In October 2020, Patch of Plenty ran our first Permablitz – a non-monetary, community event where a bunch of keen gardeners come together and help transform someone's property with the help of a permaculture design.
As a movement, Permablitz started in Melbourne and has spread all over the place. In and around Adelaide, Permaculture South Australia sometimes runs Permablitzes with the wider community. Given the pandemic this year and the restrictions around gatherings, we kept this event small, tackling one part of a larger design with our host Kym and a handful of helpers.
We started out with a big open area that had a couple of veggie beds on it, but no clear structure or direction.
As part of a whole-garden design, this patch was going to incorporate some round keyhole beds with a garden arch, mulched pathways, a smaller, defined lawn area and three compost bays next to a new chook house.
Our first job was to measure and mark out the lawn area and the veggie beds. With an accurate to-scale design, we could make sure that everything was going to be in the right spot before we started digging.
Next, we pulled out the sleepers from the existing, non-functioning raised beds.
We sheet-mulched around the lawn that was staying, and began digging out the grass for the new beds and amending the soil with gypsum, blood and bone, and lots of compost.
We were able to salvage some bricks to edge the new keyhole beds with, from a section of paving that was getting pulled up to make way for a citrus guild.
Meanwhile, some of us worked on building a three-bay compost system out of recycled pallets.
The bays were later lined with chicken wire and featured some handy hinged fronts with latches for easy use. Placing them right next to the chicken coop means that the chook poo and spent bedding doesn't have to travel far when the coop is cleaned out.
Kym chose a range of summer veggies, herbs and flowers to fill her new beds.
With this head start on implementing her design, Kym can keep sheet mulching and planting out the rest of the area on her own.
A Permablitz is a wonderful way to make big progress on a garden transformation, while learning new skills and meeting new friends. Anyone can run one – all you need is a permaculture design and some willing workers. Bigger events can also include structured workshops on specific permaculture techniques, so participants can choose what they want to learn and everyone comes away with some new skills and experience.
Big thanks to everyone who helped out on the day, and to Kym for hosting and providing us all with a delicious lunch!