All posts by Hugo Verhagen

A Tour and a Swap – hanging out with the OOOOBY Group

On Saturday the 13th of July 2013, Permablitz Bay of Plenty were delighted to host the Tauranga OOOOBY Group for a combined event here in Katikati.

Ooooby logo

Ooooby, for anyone who doesn’t already know, stands for “Out Of Our Own Back Yards”.    You can find out more about the Tauranga Ooooby Group by visiting the Ooooby website – it’s a good place to visit to make connection with likeminded people, and also to view some fascinating links to interesting resources/info/ideas.  And you might even be inspired to create your own Ooooby page …..

Marie's tour montage

We were fortunate to have good weather on Saturday and we had a large, keen group turn up on Saturday morning.  We had members from both the Permablitz network and the Ooooby Group, all keen to meet and learn more about what each other did and how it worked.

Connection Game

We started the day by sharing some thoughts about permaculture, and then we visited Marie’s beautiful garden.  While we were there we had a lot of fun exploring the idea of connections in permaculture design.

Moving the dome and the chicken queue

The next garden we visited was Hugo and Carolyn’s garden, where the team took advantage of the opportunity to help move the chicken dome into its new position – we also helped the chickens move house!  A great time was had by all!

lunch at Kates

After a break for lunch, Kate told the story of the Katikati Motel garden and how it came about and the by-now-very-sociable group had the opportunity to look around their third garden.

Green Swap

The Green Swap was held at the end of the day, and was introduced by the Tauranga Ooooby Group, who hold Green Swaps on a regular basis.  It was a fun and friendly opportunity to swap any surplus garden produce / pots / plants / fruit / homemade creations…..we all had a wonderful time and went home delighted with our new-found riches!    What a great idea!  Take along what you have too much of, don’t need, can’t use, and go home with lots of goodies straight from your friends’ backyards.  What’s not to like about that?

Permablitz would like to thank the Ooooby folk for making the trip out to Katikati – we hope our members will get the chance to work together again in the future…..

Report of Permablitz#9

What a great day!

Permablitz #9 was held on Sunday the 7th of July at Carol & Mikes house, up on the hills behind Katikati. The sun beamed down, a  cold south westerly wind blew and everybody who came truly experienced the suntrap effect! It was a great way to learn about principle #7 ‘Design from patterns to details’.

Making the pumpkin mounds

A significant part of Carol’s permaculture design was to make use of her suntrap on her existing north-facing terraces. These had difficult access, but with teamwork we were able to carry large quantities of organic material up to the terraces in buckets! Up there, pumpkin mounds were built. These small no dig beds will break down in the coming months and be ready for Carol’s future bumper pumpkin crop!

Drilling worm towers

Fancy low maintenance – no production  shrubs were put through the mulcher and ‘Worm towers’ were drilled using pieces of pipe. These were inserted into the newly cleared vege beds which will house Carol’s growing population of free-range worms. It is hoped these will stimulate soil activity in the vege beds and give Carol somewhere useful to put her kitchen scraps!

Carol & Mike's bean frames

Carol & Mike got two lovely new bean frames built for them. Just as these were being finished,  someone opened the bucket to Carol’s secret possum repellant. OMG! You had to be there. If you were downwind at the time, you would feel very sorry for all the Possums on the Kaimais that venture near Carol’s garden, boy, are they going to be repelled!

Permablitz 9 group shot

What fun we all had, and what a great vibe there was on the day. Thanks to everybody who shared in the decision making, taking on leadership roles and for your contributions to some great discussions. Carol & Mike seemed to be glowing afterwards! They will reap the rewards of all their involvement with permablitz in the coming growing season and they both really deserve it!

Report of Permablitz #8

Permablitz #8,

Saturday May 25th 2013

With a huge rain event predicted to innundate blitz #8 after lunch, we weren’t sure whether anyone would come! A few were missing but many came enthusiastic as usual! The weather bomb never arrived, but it certainly seemed to motivate everyone!

No time was wasted early in the day, introductions were cut short and newcomers got thrown in the deep end, and were given jobs as soon as they had labled their tools!


One of the first major jobs was to thin out a large grove of bananas. Meanwhile a trailor full of compost was shovelled on to the adjacent beds.


Compost piles were built using rolls of wire mesh and filled  chopped up banana plants, manure , sawdust, prunings, grass clippings and weeds. Two piles were built at intervals along the lower vege garden terrace.

There was a workshop on vegetable guild planting, and two beds were planted with a mix of cabbage, brocolli, cauliflower, beetroot, peas, lettuces, and broadbeans. (Not a lot else will grow here in Late May)

Blitz #8 Group photo

The rain finally came as people were leaving at 3pm.What  a great community thing we have here! The day was enjoyed by all, and once again we were able to blitz another garden which will in time become far more productive!