As you can imagine, sometimes after a blitz it takes the hosts a little while to get around to doing a writeup of the day as they are so damn busy hanging in their new garden! This blitz was definitely one of the most transformative to date. The hosts had been growing food (including an impressive asparagus patch!), but the lack of systems to tie the elements of their space together meant that it had become overgrown with tough kikuyu grass and weeds, with chickens free ranging across to the neighbours houses. They are also juggling work and two small children, so needed something that was both productive and manageable. By the end of the blitz day, we had created a huge swathe of no dig beds that were swaled down the hill, relocated the chicken house, revived and enhanced a pond area for frogs and water plants, cleared an area for potting and seed raising, and sheet mulched extensively to control the grass and weeds.
Georgie gave us a writeup of the day recently, and provided some pictures as well which is great for those who love to see what a blitzed backyard looks like a few months down the track:
Six months ago, on a beautiful August day, a lovely bunch of energetic gardening enthusiasts transformed our garden in a day. We were lucky enough to witness and be part of the magic of Permablitz. It was amazing to see how much could be achieved in that day, but it has also been wonderful to watch our garden grow – and my experience and knowledge with it.
With a mountain of mulch, all the no-dig garden supplies ready and enough yummy food ready to feed a small army, we were ready for the day to come. Preparation was fun and a bit stressful, but absolutely key to the day running smoothly. It meant that everyone was ready to enjoy the day, everyone had something they could do and we could all just get to it! I really enjoyed working with Jacqui, Beck, Kristy and Shez and hugely appreciated the amount of care and thought they all put into the design process.
I have loved the pockets of space that have opened up and allowed me to create in the garden. The pruned branches of the olive tree has become a bean tee-pee that the kids can climb inside to pick beans, or just hang out. Ada especially loves picking the beans and will gather some for visitors or bring some in for dinner. A spare patch has become a vibrant burst of colour as tall crayon bright zinnea flowers sway in the breeze. I love being able to go out with a bowl or basket and gather the makings of dinner – a bunch of kale or spinach becomes frittata, purple and green beans on the side complete the meal.
I’m also still learning. An unlocked gate allowed a passing dog or fox to nudge into the chicken yard, and meant our chickens met a rapid and nasty end. Gardening with small children brings its own joys and challenges. After some fencing reinforcement we tried a second time. Our girls were safe, but so too were the increasing numbers of four legged friends attracted to the daily smorgasbord of grain and scraps. In the interests of civil neighbourly relations, we had to send the girls on an extended holiday to a brother and sister-in-law’s place. If anyone has any tried and tested ways of feeding chickens without bringing out the rodents (I reckon they’re around anyway but the daily feeding brings them out into the open) I would love to hear them. We miss our chooks.
Other lessons? The humidity, the dreaded fruitfly and the difficulty in keeping up with staking them all has defeated me again in my dreams of mega tomato production. I think I’ll stick with cherry varieties next year, which fared much better. I popped in some potatoes which shot up vigorously and then proceeded to be quickly demolished by a plague of tiny hairy aphid like insects. I’ll be googling organic treatments for next time. All part of the continual learning process that is gardening. Our strawberries, on the other hand, were prolific. I’m sure the borage planted nearby, attracting a constant stream of bees, had a hand in the bumper crop.
I’ve been topping up the compost, planting new seedlings and enjoying summer in the garden. Thank you one and all who came to our Permablitz and helped to create such a productive, joyful and evolving garden.
Thanks Georgie for an awesome writeup, and for your honesty about the lessons you’ve learned along the way. All of us at Permablitz HQ hope that using a covered feeder helps with the four legged issue, and that you can bring your chickens home soon! Thanks also to everyone who worked their butts off to achieve such a great result!