Report on Permablitz #32

Healing landscapes and permaculture design continues around the Bay of Plenty! This time, at a riparian property in Welcome Bay. 

18 September 2021 by Byron Birss

Our hosts Andrea and Hone have lived here in the Bay of Plenty for nearly 20 years, have attended numerous PermaBlitz events, and run a small business from their property: Kiwi Homesteaders.  Kiwi Homesteaders is an arts & crafts business, where they teach workshops and share with people about sustainable/low-impact lifestyle ideas; kombucha, sauerkraut, rongoa-maori, beeswax wraps, flax weaving, crochet, etc. 

Byron & Lara from Backyard Paradise Permaculture had been facilitating the design process with Andrea & Hone for a number of months leading up to this mid-September event. 

They welcomed a large group of 20+ people to their property, which currently sits on the border between urban & rural communities. The land straddles a natural stream and has many established fruit trees already. This blitz had two main activities; native riparian restoration planting/traditional rongoa-maori medicine, along with an afternoon activity about permaculture & living design process. 

Native riparian planting contributes towards rebuilding ecosystem services for the local watershed; erosion control, water filtration, wildlife habitat corridor and evaporative cooling for these essential riparian ecosystems. All good things for the Western-Bay ecology. Since Hone had accumulated a few hundred native tree seedlings through his work, combined with his passion for sharing traditional rongoa-maori knowledge via workshops and their position in the watershed, this seemed a perfect fit for the Blitz. 

unnamed (1)

The morning session was run by Hone, who led an informative discussion about various native plants and their traditional/medicinal functions. How to identify which plants could be used for heart and blood remedies, etc. Then we all got stuck-in and started planting! 

unnamed

The morning and early-afternoon quickly escaped us, but finally all of the trees had found their homes along the flowing stream!

A beautiful and delicious lunch was created by Andrea and her helpers and this was a wonderful time of community and sharing over good food!

unnamed (3)

The afternoon activity was a slower-paced discussion about permaculture design process, and how design principles had been applied at Andrea & Hone’s property over the last number of months. This was intended to share valuable design patterns and strategies to the group of volunteers – a design framework for the volunteers to take home and start reading their landscape from a permaculture perspective. 

unnamed (5)

Byron & Lara led this afternoon activity, sharing foundations of the design process that had been undertaken with Andrea & Hone. Discussions about the Scale of Permanence helped to identify key areas across their landscape that were needing attention; particularly access & flows. While Andrea & Hone had lived at their property for nearly two decades, some areas around the house had become severely overgrown and restricted access to key areas. Part of this early-stage design process was identifying major accessways, clearing paths and small-vehicle access to assist moving around & harvesting fruit along the steep slopes of their amphitheatre-shaped landscape. 

unnamed (4)

At the end of the day, we spent time doing Living Design Process to identify the best areas for minor access paths & stairs near their house-gardens. The next day, more of their friends came out to help plant the garden beds we had created the shapes of, determined by contours and access paths. 

Hone and Andrea are incredibly grateful for the hard mahi everyone put in on the day and organising the event. It was so great to connect with the community and receive all the positive feedback at the end of the day. Thanks to everyone who helped make the day such a great one!

Permablitz #32

Permablitz # 32

THIS PERMABLITZ IS NOW FULL-registrations are closed!

Location: Welcome Bay, register to find out where

Date: 18 September 10am-3pm

Andrea and Hone are a homesteading family in Welcome Bay, who have a passion for sustainable living and environmental stewardship.

They’ve worked hard over the years as a family to craft a landscape that suits them, and this PermaBlitz is the starting point as they begin a new stage on their property. They’re working hard to re-establish a riparian area of native plants for restoration and traditional rongoa-maori uses. They’re also keen to create a social space for the educational workshops they often host for community events.

This will be a good opportunity to see how permaculture can be applied in a variety of situations; learning about native rongoa-maori plants and uses, riparian restoration, and a permaculture design process in creating outdoor social spaces.

During the course of the day we will be focusing on:

  • Traditional rongoa-maori plants and uses
  • Riparian restoration
  • Permaculture design process
  • Creating functional outdoor social spaces

This perma-blitz can accommodate 15 – 20 people.

A main lunch meal will be provided by the host, and if participants are able to contribute a small snack/baking for morning tea that would be much appreciated. Please let us know if you have any allergies or dietary requirements.

What to bring:
-Gumboots
-Gardening gloves
-Gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spade or shovel
-Water bottle
-Hat and sun protection and wet weather gear

To  register, fill out the form below. Your details will be emailed to the hosts who will contact you with further details on how to get there. Thank you!

Report on Permablitz #31

Changing lawn to food in the ‘burbs
7 November 2020 by Tom and Laura Buhr

“Sitting at our back doorsteps, all we need to live a good life lies about us. Sun, wind, people, buildings, stones, sea, birds and plants surround us. Cooperation with all these things brings harmony, opposition to them brings disaster and chaos. Bill Mollison, Introduction to Permaculture

The post lockdown urban and rural land transformations continues with another urban permablitz situated in Otumoetai, Tauranga.

Tom and Laura Buhr were the hosts and lead designers of this blitz, and welcomed a small group of 12 people to transform a lawn area into an edible wonderland. The Buhrs’ were half way through redesigning their property, with functional terraced garden beds at the back, fruit trees and shrubs dotted around, to finally attacking the main garden area that’s been the playground for their dog Koru.

Tess, from Craftygatherer and Leo from Why Waste helped mentor the Buhr’s through their design and running of the day. 

 

Before everyone arrived, we had a decent amount of rainfall that helped everything look lush and full of life.

The clouds burned off, just as Leo grounded us with the whenua. Introductions by the beautiful people in our community with stretches to prepare us for the day.

The group split off into two main areas, the first group turfing out where the new garden beds will be and the second group marking out the fruit tree, guild area and new lawn space. The best grass was layered on top of the new lawn area to help define the space and to create a deeper layer of topsoil.

The team decided to create a flowing lawn edge to break up straight lines.

Koru’s sandpit was moved to create more space for larger trees to grow in the corner and a beautiful lookout from the kitchen window. The greenhouse was moved hard up against the fence to value the edges and create more growing space.

The garden and access ways were mapped out and all pathways were layered with cardboard to help suppress weeds and to retain moisture in the soil.

These beds were layered with locally sourced organic material – beautiful rich compost from revital, seaweed from the nearby estuary, sheep pallets, topsoil and crushed egg shells. Once everything was layered we mixed it together with garden forks.

Lunch was all about connection – connection to the food and being grateful of where it came from, and connecting with each other.

**** After lunch Tom did a mini workshop on rainwater harvesting for an urban environment. They wanted to have water for the garden and a backup supply of drinking water in case of emergency. Tom explained the theory behind a first flush system and the benefits of it.

   

Tess led the fruit tree and guild planting, planting white sage, comfrey and beneficial flowers that all support the healthy growth of the fruit trees.

Leo led the construction of a two bay pallet composting system.

The final push – establishing walkways and mulching all other areas.

Closing circle and celebrations

Tom and Laura are incredibly grateful for the hard mahi the community put in on the day. The energy was powerful and it felt great to connect after the year of 2020 being a year of worldwide disconnection. Thank you so much to the dream team who helped make this day a great success!

Permablitz #31

Permablitz # 31

UPDATE: we have had a few people who can not make this blitz happening tomorrow Saturday 7th November 2020, 9am – 3pm, so if you would like to now come – please register below – we would love to see you!
Location: Otumoetai, register to find out where

At this exciting upcoming blitz, the couple have spent the last two years slowly implementing a food producing oasis in suburban Tauranga. They are finally ready to redesign their backyard and provide useful workshops on what they have achieved.

This will be a good opportunity to see how permaculture can be done in a suburban area, learn how to install a small rain water tank, lasagna gardening, basic fencing and the practicality of converting a hillside into terraced garden beds.

During the course of the day we will be focusing on:
o Converting lawn to garden beds
o Building a fence to keep pets out
o Lasagna gardening and growing soil
o Rainwater tank install
o Pallet Compost setup
o Learn about rainwater harvesting
o Learn about terraced gardening
o Learn about grape and berry trellising

This is a small backyard which can accommodate 15 – 20 people. Plenty of parking on the street.

A main lunch meal will be provided by the host, and if participants are able to contribute a small snack/baking for morning tea that would be much appreciated. Please let us know if you have any allergies or
dietary requirements.

What to bring:
-Gumboots
-Gardening gloves
-Wheel barrow (if you have would be great!)
-Gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spade or shovel
-Water bottles
-Hat and sun protection and wet weather gear
-Any spare plants you may have from your own garden i.e blueberries, lavender, garlic bulbs, calendula, , borage, lemon balm, bergamot, tansy etc This can also be in the form of cuttings which we will put into cutting mix straight away.

To  register, fill out the form below. Your details will be emailed to the hosts who will contact you with further details on how to get there. Thank you!

Report on Permablitz #30

ROY’S WHAKAMARAMA MAGIC
3 October 2020 by Catherine Dunton-McLeod

Having participated in 10-12 Permablitzes, I am curious how every one of them has had a magical quality. Of course they were all unique, yet they all have had a similar, sacred sort of undertone that warms the heart and makes one feel more connected and more human. What causes that? (Feel free to skip my musings and scroll below to the pics and video.)

Is it that Permablitz co-founders Dan Palmer and Adam Grubb did such a bang up job designing Permablitz that anyone who follows their system could create a beautiful day?

Maybe it’s because people who sign up to host are usually so lovely and
generous, and grateful to have dozens of people showing up at their property to shovel, plant and construct, that the flow from them trickles down to everyone who participates?

Or perhaps the beauty of this blitz was the unique design team:
– Our hosts who had attended many blitzes as volunteers and had significant permaculture education;
– Three to four brand new permaculture designers eager to learn how to run a blitz;
– Tess, our lead designer, is a very competent permaculture gardener;
– Back up senior designers who were there as mentors, watching,
encouraging, stepping in if anything was going awry.
– Was it that our MC Leo is a fab group coordinator who can bring people together as a synced-up, cooperative team?
– Maybe the magic just occurs anytime a group of people come together to help others?

I bet it’s probably a mix of all of the above and other things I’ve not thought to add here.

What ever it is, Permablitzes in the BOP are consistently magical and I
am honored to be a part of  them. If you are thinking of coming along to a future blitz, it’s highly recommended.

Oh, and if you participated on the day, our hosts Sharon, Dave and Billy issue you an open invitation to stop by and see how things are growing!

Check out some of the magic of the day:
(Photos by Olly Roy, Dane Scott Creative and Catherine Dunton-Mcleod)

To the relief of the design team the day dawned clear and cool.

The gorgeous welcome area was ready

About 50 people showed up with food, tools……..

…enthusiasm…

….and heart.

Leo brought us together and helped us come together as a group…

We all offered  a stretch to get warmed up and ready to dive into working.

Our hostess Sharon and our lead designer Tess shared the guiding statement of the family, the property and the day’s activities.

Tess gave us a choice of three projects to work on.

Catherine and Trish introduced Christopher Alexander and The Living Design Process to about 15 of the group. Here’s the before, during and after of creating a privacy hedge between the main house and Dave and Sharon’s hide away….

Before….

Playing with hoses to find the best shapes for the new gardens…

After lunch, the drone shows us taking away the grass and the final shapes emerging….

These koru shaped gardens will get planted out over time creating privacy and allowing access.

The boys and others keen to learn from artist and stonemason and our host David Roy, got stuck in on the rock wall activity.

Click here for a 9 minute video of David summarizing how low rock walls can be made with concrete and mortar.

Our host Billy had been working for weeks, prepping for the blitz and still on the day he had the energy to lead the hugulkulture construction, the banana planting and give a talk on fungi. (I missed his fungi talk so I have no pics or video, however Billy has promised to offer it again at a future blitz.)

Click here to catch a bit of video on how to plant bananas.

Lunch is an incredibly important part of any permablitz, and Melissa and Beth laid out a marvelously colourful, healthy and plentiful feast. Many thanks you two!

Digestion was accompanied by Catherine sharing an exercise on permaculture design.

The biggest activity was the food forest and citrus area activity, led by Byron and Tess. A huge project made light by many hands, backs, space and wheel barrows!

Food forest and Citrus area before……

The whole food forest area can be seen from the air….

And at the end of the day, areas weeded, cardboarded, mulched and herbal ley planted.

Thanks to AgriSea for the generous donation of a trailer of seaweed and 20 Litres of Foliar Nutrition!

About 20 people got to meet Julia Sich and accompany her on a short edible weed walk. Click here for the link.

The day wrapped up with shares, hugs, acknowledgements, and gratitude expressed. Another magical Permablitz.

Permablitz #31

Permablitz # 31

UPDATE: we have had a few people who can not make this blitz happening tomorrow Saturday 7th November 2020, 9am – 3pm, so if you would like to now come – please register below – we would love to see you!
Location: Otumoetai, register to find out where

At this exciting upcoming blitz, the couple have spent the last two years slowly implementing a food producing oasis in suburban Tauranga. They are finally ready to redesign their backyard and provide useful workshops on what they have achieved.

This will be a good opportunity to see how permaculture can be done in a suburban area, learn how to install a small rain water tank, lasagna gardening, basic fencing and the practicality of converting a hillside into terraced garden beds.

During the course of the day we will be focusing on:
o Converting lawn to garden beds
o Building a fence to keep pets out
o Lasagna gardening and growing soil
o Rainwater tank install
o Pallet Compost setup
o Learn about rainwater harvesting
o Learn about terraced gardening
o Learn about grape and berry trellising

This is a small backyard which can accommodate 15 – 20 people. Plenty of parking on the street.

A main lunch meal will be provided by the host, and if participants are able to contribute a small snack/baking for morning tea that would be much appreciated. Please let us know if you have any allergies or
dietary requirements.

What to bring:
-Gumboots
-Gardening gloves
-Wheel barrow (if you have would be great!)
-Gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spade or shovel
-Water bottles
-Hat and sun protection and wet weather gear
-Any spare plants you may have from your own garden i.e blueberries, lavender, garlic bulbs, calendula, , borage, lemon balm, bergamot, tansy etc This can also be in the form of cuttings which we will put into cutting mix straight away.

To  register, fill out the form below. Your details will be emailed to the hosts who will contact you with further details on how to get there. Thank you!

Permablitz #30

Permablitz # 30

Rural Bonanza, Whakamarama

Saturday 3 October 2020, 9am-4pm
Location: Whakamarama, register to find out where

We are working on a few projects at this stunning rural property, including work on the Food Forest, rock walls and  learning about using a “Living Design Process” to site and plant a couple of new gardens at the property.

This is an opportunity to see how bananas can grow in the Bay of Plenty, see how swales and a duck pond can be integrated, and feel creativity alive and humming in a garden. This family home has turned into a communal living space – with many different artists with different forms living together – creativity oozes in every inch of this beautiful property.

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

  • Planting fruit trees
  • Planting fruit tree guilds
  • Sheet mulching
  • Planting banana pups
  • Creating a swale from run off water into the duck pond
  • Learning to make rock walls
  • Learning about using a “Living Design Process” to site and plant a couple of new gardens at the property.

We have a couple of great workshops lined up including; the role of fungi in a Food Forest, an edible weeds walk and a living design process.

This is a large area, and we can accommodate 40-50 people, so if you have missed out on a previous blitz, because they fill so fast – here is your opportunity to be involved and have a great day of learning. We are encouraging car pooling as there is not abundance of car-parking space. If you can please pop your area of where you live into the comments section of the registration box so we can try and connect people for carpooling.

Because this is such a large blitz, we are asking everyone to contribute to a shared lunch.

What to bring:
-Gumboots
-Gardening gloves
-Wheel barrow (if you have would be great!)
-Gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spade or shovel
-Water bottles
-Hat and sun protection and wet weather gear
-Something for a shared lunch
-Any spare plants you may have from your own garden that may work for fruit tree guilds i.e COMFREY – please dig up lots of comfrey root, lavender, garlic bulbs, calendula, jerusalem artichokes, thyme, rosemary, borage, lemon balm, bergamot, tansy, rosemary etc.

To  register, fill out the form below. Your details will be emailed to the hosts who will contact you with further details on how to get there. Thank you!

 

Report on Permablitz #29 – Urban overhaul

Permablitz #29: Maria’s Place  – July 25th, 2020

It was a very exciting moment for everyone to be back at a new Permablitz after a break away!

Maria, William (Maria’s Son) and Katie (William’s partner) welcomed us onto the site, a beautiful urban property in Tauranga, Otumoetai. The weather was perfect for a day of fun and hard work to transform Maria’s garden; which originally was made of grass, paving stones, a couple of hedges and a garden bed.

Maria decided to transform her garden in to an Edible Paradise to become more resilient. After the lockdown period a lot of people realised that they could be providing more of their own food from their land, Maria is one of them, she was convinced before but even more after going through that experience.

Maria, William and Katie had done a big job preparing the property for the permablitz, they pulled all the paving stones out, the grass, the pre existing garden bed as well as all the hedges, just a few trees were left on the day. 

Tess played her Magic to make a permaculture design to allow Maria to grow as much food as possible from her land, Marco built four wicking bed frames in the garden ready to be filled. A wicking bed is a garden bed with a waterproof lining that holds a reservoir of water at the bottom from which water is drawn upwards like a wick to the surface of the bed via natural soil osmosis or through the roots of plants in the bed. After a little warm up loading Marco’s trailer with the grass and shrubs (the pile that’s Maria, William and Katie did pre-blitz) we had a nice cup of tea and lovely muffin made by Katie.

We started the day with a welcome circle of sharing the design and sharing our skills with each other.

Maria welcomed us and thanked us for being part of the day.

Then Tess presented to everyone Maria’s Guiding statement and wish list, a map of the property with what is staying and the different areas of the design…our mission for the day.

We had 4 different zones to work on:

-Wicking beds led by Marco
-Fruit trees and theirs Guilds led by Kylie
-Berry and Medicinal plants area led by Carol
-Pathways area led by Byron

Marco did a mini workshop on Wicking Beds, everyone was really keen and happy to know more about them and how they work.

Everyone went straight to work and got stuck in, in groups of 2-4.

Making decisions around the Berry and Medicinal plant area. 

Mike and Byron making plans on the pathways.

The 1st zone of Fruit trees is taking shape. 


Martin, busy loading and unloading wheelbarrows of stones to help create the reservoir at the bottom of the wicking beds.

Path in progress between the wicking beds, Byron very focused! It has to be level.

Mike and Tess are starting the pebble pathway to create access to the garden from the house. 

Work in progress by Kylie and Tom in the fruit Tree area.

And now lots of lovely plants are going to cover the soil under the fig tree (preexistent), the new plum tree and the blackcurrant to create a guild (a beneficial grouping of plants that support one another in all their many functions).

And more and more wheelbarrows to fill those wicking beds, after the stone layer a geotextile fabric layer is added to avoid the soil mixing with the stone.


For lunch, Maria and Katie made us some beautiful pumpkin soup, a fresh salad and some homemade bread. 

While we were having a piece of pie, Byron talked about a subject he is passionate about: food forests – the different levels of a forest that create an ecosystem, rich healthy soil and diversity. Thanks Byron for sharing your knowledge, it was very interesting.

Back to work, a nice layer of mulch to cover the soil around the new plants.

Marco is making sure that the wicking beds are going to be nice and strong for the years to come.


Carol and Katie are happy to be able to start planting in the wicking beds, it looks amazing and the height of the wicking bed makes it easier to plant and will be comfortable to harvest food. It was these reasons that Maria wished to have wicking beds (and the fact her soil was super sandy, and she likes to go on holiday and the wicking beds can self water for 1-2 weeks in the Summer). 


More edible trees are getting planted, feijoas and pear and apple trees – which will be espaliered.


Last wicking bed in progress.

The raspberry plants and the trellis to support them while they grow.


The pile is going down, well done for your hard work guys what a team! The space is nearly ready to plant more trees and plants.

 Marco tracing the curve between the pebble and growing area to keep them on the path, it is looking amazing and easy to use. 

More fun creating curves and a new space to plant more food.

Planting, planting, planting, citrus this time, and lots of beneficial edible plants to cover the soil, it is looking amazing, nearly the end of the day.

The photo says it all – everyone is very proud of the hard work they have accomplished. Maria, William and Katie are delighted about the result. The power of people is amazing and it was so rewarding to be part of that day to transform a garden into an abundant, visually beautiful backyard – full of food, herbs, medicinal plants, berries and flowers.

Permablitz #29

Urban overhaul, Otumoetai

Saturday 25 July 2020, 9:30am-3pm
Location: Otumoetai, register to find out where

THIS BLITZ IS NOW FULL!

We are doing an overhaul of a small backyard urban section in Tauranga town…there will be no lawn left!

This is an opportunity to see how much food you can grow in a small area. During the course of the day we will be focusing on;

  • Making wicking beds
  • Planting fruit trees and their guilds
  • Laying pathways
  • Constructing a berry and medicinal area

We have a couple of great workshops lined up as well.

This is a small area, we only have room for up to 12 people.

Our hosts will provide hot and cold drinks, and a lovely lunch.

What to bring:
-Gumboots
-Gardening gloves
-Gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spade or shovel
-Water bottles
-Hat and sun protection and wet weather gear
– Any spare plants you may have from your own garden that may work for fruit tree guilds i.e lavender, garlic bulbs, calendula, jerusalem artichokes, thyme, rosemary, borage, lemon balm, bergamot etc.

To  register, fill out the form below. Your details will be emailed to the hosts who will contact you with further details on how to get there. Thank you!

 

Blitzing the BOP community one garden at a time