Sunday, 30 April 2017

Permablitz at Ron's

Sunday was P-day at Ron's place as a team of us keen Permies blitzed for a whole day on his north facing ridge top property in Glen Eden.

We battled kikuyu, made hot compost, transplanted plants, shifted garden beds and dug a huge pond. Well to me it looked like the beginnings of a nice pond in the corner of his section but Ron was saying he was going to put a huge rainwater tank there. I can't really think why he needed even more rain than he does now to store in a plastic tank since there's already plumbed in water that he still has to pay for anyway and we aren't technically allowed to collect rainwater for our homes (in Auckland - I blame 'Watercare' and greedy council tax collectors)  but Permies have a different view which to me sometimes seems like end-times rapture theory except, the ones who will survive aren't going to be the fundamentalist Christians from America but those who saved their rainwater on their own properties. I am not sure I entirely subscribe to the Permie evangelicalism of rejecting 'the Grid' but who really knows when Rangitoto will erupt again anyway?

He also said he was going to have a composting toilet but perhaps later, although I think Dove Meyer Robinson might be rolling in his grave about us rebellious Permies not taking advantage of his brilliant Auckland City sewerage system. But I digress.

Apart from this it was hard work moving the garden bed and then digging the pond - I mean site for the rainwater tank -  although there were about a dozen of us in total to lend hands. However we were rewarded with lunch laid on - chinese bao and fresh veges, salad, kawakawa and turmeric tea, and gluten free pasta.

I am up to Principle 11 of Permaculture theory - Use edges and value the marginal - Don't think you are on the right track just because it's a well beaten path
?! I'm not sure this makes sense but if it's talking about driveways then Ron has made a brilliant deal with his neighbour with the long driveway and planted a feijoa hedge and other fruit trees of which I contributed some loquat plants because this is going to be his 'Alley Cropping' feature, and I imagine all his neighbours will head to his place for PYO fruit harvesting parties.

Ron said he bought the place only 2 years ago when there was really nothing there but already he's planted up the entire property with an abundance of fruit trees and vegetable beds, and eventually he will have chickens, and maybe bees, he's got four worm farms and four huge composting heaps, he's got polycultures going on, he's got exotic tropical fruits such as bananas, cherimoyas, passionfruit, useful yielding plants such as sunchokes, (also known as Jerusalem artichoke) sugarcane, arrowroot (canna lily to you and me), pip fruit and raised vege/herb beds, he just installed a woodburning stove and solar heating system..and he's recycling and sustaining everything to become as closed loop system as possible so that he has almost zero waste - hence the worm farms, compost heaps and bokashi bucket systems.

His compost system is quite clever apart from the ingenious idea of inviting us Permie students to come spend the day working for him, he's made the compost heaps from galvanised mesh rounds sewn together and covered with old trampolines, and has a sieve that divides the compost into vege garden ready piles and mulch piles. Then he goes round to all the coffee places sourcing free coffee grounds, the furniture/carpenter shops for wood shavings, and any green garden waste from his gardening jobs so he gets beautiful rich compost for nothing. Brilliant!

Us budding Permies were quite impressed and went home tired yet satisfied, I came home with Chinese bao,  a fig tree, some heirloom strawberries and sunchokes to plant.