Report on Permablitz #14

Permablitz #14 was held at Christine’s place in Whakamarama on Saturday 14th October.

The day was focussed on installing a food forest system on  Christine’s lifestyle block on north facing sloping site. Swales were  installed to capture unused stormwater roof runoff. This great resource which used to spill out over the boundary into the neighbouring bush property will now filter down through a series of four swales through the new food forest.

Not only will this help irrigate the forest, it will faciltitate the accumulation of nutrients, picked up as the rainwater flows into the swales. These will slowly fill up with debris such as leaf litter and begin to decompose. Occasionally Christine will need to clear the swales, but when she shovels the organic matter out of the swales, she’ll be adding compost to the soil around the trees & plants adjacent!


This pipe was removed and re installed to divert the house roof storm water into the first infiltration swale. The short length of corrugated pipe attached to slows the water as it comes out of the pipe.


As each swale was dug, soil from it was placed to create a low mound along the contour beside it.  Four swales were dug across the site and each was linked with a buried section of pipe.

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This A-frame tool was used to mark out each swale so that it could be dug level across the slope contour to gain maximum infiltration effect.

Whilst the swales were being dug, a team got together to resolve the placement of the food forest trees. They considered where to site the large canopy trees, the mid storey trees, the shrubs, and ground-covers.  By combining all these different layers, much can be put in a small space. This will grow into a human designed forest ecosystem that is as the resilient and productive as  a natural forest ecosystem.

Swales will ensure that all every drop of rain that falls and the nutrients that accumulate on Christine’s land is put to good use and no longer floods off the property like it used to.

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The weather was wonderful and the atmoshpere nice and relxed. Kids squeezed citrus fruit and decorated plant pots in the shade for adults and everyone had a great time!

Check out the Permablitz Bay of Plenty’s Facebook page for more photos of this great day!