Permablitz #28

From Scratch Permablitz, Katikati

Saturday 31st March 2018, 9am – 4pm
Location: Katikati, register to find out where

We are starting from scratch on a newly established, beautiful one-acre riverside site just south of Katikati.

This is an opportunity to be involved in the very early stages of planning and implementing a Permaculture garden. Trish Waugh will talk about the Living Design Process which has been used here to make some initial decisions about the development of the land.

Our hosts are excited about sharing their piece of paradise with like-minded people and invite participants to stay on after the blitz for a shared dinner, swim in the river and to stay the night if you bring your own tent.

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

  • Construct a ponga wall
  • Set up a fenced chicken run
  • How to site and plant fruit trees
  • How to build a compost bin and make hot compost
  • And lots more

We have some great workshops lined up and there may be special Easter activities for children (and adults) if anyone is keen.

This is a large area, we have room for up to 40 people.

Our hosts will provide hot and cold drinks, morning tea and a vegetarian lunch. If you would like to stay for dinner, please bring something to share.

What to bring:
-Both Rubber gloves (for handling the mix) and other sturdy gardening gloves
-Gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spade or shovel, wire cutters, wheelbarrow.
-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 # 27 – Tauranga Suburban half-day Permablitz

Permablitz BOP is firing up again! On Saturday 9th December 2017 we held the first mini permablitz on Julia Sich’s 870 sm property on Chadwick Road in Greerton, Tauranga.

This mini-blitz was a small group of ten people coming together, bringing a shared lunch, for half a day.  We got tons done, met some lovely new people and learned about Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language, double digging, grape pruning and wicking bed construction.

The design team of Cath Goodrick, Nicole Buhrs, Julia Sich, headed by Sharon Watt met late November to start the process of planning the blitz and scoping out the section.  During the week before the blitz Nicole and Cath had to pull out due to unexpected accidents.  Help!! A distress email for additional support drew in Catherine Dunton-McLeod, with her permaculture knowledge and superb organisational skills.

The day of the blitz dawned with blue sky and sunshine, thank goodness – organisers are always a bit nervous about the weather the day of a blitz.

Sharon welcomed everyone, Julia gave the history and an overview of the property, and Catherine Dunton-McLeod led a permaculture exercise in Pattern Language.

This began with her reading Julia’s statement of purpose for her piece of paradise as follows:

“Abundance, surprises and a wow factor pervade this garden of aliveness, harmony and colour, which is easy to care for, a haven for wildlife and an inspiration to others.”

A short encapsulation of the homeowner’s desire for the property like this is critical for a good permaculture design and a successful blitz, and is unfortunately a step that often gets skipped.  Catherine explained that this sentence would inform everything we did that day on the property.

Catherine then took the group out to the road, to the start of the longish driveway, to get a feel of the property from the beginning and to start to view it as a set of “rooms “. (This is straight out of Christopher Alexander’s books: A Pattern Language and A Timeless Way of Building.  Read them!!)  Just like in a house, a property can have “rooms” with specific functions. Standing at the start of the driveway we identified a “room” we called “entrance off the street.”  Julia’s entrance off the street is functional, but does not yet express her statement of purpose – There was little sense of abundance, surprise or aliveness in this room!   There was however a big brown concrete wall that we imagined could have a fantastic colourful mural painted on it bringing in those missing elements.  As we walked back up the drive, we experienced two more rooms we decided to call – “getting to Julia’s house” and  “arriving at Julia’s house.” We had a good time observing and feeling our way through these “rooms” and this showed up areas for future development.

Heading to the backyard, work got underway to dig over the four remaining garden beds that had been covered in carpet to kill the kikuyu. The garden beds were marked with lines and the paths and beds prepared.

Lora Scully led a workshop on how to double dig a garden bed. 

Edging was put around almost all the vegetable garden by the end of the day, leaving about a quarter for Julia to finish.

The greenhouse was erected.

Before lunch, Catherine led a workshop on how to set up a wicking bed.  Some variation of a wicking bed design is a fantastic solution to keep plants happy in a dry summer, especially if you are away for weeks at a time.  Google “wicking beds” to find out more design possibilities.  What we did was to use a 200 litre plastic barrel from the recycle container place in Greerton, cut in half.  The bottom of the barrel acts as a water reservoir and is filled with a Nova flow drainage pipe inserted in a muslin sleeve (to prevent the sand clogging the holes). This pipe was coiled in the bottom of the barrel and sand poured on top up to the level of the outlet pipe.  Another pipe is inserted into the Nova flow pipe to be able to fill the bottom with water. Then a layer of weed mat is placed over the sand and the barrel filled with compost ready to plant.  Catherine suggested that several wicking beds could be set up one under another for a cascade effect. 

The finished wicking barrel with a plant under the outflow. The reservoir in this wicking bed should hold about 30 litres of water and can keep it’s plants moist for weeks.

The combined food that people brought along made for a wonderful sustaining, nourishing lunch.  Relaxing over the break allowed the chance to chat amongst fellow blitzers and network.
Other tasks completed during the morning were grape pruning led by Julia.  Val took on the huge job of clearing fern, alstromeria and stones from around a concrete bordered bed near the worm farms. Shade was also erected for the worm farm area.

Two wooden posts were concreted in between the house and the hedge to form the basis of a fence and gate that would enclose the garden, act as a wind break, provide privacy, and to make it clear when arriving at the property which door visitors should go to.
In the following two days after the blitz ,John, Julia’s brother from Australia, along with Julia built the gate.

A huge thank you to all those who participated and to the design team, Sharon who took the photos, Catherine and Lora for leading workshops and the many hands that made light work!  Below a view of the garden after the blitz.  Woo Hoo!  Thank you Permablitz!  Let’s have another Blitz soon!!!

Compare this with the before shot of the same area. WOW!


Permablitz # 27

Tauranga Suburban Half Day Permablitz

Saturday 9th December 2017, 9.30am – 1.30pm
Location: Greerton, Tauranga register to find out more

We are developing a vegetable garden and food forest at a suburban home in Tauranga. The large section is flat and north facing.

This will be the first of two or three half-day Permablitzes at this location with a smaller number of people than is typical for a Permablitz (around 10 people).

Possible tasks include: preparing vegetable beds, erect greenhouse, construct gate and fence for wind shelter, plant trees, construct shade for worm farms, organise garage shelves and tool storage area, paint and line strawberry boxes.

Possible workshops will be: air layering plants, double digging, edible weeds, perennial vegetables, bokashi.

Anyone is welcome to teach a short workshop on a sustainable living concept so if you have any special skills that will contribute to the learning of the participants please mention this at registration.

We will have a shared pot luck lunch. The host will provide morning tea.

Hope to see you there!

What to bring:

·       Sturdy Footwear
·       Gloves
·       Gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spade, fork, trowel, hammer
·       Water bottle
·       Hat and sun protection and wet weather gear
·       Food to share for lunch

Plants/seeds needed: Tagasaste seedlings, globe artichoke, sweet marjoram (not oregano), dill, wormwood, leek seedlings, Brussels sprout seedlings

Materials needed: something to act as a barrier against kikuyu, such as plastic edging or corrugated iron if anyone has any to spare

We also need someone with building skills to help construct a gate and short fence, so please mention if you have these skills at registration.

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!


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 but would also like to recieve blitz announcements and reports, or be involved with permablitz events in the Central North then please log onto 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!).


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.

Blitzing the BOP community one garden at a time