of ACT Permablitz and we are already onto project number two, our place!
Project One was a real eye opener. Ricardo and Sharyn's place. AM and I participated in some of the early planning (as complete novices) and we were part of the work team only on Day 2 as on Day 1 we were moving house. Day 2 was incredible. As a group we were a fairly eclectic bunch. But we all shared a passion for productive gardening. Novices, self-taught and experts shared knowledge, experiences, work-load and food whilst transforming a garden. It was remarkable! Imagine our surprise and delight when the group decided that a great housewarming present for AM and I in our newly purchased home would be to help us establish our vegie patch in time for thisgrowing season.
However, delight quickly turned to fear. AM & I both work long hours (who doesn' these days), our three teenagers keep us 'on the hop', and the 30 year old house we have bought needs 'a bit of love'. Whilst we were excited about the prospect of a vegie garden so quickly, up until a couple of weeksago, we had no idea what we were doing.
We know a little bit more now, we still have lots to learn, we still have a lot of work to do to get ready for the PermaBlitz assault on our garden, but we are not as daunted by the project aswe would have been had we ever got around to actually doing this type of project ourselves. This is where the beauty of the PermaBlitz concept in practice proves its worth.
More on this in the next blog.
Bye for now,
BLOG POST 2 - Preparing for the Prep Day!
Posted 1st September 2009
Not long after Anne-Maree and I happily agreed to be the target of ACT Permablitz Project 2, Alison started visiting. Her visits were troubling for us as she asked questions which in most cases we had no idea how to answer! Lots of frantic reading of permaculture books provided by Allison and lots of kind advice from the group has resulted in us being able to feign some knowledge at the two planning meetings we have had. The excitement of having Alison (x2), Riccardo, Sharyn, Damien, Ilaria, Linda and Gillian to work with us planning our PermaBlitz is offset by the overwhelming realisation of how much preparation we have to do so that the day is a success. We don’t want to let the planning team down by not being prepared for the Prep Day on 12 Sep. Oh dear, that is only 12 days away!
‘Things to do’ buzz through my head in random order. Will get them ‘sorted’ soon. Too late now, it is 11:30pm and I have just got home from work. Need to start a bit of a ‘lead-up’ plan for us soon. AM and I have to do some more work on plant selection and siting beds. Detail will come on the Prep Day but we want to be able to offer some credible suggestionsto the team. (More reading required) Arrange for mulcherhire (done). Put together a ‘flyer’ for the neighbours to let them know thatour quiet little street is going to be ‘invaded’ twice over the next month orso. (Mmmmmmmmm, that should go down well. New people in the street planning public events already, nice one Warren). Check pH level of soil throughout garden. (Where did I put that test kit?)
Prep the garden for the prep day (Sounds a bit crazy doesn’t it, a bit like people who clean the house before the cleaner arrives because they don’t want the cleaner to think that they live in a dirty home. However, our garden is currently strewn with pavers, concrete slabs, plastic sheets, a half filled trailer, a pile of branches the size of a small hut, compost we brought from our previous house [too good to leave behind], a partially dismantled fence, piles of old timber, etc, etc.) Continue with our observations around the garden. Since doing this I feel as though I have discovered a whole new world. Yesterday the camelia had two flowers, this morning it had about a dozen. What a hoot! (Can you tell I have not gardened much before?) This kind of thing is happening throughout our garden, it is a contrasting wonderland of beauty, weeds and rubbish. What a thought to finish this blog on.
Will write more soon,
BLOG POST 3 - More Preparation
Posted 9th September 2009
Have just reviewed the list of jobs I assembled for myself at Blog 2 and we are doing OK. Just OK. Spent all of Saturday and much of Sunday (got treated to a great tappas & tipple for lunch at Yarrh Winery for Fathers Day) just getting the garden to a workable state. Actually, it is a huge improvement on what we started with on Saturday morning. Amazing how much motivation the prospect of a whole bunch of people inyour garden gives you.
We really wanted to be able to have lots of people move around the garden without tripping over a rotting timber fence, old bricks and pavers randomly scattered around the yard, timber randomly scattered around the yard. It was a very useful thing to do as we identified and saved a lot of things that will prove useful in the construction of our permaculture garden. Quite a bit of timber in good condition that will be useful in the chicken house construction scheduled for December, a variety of pavers that I should be able to use for small retaining walls and some additional paved areas, plenty of dead and excess vegetation that will be put through the mulcher on Saturday. All is now neatly sorted and stored and there are far less obstacles to getting around the garden. Twisted ankles etc are no fun.
We are very pleased with what we have achieved this weekend, but still a little worried about what is left to do. We need to walk the ground again and confirm what we want to achieve. Having done the clean up we will be able to do this more easily. Our on going observations are helping to shape our ideas and we should be OK with this by Thursday. AM is planning to have a rostered day off on Friday so she will be able to do any last minute arrangements. We were both in the garden at 630am today and the frost was quite prevalent.
Alison has been fantastic with her ongoing support and suggestions. They are good reminders of what we still have left to do. Must go now and make a proper list.
Will write more soon,
BLOG POST 4 - Last Minute Planning!
Posted 8th October 2009
It is late Tuesday night and AM and I are trying to condense a lot of ideas into our plan in preparation for Saturday. We have to curb our enthusiasm for what we would like to achieve, with the reality of what is possible. We hope to be able to have lots of tasks set-up so that those who join us have the opportunity to learn by doing. Trust me, AM and I will also be doing a lot of learning. AM and I are talking so much about the PermaBlitz at our home that the children think we have joined a cult!
Hope to see you soon.
BLOG POST 5 - The Blitz Day One
Posted 8th October 2009
The day before our preparation day and somehow, the time has flown by so quickly that AM and I have yet to ‘walk the ground’ together. How did that happen? After dinner, we consult the planning options developed by the planning team and head out into the dark,cold Canberra evening that is enveloping our garden. Armed with a tape measure and a torch we develop some ‘ground truth’ for the options that the team has put forward. Satisfied that we can ‘fit’ everything where we want it and having agreed on some key aspects of the suggested plans, we head back inside, to draw up our planand develop our list of priorities for tomorrow. Not knowing how many people will arrive and how difficult it will be to achieve the different tasks, means we ended uplisting far more priorities than we actually achieved. It was however a useful exercise that helped to confirm our plan.
The big day arrives and I am off to an early start. AM and I have been talking about permaculture and the group so much recently that the children have concluded that we have joined a cult. Siobhan has stayed overnight with a friend in order to avoid the initiation rites that she fears may be involved in the first public meeting atour home. Angus and Hamish are hiding under their bed covers and it is only my threats that they will in fact be the first human sacrifices for our cult that manages to entice them from their semi-slumber.
However, in fairly rapid time, we manage to do the final preparatory work to host the group and any extras who may venture along. Gardening tools located and centralised, refreshment locations established, lunch area cleared and organised, task list printed etc.
Alison arrives early, ever ready to helpout with the final little jobs. Ricardo and Sharyn and Damien and Ilaria soon follow so we start discussing the final plan and our priorities for the day. Eager to start, we head outside to tackle the vegetable garden together. Just at that moment, Giuseppe, Michelle, young Dashiel and Banjo the wonder dog arrive. Giuseppe, a friend for over forty (am I really that old?) years has brought his family down from his farm in Goulburn as a special surprise to spend the day with us. Cally arrives not long after and becomes Banjo’s special friend for the day.
The work starts rapidly with all members of the team deciding that the vegetable garden will require a big affort. They are right. Two trellises of raspberries have been left to go feral so we are reducing that to one trellis and carefully removing the other vines to give to all of the workers at the end of the day. Clearing the remaing soil of vine roots is a time consuming task and a root barrier is installed in order to keep the vine from spreading again. Perriwinkle is reduced along the southern boundary, the retaining wall refurbished and another weed barrier installed. All of the old reticulation is moved aside in order to give wide clearance for shaping the raised beds. Our aim is for consistently sized beds in order to be able to used the planned chicken tractor to house chickens that can ‘refurbish’ the beds forus. (Building the chicken tractor and chicken house is a holiday project over December-January). Mid morning, we greet some visitors who arrive and express interest in joining ACT Permablitz.
Lunch is served as a welcome relief to the workers. We enjoy the sharing of everyone’s offerings under some glorious Canberra spring weather. Our vines oftened pergola area successfully hosts its first lunch since we became ownershere and its allure holds some longer than others as the work recommences.
Christopher and Vivian arrive ready to work just as some of us head back to the vegetable garden. Anne-Maree and a small team start on thecourtyard herb garden as Marie, Angus and Dashiel clean up after lunch. After the hard work of the morning the visual evidence of our labour becomes evidentas the beds start to ‘take shape’. By 4pm, Ricardo and I are doing some calculations of quantities of mulch, compost,and reticulation, etc in preparation for Day 2 of the Permablitz on 10 Oct 09. The main aim on this day will be to:
Install the reticulation (mains water at this stage, to be followed up by rain water some time in the next 0-12 months)
Complete final vegetable bed preparation
Plant all of the vegetable beds that have been prepared
Mulch beds and celebrate!
Since Day 1, I have tried to describe how ecstatice Anne-Maree and I feel about the success of our permablitz. I cannot, words fail me. It really is something you just have to do.Working side by side with people who share an interest is quite special.
Although Anne-Maree and I still have much to do in preparation for ACT Permablitz Group Day 2 - Project 2 in SPENCE on 10 Oct 09, so much has been done already. We have learnt so much with the support of the group in the planning phase and what we actually completed on Day 1 was amazing. Day 1 was filled with the sharing of labour, knowledge, food, refreshment, fun and a great sense of achievement. We look forward to seeing you on Day 2
Will write more soon.
Warren, Anne-Maree & Co
PS. Angus, Siobhan and Hamish think that the‘cult’ members are really nice folk.
BLOG POST 6 - Blitz Day Two
Posted 8th October 2009
The sheer amount of work that the team did on Day 1 hasinspired us to make sure that Day 2 completes all of the ‘loose ends’. Anne-Maree and I review our plan and start tomake a shopping list of plants and seedlings that we need to buy. Riccardo and I have completed some calculations for; mushroom compost, sugar cane mulch,euky mulch and reticulation fittings.
Day 2 arrives and we have managed to assemble all of the plants, landscaping supplies and equipment that we need. Admittedly, Anne-Mareeand I were still confirming the locations for some plants by torch light at 9.30pm the night before, but we made it!
As the hosts, Anne-Maree and I ‘directed traffic’ for the day. Most teams ‘self-selected’ once the different tasks were identified. This allowed all of the ‘blitzers’ to both use their skills and learn new skills asopportunities became available. Riccardo and Steve took charge of the reticulation. This gave me a great sense of relief as I knew nothing about reticulation. (I have however since done some reticulation, thanks to this learning experience). Shovelling mulch and compost dominated the day, in addition to planting a wide variety of herbs for the kitchen garden.
Once again, lunch was a highlight of the day, mainly due to the fine array of home prepared (and often home grown) delicacies assembled byall of the ‘blitzers’. After lunch we did the final planting of the seedings and afinal operating check on the reticulation. Anne-Maree and I collapse on thelounge, exhausted.
The next day, we marvel at our new garden. The blitz haschanged the entire ‘feel’ of our garden. The work done by the ‘blitzers’ notonly fills us with a great community spirit, but it also gives us a responsibility to work as hard as we can to make it all work.
AFTER THE BLITZ - DEC 09
FOLLOW UP - Produce Galore & Positive Results
Dated 31st January 2010
Three months later, from our garden we have been eating and sharing: lettuce, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, beetroot, pumpkin, mint, sage,thyme, with more to come. Still to come are: potato, capsicum, corn, melons, a second planting of lettuce and some chillies. From existing trees we have had: apricots, plums (Green Gage and Angelina), loganberries and artichokes. We have also planted some acacias. This was ‘hard yakka’ as we underestimated how muchwork is involved in digging in Canberra soil/clay. We lost some plants due to the subsequent delays and have thus decided that in future we will ensure that we have the holes dug before actually buy the plants.
We are starting to see that our garden is having a positive effect on our street. We have been able to share our produce with those who kept ‘an eye’ on our home when we had a brief holiday. Folk walking along the street stop to chat when we are working in the garden. ‘Over the road’ they admit that our activity has spurred them on to do some more work on their garden. A close friend and his wife, both accomplished gardeners/cooks, come to visit and enjoy our garden as they share tips and take some produce home.
Our last ACT Permablitz Event was the Christmas Lunch on 12 Dec 09. We have missed or ‘blitzing buddies’ over the festive season and we lookforward to more blitzing in 2010.
Warren & Anne-Maree Jolly
|Posted on July 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM||comments (0)|
Who Lives Here
Sharyn, Riccardo, and Aung Si (housemate)
Aims of the Blitz
To replace the lawn and unruly shrubs with an aesthetically pleasing edible garden in the front yard
1) Espalier fruit trees and edible hedge – along one edge of the driveway, we created a living fence of apples and pears. Along the boundary with the neighbouring property we planted a feijoa hedge with the triple function of providing privacy; wind break; and food.
2) Integrated pond and berry bog – a pond was dug out and installed at the top of a slope. When this overflows due to rain, the excess water spills into a ‘bog’ which has perforated pond liner at the bottom to still allow drainage, but slow down the water. This area is contained, consistently moist, and has more acidic soil than the rest of the garden, which are favourable conditions for growing blueberries;
3) Garden beds and path swales – after marking out the garden according to the design, we dug out paths and used the topsoil from that to make the garden beds. We used cardboard and newspaper to make a biodegradable weedmat and topped the beds up with compost for planting. Along the paths we buried timber logs recycled from the garden to create swales to slow down rain water and redirect it into the garden beds.
4) Weed barrier – periwinkle is a problem along the fenceline. The periwinkle was removed by hand and a recycled piece of colourbond fencing was fitted into a trench to prevent the regrowth invading the garden.
5) Planting – five fruit trees were planted on the day as well as numerous herbs and annual vegetables either purchased or brought along by participants
1) Being the first blitz, we overestimated how many projects we should do. While we achieved them all over two days (and with a LOT of preparation behind the scenes), in future we would recommend no more than 3 large projects, with a few mini projects as back up that require minimal supervision.
2) Being host, plus an overall “Site Manager” and a “Project Leader” at the same time proved to be quite difficult. In addition to this, preparation of the meals and snacks takes quite a lot of attention from the host. We would recommend that the host only undertake one of these roles, and the other tasks are delegated to members of the design team or other willing participants.
3) We received inaccurate advice from ‘dial-before-you-dig’, which led to damage to the water main on our property. We were without water for about 3 hours, but gained an excellent plumber. Our neighbours graciously allowed us to use their outdoor tap so that we could continue working. This is one lesson as to why it is important to involve the neighbouring community.
4) Some people commented there wasn’t enough for everyone to do, but this could not be forseen due to the unprecedented interest in the first blitz. We learnt from this that the size of the Project should determine how widely it is advertised, and the host should have some back up projects for people to work on (weeding, planting, pruning). Workshops are also very good to keep people interested and occupied.
Achieved on the Day
We achieved all of our objectives over two wonderfully hectic days.
It has now been one full year since our blitz, in which we have observed and augmented the garden, and shared abundant produce with our very appreciative neighbours and friends. Springtime has seen many of the plants self seed, and flourish with minimal effort from us and we now intend to plant more groundcovers, and incorporate more perennial herbs and natives amongst the fruit trees and annual vegetables. Having now attended some other blitzes, we also implemented some new ideas in other parts of the yard and look forward to continually re-inventing our idea of gardening.