Yesterday I introduced you to my recent Permablitz experience. In this post I will delve a little deeper into the permaculture practices we followed to create the herb garden.
After a short welcome from the household owners, we self-divided into three groups and I chose to help clear the space dedicated to become the herb garden. Weeding is something I am always happy to do! A few plants were earmarked to stay or be removed for use elsewhere. Mostly we removed an assortment of weeds, many of which were trashed rather than taken to the compost pile. The reason was that their flowers, seeds or roots could not be trusted – they were unlikely to die in the compost and therefore could potentially multiply if retained; they were not weeds that the garden could use.
Early in the morning we approached the following overgrown patch.
Gradually the area was cleared.
As with any garden beds that have not been touched perhaps in decades, they can become an archeological dig. We found old concrete, which as it turned out, had an impeccable location and could be used as a path through one part of the herb garden.
Once the garden was cleared, pathways were marked with a can of fluorescent paint, and a trench was dug to mark the edge of the garden.
Water soaked newspaper lined the trench.
The remains of decaying straw bales were spread liberally over the garden surface as a moist compost.
Next, because the home owners had collected large cardboard boxes, in their flattened state, they were laid over the ground of the garden bed. Then sandstone rocks, uncovered by a recent house renovation, were carried up the hill and fitted into the trench. In addition they were used to edge pathways into the ‘keyhole’ centre of the herb garden. Wheel barrows and other containers were used to cart wood mulch up to the garden and liberally distributed across the bed.
Eventually a large assortment of plants were collected.
Each plant was positioned across the mulch, their location approved by the home owner, and holes dug through the mulch and the cardboard for their planting.
Finally, with joy and satisfaction the herb garden had been established. I hope you can recognise the ‘keyhole’ at the end of a pathway into the centre of the garden so that the homeowner will be able to easily reach the herbs.
The value of many different layers of mulch is that they will all break down organically, give worms something on which to feed, inhibit the germination of seeds remaining in the soil, and help to retain moisture in the ground so that plants have the best chance to flourish. Plants have their own ‘minds’ and don’t always act as we expect or want. During the Permablitz we gave those plants what we believe is their best chance of survival and growth. I would love to be invited back in a year or so to see the growth and changes in the herb garden – and to learn whether the home owners have made changes over time.
Such a wonderful transformation; from overgrown ornamental bed to productive perennial herb destination. Not a place to walk past, but walk into and engage with 😊
Many hands make light work, and everyone was a good worker. The changes are profound and the garden looked wonderful when we left. By now it should be settling in well.