A new Permablitz region!

Today we proudly launch the birth of a new region,

Permablitz Central North Island!

The time has come for a new region to be born! There a number of blitz events lining up for the coming season in the Turangi/Taupo area and it looks like further growth there is inevitable.

Our Central North Island permablitzer’s are proud to be living in the land of the Tuwharetoa people and we look forward to growing our proud community in celebration of new beginnings!

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is people, it is people, it is people

If you are currently following permablitzbopnz.net but would also like to recieve blitz announcements and reports, or be involved with permablitz events in the Central North then please log onto permablitzcninz.net and click ‘follow’.

We would warmly welcome anyone keen to come along to the third blitz in our region which is scheduled to run late  August in Turangi. (announcement will be posted soon!).

 

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Report on Permablitz #26 – Earth Wall build near Karangahake

After a false start the Sunday before, Permablitz #26 took off with a great bunch of people and perfect weather.

This was the second time we have blitzed Beccy Dove’s hillside garden. The first time was in 2015 when we re-invigorated an old orchard and planted lots more fruit trees plus we prepared the framework for our earth wall. Luckily this framework of vertical bamboo was still sound and just needed a bit of reinforcing to make a firm foundation for our wall.

We were lucky that Rose Tuffery was available for this blitz as she is heading to Costa Rica shortly to further her experience with earth-building. Before we got into it Rose showed us how she prepared test pieces using the local clays available and various proportions of the clay/paper pulp/sand/cement mix. Any earth walling project with good hat (roof) and boots (footing) doesn’t require cement but because Beccy’s wall is fully exposed to the elements we had to use cement. We had also had a trial run several weeks earlier so we were confident the mix would be suitable. A local Waitawheta Quarry clay was chosen and a locally sourced mixed grade sand.

Rose showing us how she prepared clay sample tests

We spent some time cladding the bamboo structure of the wall with chicken mesh and wiring this into place to make a solid foundation. Bottles and stacked rocks were used in places to show how various material can be incorporated into the structure.

Others prepared the paper pulp and sieved the larger rocks out of the clay. Following morning tea, we got into the fun part (all the kids scrambled to have a go), of foot wedging the pulp into the clay.

This activated clay pulp mix was then mixed with the sand and cement with water. It was all hands-on deck applying the clay to the wall with everyone getting a chance to try all of the stages of preparation and application.

Ailie’s first bucket of mix

The afternoon was spent applying the mix to the walls and then adding decorative pieces such as shells, stones, moulded shapes. Christine Burne from Waikino rose to the challenge to create a feature at the start of the walling. We all watched as a taniwha took shape from a pile of rocks.

This was a family affair with mother, son, Tony and grand-daughter all helping.

A delicious shared morning tea and lunch was enjoyed on Beccy’s terrace.

We completed both walls with one bucket of mix to spare. A happy bunch at the end of a successful day with beautiful Karangahake Mountain in the background.

 

 

 

 

A call for designers

Do you have a Permaculture Design Certificate?

Do you have an interest in gaining some design experience while collaborating and sharing knowledge with others?

Permablitz BOP is looking for more designers to join our team.  Design teams are guided by a Mentor, and each team has a Head Designer – who is more experienced with Permablitz, and Support Designers who contribute ideas and learn until they are ready to head their own team.

If you are keen to create community through shared experiences, improve the land while providing practical help, and have a PDC, a background in design or a strong interest in becoming a designer, then please let us know.

Plan - Aug 2014
The plan for blitz #16 as well as some of the seedlings that were grown for the food forest!

A Holistic Context for Permablitz BOP

Why do we do Permablitz? What’s it all for?

As discussed at the last Permablitz Designers meeting, it’s time to have a deeper look at Permablitz, so to kick off, Kazel will be facilitating a Holistic Context creating workshop for Permablitz on Sat July 8th.

We are looking for contributions from designers, hosts and blitz participants.

The workshop will be limited to 14 participants.

Please sign-up below to express your interest and recieve further details about the workshop.

Permablitz #26

Permablitz #26

Earth Wall Building Permablitz, Karangahake

New Date: Sunday 26th March 2017, 9am – 4pm  

This Blitz is now full! Thank you to the wonderful volunteers, here’s hoping that the weather holds out for us 🙂

Location: Karangahake, near Paeroa, register to find out where

We are heading back to a beautiful piece of land that we blitzed in 2015 to complete an earth wall surround to the vegetable garden.

We are fortunate to have Rose Tuffery leading this blitz. Rose is a highly experienced earthbuilder and artist in clay. She will bring her in-depth experience of working with this medium to take us through step-by-step the construction of an in situ earthen wall.

During the course of the day we will be focusing on how to;

  • source local and recycled materials for the wall
  • figure out the ideal mix
  • prepare the wall for plastering
  • prepare the mix
  • apply this clay mix to the wall
  • add creative finishing details.

A good level of fitness is recommended as the work will be quite physically demanding, with plenty of opportunity to get your hands (and feet) dirty.

Rose at trial run last Sunday

The site is west facing with a gradual slope. It is shaded in the morning but can get quite hot in the afternoon.

We will be working in a small area so numbers are limited for this blitz to a maximum of 15 registrants….so be in quick!!

As this is such a special opportunity we ask that you each bring a plate of goodies for a shared lunch. The host will provide hot and cold drinks and a few snacks.

What to bring:

-Gumboots or other footwear that can get wet/dirty

-Two types of gloves; Sturdy gardening gloves (for handling wire netting, stones, etc) and rbber gloves (for handling the mix)

-Clothing that can get dirty

-Hat and sun protection and wet weather gear

-Water bottle

-Contribution of food for a shared lunch

Optional tools and equipment (labelled with your name):

-spade or shovel

-wire cutters

-10 litre bucket

-old dish brush (for cleaning of tools and equipment)

To register please fill out the form below.

Update on Rachel & Kaine’s PB – 4 years on

Rachel & Kaine Smith from Katikati had two blitzes….check out the progress!

We recently visited Rachel & Kaines permaculture garden which was developed over two Permablitz’s, the first in September 2012 (permablitz #6) and the second September 2013 (permablitz #13). The site was a large town garden with a mature orange tree centred on the back lawn. The family are a busy couple with two young boys, Ollie and Finn, so Rachel & Kaine wanted a garden that would grow with their family’s needs.

The design included an enlarged deck off their kitchen with raised wicking beds close at hand.

outlay

An existing area of pebble was gathered up and reused in the bottom of the wicking beds.

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The children love to climb and play around the orange tree so an area of mulch was spread beneath and around the tree, to allow some productive under-planting.

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Two existing raised vegetable gardens, much further away from the house, were also converted into wicking beds and filled with compost. The compost bin system was improved and many fruit trees were sited around the garden, including several espaliered pip fruit along the north facing fence.

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The fruit tree area near the road was planted with Feijoas, a dwarf Peach, Lemonade and Mandarin. These were thoroughly mulched in the second blitz and inter-planted with other beneficial plants; several Gooseberries, Guava and wayward herbs such as Bergamot, Lemon Balm, Calendula, Marjoram & Nasturtium. A Lemon tree was planted opposite the front door so they can just pop out the door when they need a lemon.

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On visiting recently, Rachel took great delight in showing me around her garden. Her enthusiasm was palpable and mirrored by her children who had been very involved in the blitzes right from the start.

The wicking beds near the house have been a great success, the far one now used for strawberries, the closer two connected with a plank off the deck for super- efficient harvesting. The only glitch has been with the nearest bed which was installed slightly off level, making the top end a lot drier than the bottom end. It has meant choosing hardier, drought tolerant plants for the dry end, so herbs have worked well here. They need watering once a week over summer which could have been reduced if they had been constructed a little deeper but overall the wicking beds have been very worthwhile.

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The two older beds in the far corner are a lot more productive now also with a reliable water supply from the wicking system which hardly ever needs filling. They are used for longer term vegetables that don’t need regular tending.

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The area adjacent is used to store materials such as horse, cow and chicken manure, seaweed, mulch, sawdust, grass clippings, (green waste for nitrogen and browns for carbon). These are added in layers to build a compost in the wicking beds when the soil is replaced once a year.

The area beneath the Orange tree is still used a lot by the boys so any planting here will have to wait. It proved too shady for Pumpkins but we have recommended trying Native Spinach as this should thrive in the dry semi-shade.

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Of the espaliered fruit trees on a north facing fence the Apples have been really productive already but the Pear has yet to flower. Rachel plans to interplant with a Nashi Pear as well.

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Rachel said “I knew nothing about gardening when we bought this property and I learnt largely by trial and error until getting involved in the Permablitz’s. I have learnt so much”.

Kaine said “The Permablitz’s were a positive experience. Being a kindergarten teacher the importance of our children seeing and being involved in the whole thing taking shape has been really important”.

If the sheer enthusiasm of this family is anything to go by the Permablitz programme has been very worthwhile for them. They have enriched their living environment by not only providing healthy organic food for the family but also by creating a depth of experience for their children within their property that is educational and fulfilling, and full of discoveries.

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Written by Trish Waugh, June 2016

 

Report on Permablitz # 25

Permablitz 25 kicked off at Tarariki Pottery on Old Reservoir Road, Paeroa, home of Mike O’Donnell and Trish Waugh.
A large group of 26 keen blitzers, plus the design team of Trish, Sharon, blue hat (Blitz organiser), Lia, Ailie, Katherine gathered around a fire pit to be warmly welcomed by Mike and Trish. Mike gave a karakia and described the history of the property, sharing how it has evolved and movingly expressed how we are part of their tribe that will carry the seeds of regenerating nature forward.
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Introductions included our name, where we were from and an exercise everyone could do as a warm up, literally!
Trish, Mike and the design teams’ concept plan for the day included creating a fence around the vegetable garden to keep the chickens off; sheet mulched beds around fruit trees; larger sheet mulched areas for planting smaller fruiting plants like guava and Chilean guava, vegetables e.g. silver beet and fennel as well as herbs, e.g. lavender, yarrow, calendula and Cassia ‘John Ball’ and tagastaste shrubs that fix nitrogen. This planting would create a forest garden incorporating the chooks to control small native manuka beetles that breed in the ground over winter and cause damage by eating a lot of leaves in
spring. They are distinctive in dropping to the ground when disturbed.
Everyone got stuck in clearing the overgrowth along the fence lines, and along the roadfront to ‘chicken proof’ them, the fence holes were dug and areas prepped for sheet mulching.
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Distinct edges were created around the beds for weed control. Ailie and Lia ran a workshop on sheet mulching explaining the layers, firstly the soil is limed, then cardboard laid with sellotape removed and soaked, followed by seaweed, horse manure, sawdust, comfrey, wood mulch and finally covered in rotted silage, filling our nostrils with a sweet, pungent/fermented smell, signature of farm life. Trish said comfrey tea would be poured over the mulch to kick start the composting process.
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Lia led a workshop giving us insights into the amazing life of earthworms, inviting each of us to read a pertinent fact she’d gleaned from the book ‘Organic Growing with Worms, a handbook for a better environment’ by David Murphy. I didn’t know for example that worms
swallow soil to move through it and the tunnels created are coated in nitrate rich mucous for ease of movement. These tunnels open the soil for water and oxygen. They also excrete harmless bacteria and antibiotics are found in their poo which is oxygen rich. Bad bacteria like an anaerobic environment. Lia is passionate about worms and says that worms are perfect examples of permaculture at work.
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Lunch was really delicious, beautifully prepared by Shai. There was pumpkin and coconut soup, green and rice salads, guacamole, humus, breads, a cashew chicken dish and freshly harvested mussels. Mike gave a blessing for the meal which began with him playing his flute.
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Just at the end of lunch Trish gave a mini workshop on why she created a food forest. She has modeled it on the work of Robert Hart in Shropshire who is the father of forest gardens for temperate climates. The mulched beds created are an in-between stage from orchard to forest garden. As the trees grow and the canopy closes there will be more shade and what grows will change and there will be more layers in the mix of vegetation.
After lunch activities involved planting into the sheet mulch, more work on the fence and creation of a Taranaki gate (i.e. a wire gate), and a workshop on chickens and how to clip their wings. Only the first flight feathers on one wing are cut to cause imbalance and this is enough to stop chickens flying over fences. The newly built chicken house was moved into the prepared orchard setting. It was built by Mike as a small transportable unit, light and of minimal construction.
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We completed preparation of the vegetable bed for garlic. This involved cutting down the lupins, lightly digging them in, and then covering the bed with seaweed and silage. Mike and Trish plant their garlic later than most so that it ripens and can be dug in January when the weather is dry.
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Group photo below with completed section of fence. There is more of the fence for Mike to finish.
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This was a most productive day with lots of Mike’s words of wisdom and passion to inspire us. To quote from Mike at the end of the day when he shared the healing garden with us, “ In my experience of life I believe it is all good shit. Essentially all that matters is how we are given to reply. That which comes to pass is a master teacher to us all, the past is there to find composure and to embrace, not deny, nor judge nor blame, but to turn it over as a gardener would in the making of compost, aerobically, to breathe life into it. Such does the healer embrace the disposition and the artist find the poem the song. It is within us all to creatively reply. This is a time of great challenge, when the earth is appealing to us all. To sing in the face of adversity I believe is the key to our honouring that challenge, and to realise our work is our song.”
Written by Julia Sich.

Blitzing the BOP community one garden at a time