All posts by Hugo Verhagen

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!).

 

Report on Permablitz # 23 – Turangi town house

Upwards of 25 people came to Turangi last sunday on what was a hot dry, and windy spring day. The site they came to work on was the front lawn of a typical hydro-house. This was one of many houses in the town moved on site for the Tongariro Power scheme in the 1960’s-70’s.

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The concept design for the site included the front lawn as a perennial food forest system – a great sustainable solution for a busy professional couple with little spare time. However, Turangi is renowned for poor and extremely free draining pumice soil and a cold climate. It snow occasionally in winter as the town is 340m above sea level.  However this north facing sloped front lawn is a ideal suntrap, the house gives it excellent shelter from the cold southerly winds.

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To alleviate water loss in the highly free draining soil, teams helped establish a combined Hugelkultur swale system. Stormwater from roof runoff was tapped into and piped to swales dug on contour above new berms. The berms were made from turf dug out of the swales and from trenches dug for wood which was buried under them. This waste wood was sourced locally from the fisherman’s track by the Tongariro river. There wayward gardeners had dumped pruning’s so these were put to good use.

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As the buried wood eventually rots, it will act like a sponge to absorb winter rains to sustain the fruit trees and food forest plants through the summer drought. Much of the food forest is planted with deciduous fruit to ensure the hosue isn’t shaded and particular care was taken in the design to ensure morning sun would still enter the main living space window.

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All involved had a great day with many young people new to permablitz having attended the day. The was a large international contingent of volunteers from Awhi farm and also staff from the Hillary Outdoor education center. It is hoped this event and local interest in the site will lead to further development of edible gardens at a Turangi Marae.

We are hoping to hold a massive multi-day permablitz someday to give back to the Turangi community, many of whom are the descendants of the visionary people that gifted NZ it’s first National Park. (Tongariro NP) Watch this space!

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Permablitz #23!

Turangi town home Food Forest Permablitz


Sunday 4th October 2015, 9:30am – 4pm
Location: Turangi town home, register to find out where

We’re planting a food forest at a typical home in Turangi.

The site is a north facing,free-draining, front sloped garden, so a warm and dry spot well suited to great growing.

Before the fruit trees go in, we’ll be forming rainwater infiltration swales for drought tolerance and for cycling nutrients into the system. Storm-water runoff from the house and garage will fill a new goldfish pond in front of the house. Once full nutrients from the pond will flow into the swales too.

We’re planting a large range of stone-fruit like cherries, prunes and apricots along with citrus trees fruiting shrubs such as currants and gooseberries. They’ll love the hard frosts and warm dry summers. These will become the structure of the multi-layered food food for this young turangi family and kids passing by on their way to and from school.

Please come and help, likely workshops will discuss Food forest and swale design, composting, tree planting and mulch use. Anyone is welcome to teach a workshop on a sustainable living concept on the day!

There will be a good healthy lunch provided. Hosts will help organise carpooling for anyone willing to come down here. Turangi has great hotpools, walks, and plenty to see and do for a weekend away! (not to mention great permies down here including the sensational Awhi Farm (google them!)

Suitable plant donations for our food forest appreciated.

We hope to see you here!
Hugo & Caro

What to bring:
-Sturdy Footwear
-Gloves
-Own gardening tools (labelled with your name) – spades, shovels, wheelbarrows, hand tools
-Water bottle
-Hat and sun protection

-Extra clothing (Turangi climate is about a month behind the Tauranga!)

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

Report on Permablitz #18

Turangi’s eagerly anticipated first permablitz got of to an exciting start! With a cool but sunny day forecast, a group of mostly strangers met for the first time at Boyd & Avis’ house. There were a contingent from Hillary Outdoors, and Awhi farm as wells as neighbours, locals and a cool dude Boyd met at the Tokaanu hotpools! Milo the fox terrier invited a few to play with him by presenting a tennis ball.
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We heard Boyd & Avis’ story as well as how permablitz came to be and what was the purpose of it all. Everyone seemed keen,  so after a quick run down of the plan and a few jobs, we broke into teams and proceeded to transform another garden into something more edible and functional!

The old concrete block edges came out in the blink of an eye and were re-positioned to make more garden bed space. Weeds were pulled and shrubs went flying! a Large pile of greenwaste was quickly attended by ladies on chairs who sat and chopped the woody stuff into smaller pieces.

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Liam built a new three-bin compost system whilst an old garden seat and pavers were ripped out to make yet more garden bed space.  The rear gardens had plenty of compost added, a free resource from the Turangi Dump! The locals call it black gold here. Many were interested to hear that this  ‘Black gold’ sells for up to $120 per m3 in larger towns. Here the council struggles to give it away!

Lunch was welcome ravenously as the day started to heat up. We had BBQ’d sausages, some great chicken soup and sandwiches. All loving prepared by Avis, Thanks Avis! A few of the senior neighbours went home, but their input was greatfully appreciated, they had chopped up a great big pile of woody waste for us!

After lunch, we stopped for a seed sowing workshop put on by Carolyn. After that a composting workshop was obligingly delivered by permablitz novice, but senior gardener – Geoff from across the road. The compost bins took the rest of the day to fill, but were done with gusto!

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After the workshops, everyone went back to work eagerly. The whole team  worked like a well oiled machine and the garden transformation was beginning to look really good. At the front of the property a few worked in isolation because of a dividing fence. They were soon a part of it all as the fence was cut open to make way for a new future gate!

A short stop for refreshments late afternoon, before a final push to the end meant we got it all done on time. Boyd and Avis spoke of how greatful they were as everyone sat round to have a drink together at our final debrief . A great day of good feelings, inspiration, friendship, teamwork and sharing!

We hope that we can blitz again in Turangi someday soon, but we need someone new who wants to be a host to put their hand up! Please contact us through permablitzcninz@gmail.com if you are keen!

Wasn’t it great to demonstrate that people are inherently good? Many thanks to all that came and thanks to Boyd & Avis for your good food and willingness to have a blitz at your place!

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Turangi permablitzers, a very colourful lot!

 

 

 

Report on Permablitz #15

Permablitz #15 at Beccy's place, 143 Rahu Rd, Paeroa</p><br />
<p>Saturday the 12th was wild, wet and windy after a week of similar weather.  The blitz was scheduled for Sunday 13th and although the weather forecast that things could clear mid morning, it was hard to imagine as my daughter Holly and I braved the weathers to saw down large bamboo in readiness for the next day's ventures.  We had a great whanau crew of 5 tucked in our tiny home chopping salads, making soups, baking cakes,creating pies and praying like crazy that the blitz wouldn't be cancelled... or we'd have had a lot to eat !!!<br /><br />
At 10.00 p.m. someone noticed the rain had stopped and we stepped outside to a quiet, clear night sky.  The full moon was surrounded by the most amazing coloured moonbow I had ever seen and we knew the storms were over and all would be well.<br /><br />
By Sunday 9.30 the 29 permablitzers began to gather around the outside fire, where we shared a cuppa, introductions and the plan for the day.  I talked a little about the history of arriving on the land 17 years ago with my two young girls, Holly and Kyah, now young women and part of the blitz team.  Also of  Annies involvement in the land over the years and now into the future with plans to build a cabin here.  Trish Waugh shared our permaculture plans for the land and for the day in creating a 'food forest', pruning existing fruit trees, and re-creating the vege gardens and compost heaps.  She talked about the special nature of the land being south facing and why we were planting what we were and where.<br /><br />
The first job was a good warm up for our wintered bodies, getting two large piles of rocks gathered in the native bush at the height of the section down to a recently terraced gully below the house where part of the food forest was being created.  The plan was to use the available resource of rocks to create small dry stone walls around the proposed fruit tree sites.  These will act as a collector of rain and nutrients and stop the run off down the banks.  Trish took us through the process of creating the rock walls and then it didn't take long for the group to create 4 reasonable sized retaining walls, to hold citrus, blueberries and an apple tree and many supporting herbs, fruit and veges.  As that activity was completed we divided into 3 groups, two to learn about and practice pruning some of the older trees (fig, apples and peaches) with either Trish or Catherine Dunton-Mcleod and the third to create a new compost frame out of warratahs and wire mesh with Cat Firth and Annie.  A new compost heap was created inside it layering carbon and nitrogen materials that had been previously gathered.<br /><br />
The weather couldn't have been better as we gathered for a scrumdiddilyumptious lunch (thanks to the amazing talents of our kitchen whizzes, Kyah, Katie and others).  Over a cuppa and dark Chocolate Beetroot cake Catherine D.M. shared some of her knowledge around 'Food Forests' enhanced by her recent learnings from Kaye Baxters workshop.  Others who had been part of Kayes workshop added in what they had learned to the mix; one thing that stood out for me was the simplicity of thinking that 50% of a food forest is food producing trees and plants and another 50% need to be plants that support those food producing trees. We also shared knowledge about how to plant fruit trees successfully before going off to plant 22 of them across two areas of the section.  Many people commented at the end of the day that they had learnt a lot about planting fruit trees well, especially bare rooted ones eg: facing the tap root to the south.  Grass was turfed and cleared around each tree and replaced with good quantities of compost and mulch.  Amongst this rich mix was lovingly planted many roots of comfrey, daffodil bulbs, strawberries and a huge variety of herbs donated by the participants.  More mini rock walls were created around each tree to hold the nutrients and the bank and to create a barrier to grass growth.  At the same time those that were keen continued work on re-creating garden beds.  Rose Tuffery, who couldn't make it on the day, had dedicated a day earlier in the week to engineering a circular garden with split level beds and bamboo wall that would create a frame to later be adobed over.  Originally we used old teepee poles for this purpose and even though we had cut more bamboo from a local source on the day we fell short of material so this is still a work in progress.  Other beds were re-shaped to compliment the shape of the new circular garden and pathways levelled.<br /><br />
We called an end to the day around 4.00 p.m. and I felt absolutely amazed and grateful at the huge amount of work that had been done in such a short amount of time and the wonderful sense of community that had developed throughout the day.<br /><br />
We finished with a closing circle and acknowledgement from everybody of the various things they had experienced or enjoyed about the day.<br /><br />
Huge thanks to everyone for their contribution of time, energy and plants and a special thanks to the planning, design and facilitation team of Trish Waugh, Cat Firth, Rose Tuffery and Catherine Dunton-Mcleod.  I am deeply moved and grateful for your generosity of spirit.<br /><br />
Ngaa mihi nui Beccy

Permablitz #15 at Beccy’s place, Paeroa

Saturday the 12th was wild, wet and windy after a week of similar weather. The blitz was scheduled for Sunday 13th and although the weather forecast that things could clear mid morning, it was hard to imagine as my daughter Holly and I braved the weathers to saw down large bamboo in readiness for the next day’s ventures.

We had a great whanau crew of 5 tucked in our tiny home chopping salads, making soups, baking cakes,creating pies and praying like crazy that the blitz wouldn’t be cancelled… or we’d have had a lot to eat !!!
At 10.00 p.m. someone noticed the rain had stopped and we stepped outside to a quiet, clear night sky. The full moon was surrounded by the most amazing coloured moonbow I had ever seen and we knew the storms were over and all would be well.

By Sunday 9.30 the 29 permablitzers began to gather around the outside fire, where we shared a cuppa, introductions and the plan for the day. I talked a little about the history of arriving on the land 17 years ago with my two young girls, Holly and Kyah, now young women and part of the blitz team. Also of Annies involvement in the land over the years and now into the future with plans to build a cabin here.

Trish Waugh shared our permaculture plans for the land and for the day in creating a ‘food forest’, pruning existing fruit trees, and re-creating the vege gardens and compost heaps. She talked about the special nature of the land being south facing and why we were planting what we were and where.

The first job was a good warm up for our wintered bodies, getting two large piles of rocks gathered in the native bush at the height of the section down to a recently terraced gully below the house where part of the food forest was being created. The plan was to use the available resource of rocks to create small dry stone walls around the proposed fruit tree sites. These will act as a collector of rain and nutrients and stop the run off down the banks. Trish took us through the process of creating the rock walls and then it didn’t take long for the group to create 4 reasonable sized retaining walls, to hold citrus, blueberries and an apple tree and many supporting herbs, fruit and veges.

PB1 PB2

As that activity was completed we divided into 3 groups, two to learn about and practice pruning some of the older trees (fig, apples and peaches) with either Trish or Catherine Dunton-Mcleod and the third to create a new compost frame out of warratahs and wire mesh with Cat Firth and Annie. A new compost heap was created inside it layering carbon and nitrogen materials that had been previously gathered.

PB3 PB4 PB5

The weather couldn’t have been better as we gathered for a scrumdiddilyumptious lunch (thanks to the amazing talents of our kitchen whizzes, Kyah, Katie and others).

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Over a cuppa and dark Chocolate Beetroot cake Catherine D.M. shared some of her knowledge around ‘Food Forests’ enhanced by her recent learnings from Kay Baxters workshop. Others who had been part of Kays workshop added in what they had learned to the mix; one thing that stood out for me was the simplicity of thinking that 50% of a food forest is food producing trees and plants and another 50% need to be plants that support those food producing trees. We also shared knowledge about how to plant fruit trees successfully before going off to plant 22 of them across two areas of the section.

PB7

Many people commented at the end of the day that they had learnt a lot about planting fruit trees well, especially bare rooted ones eg: facing the tap root to the south. Grass was turfed and cleared around each tree and replaced with good quantities of compost and mulch. Amongst this rich mix was lovingly planted many roots of comfrey, daffodil bulbs, strawberries and a huge variety of herbs donated by the participants. More mini rock walls were created around each tree to hold the nutrients and the bank and to create a barrier to grass growth. At the same time those that were keen continued work on re-creating garden beds.

PB8

Rose Tuffery, who couldn’t make it on the day, had dedicated a day earlier in the week to engineering a circular garden with split level beds and bamboo wall that would create a frame to later be adobed over. Originally we used old teepee poles for this purpose and even though we had cut more bamboo from a local source on the day we fell short of material so this is still a work in progress. Other beds were re-shaped to compliment the shape of the new circular garden and pathways levelled.

We called an end to the day around 4.00 p.m. and I felt absolutely amazed and grateful at the huge amount of work that had been done in such a short amount of time and the wonderful sense of community that had developed throughout the day. We finished with a closing circle and acknowledgement from everybody of the various things they had experienced or enjoyed about the day.

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Huge thanks to everyone for their contribution of time, energy and plants and a special thanks to the planning, design and facilitation team of Trish Waugh, Cat Firth, Rose Tuffery and Catherine Dunton-Mcleod. I am deeply moved and grateful for your generosity of spirit.
Ngaa mihi nui Beccy

We’re famous!

Newsflash!

Permablitz BOP made it into NZ Lifestyle block magazine!

Congratulations and thanks to freelance writer  Yvonne Andrew for getting us in there. Thanks to all who contributed on the day at Peter’s Kerepehi blitz and Heather’s Katikati blitz featured in Yvonne’s article way back then!

Finally, many thanks again to Dan & Adam in Melbourne and Kay & Bob at Koanga for their inspiration. You’re all exceptional people!

Send a friend the email link to it folks! (copy & paste the URL) Get them involved! It’s looking like a busy season of blitzes ahead.

Lifestyle block article icon

Next Permablitz season coming soon!

Time to sharpen your spade and sort out your surplus seedlings, you can expect an announcement for permablitz#15 to arrive in your inbox very soon!  Thanks to the commitment, drive and enthusiasm of a new generation of permies, Permablitz Bay of Plenty is about to come alive again!

Start spreading the word too….! Tell your friends all about how great the concept is and get them to ‘Join Us’ on the website! And, if you meet a stranger, don’t talk about the weather, explain to them how a permablitz works!

We recognise whats happening to our local climate and are changing our methods
We recognise whats happening to our local climate and are changing our methods

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!

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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.

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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!

Report on Permablitz #10

The day of Permablitz #10, Saturday August 24th dawned misty and wet…in the Waikato… Luckily it was a quite the opposite in the Bay of Plenty where our hosts Peter and Jacquie  live,  south of Katikati.

With a crew of about 24 enthusiastic permablitzers eager to learn about Food Forests we couldn’t have asked for a better day. After the introductions Marie  gave an informative talk on the benefit of planting a Food Forest, which involves planting multi-layers of food producing plants in one area where each plant benefits the other in many ways. Trish then explained the design for the Food Forest that she and Marie prepared for the Faulkners.

 Then we got straight into preparing the 90 square metre area for planting, making several compost heaps from surplus material around the garden and planting some of the key fruit trees.

Ruth gave a very in depth workshop on fruit tree pruning and Sue Peachey led a workshop on planting Blackcurrants and Cranberry’s. Trish  shared her learning about preparing the ground for planting kumara later in the year. Heather  and Marie  prepared two large compost heaps.

 Peter and Jacquie not only provided us with a delicious lunch but also talked us through Miso making and preservation of Olives. Following lunch we had a discussion about all of the lower canopy plants to be planted beneath the fruit trees, including edible and medicinal herbs and weeds, perennial vegetables, corms and tubers and seeds. It was good to learn about new plants and how to cook them, the (f)artichokes a favourite!

It was all hands to the weeding, planting, seed sowing, labeling and laying of sawdust to the path then we stood back to enjoy the results of our labour.

 

A satisfying day for all and a big thank-you to Peter and Jacquie for your hospitality. We hope to see a photo or two on Facebook of the garden as it matures.

 

 

 

 

Report on Permablitz #11

Permablitz #11 was held at Peter Archer’s place in Kerepehi, Hauraki District on Saturday the 10th of August, two days before Permablitz BOP’s first birthday! (Aug 12th 2012) 220 followers, 15 events, and 363 days later we’re still here!)

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Introductions started in Peter’s Carport as the showers began to ease. A mix of BOP Blitzers and Thames permies came together under one roof and Steve bumped his head on the truss beam.

We introduced ourselves and the plan for the day then got stuck in. The two main jobs were digging over Peter’s vege garden and planting the rest of the property (800m2) with fruit trees & shrubs.

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The vege garden crew started digging the first few spadefuls and soon realised it was going to be hard Yakka! The Hauraki clay loam under our feet stuck to spades like glue. Peter really needed our help!

As the vege crew bravely forged ahead without complaint, the tree planting crew checked out Peter’s proposed layout.  We imagined the citrus trees infront of Peters lounge window  eventually blocking out the sun. Then thought about  his winter power bill!   Sticks were used to help imagine their eventual size, and a new kind of dance was invented waving them around and spinning in circles!

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A halt to the planting was called and some garden design a-la Bill Mollison style was initiated. Ie careful observation and protracted thought, the tree layout needed more of this.  Heads were put together and some thinking was done.  An hour and many well considered decisions later, Peter was called to approve the new layout. Deciduous trees to the north to let in the winter sun. Citrus to the south to plug the holes in the rear shelter trees, feijoas in a semi-circle to enclose a future sitting area etc. Peter approved.

Just before lunch all stopped for a tree planting workshop with Hugo, this was really necessary  the hard soil meant we needed to plant trees using the best possible techniques if they were to survive!DSCF2590

After lunch Lia, ran a workshop on soils which prompted a great discussion on the merits of organic versus permaculture systems.

The tree plantings then continued  as did the vege  garden digging and Peter’s  600kg pile of compost soon disappeared.  The day ended abruptly as the vege crew came to help plant the last few trees.

At the end we all got together for a review after a lemonade tree was given some good vibes by us all!

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A big day by all but a great result. Peter will be eating fruit & vege from his garden this coming season. This would have been very difficult for him to do without help! Well done again blitzers!  Good luck to our friends from Thames, it was great to share the day with you and we hope you can get some more blitzes happening over your way again some time!

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