In August 2012, I took the north shore permaculture design course taught by Matthew Lynch and Hunter Heaivilin. After I completed the PDC, a new mission manifested itself. The goal was to travel to West Palm Beach, Florida where I grew up and share my new passion for permaculture with friends, family, and whoever else might be interested. I decided to host an introduction to permaculture class followed by a Permablitz at my parents’ home with the hopes of spreading the Permablitz Network.Tia Meer, a guest instructor from my PDC, and I teamed up and organized the “Permaculture Weekend.”
The pre-blitz activities went smoothly. Nearly all of the plants for the permablitz design came from Tia’s “Econ Farm,” which is a 5 acre homestead used to demonstrate sustainable living practices. We still needed a few truckloads of compost, manure, and mulch to prep the soil, all of which can be found for FREE! You can pick up FREE compost and mulch from the Solid Waste Authority nearly 6 days a week. Check out their website for more info. There are plenty of horse stables in the Acreage, Loxahatchee, and Wellington area that would be happy to get rid of some manure. With a little more inquiry you can find some free chicken manure as well and cardboad for sheet mulching is easy to come by at any grocery store.
Sunday was Permablitz #1 in Royal Palm Beach, Florida and it was a huge success. We had about 15 blitzers throughout the day getting down in the dirt. We constructed a 4’x8’ garden bed, created a permaculture plant guild, planted fruit trees, and constructed an herb garden.
Tia headed up the garden bed with a simple design that utilized nearby rainwater runoff from the roof. We planted a variety of annuals and perennials like cucumbers, kale, edible hibiscus, and Okinawan spinach. We also did and extra border and sheet mulched around the edge of the bed to keep the dollar weed from sneaking in.
The permaculture plant guild had many design inputs. Marcus Thomson helped get the design started the previous day with a demonstration of how to build an A-frame and then we constructed a swale on contour to utilize the excess rainwater runoff from a concrete slab just up slope from the area. The idea behind it being to slow, spread, and allow the water to sink into the ground. Another unique design was the construction of a banana circle around a compost pile, which we dug into the ground. A few plants that made up the permaculture guild were moringa, chaya, katuk, pigeon pea, pineapple, papaya, and passion fruit.
Elizabeth headed up the fruit tree planting and constructed large holes to amend the soil with the manure and compost resources. The navel orange, key lime, avocado, and plum nestled right into their new homes. Additionally, we threw in some companion plants like pigeon pea, tarragon, and black eyed peas. All of the borders were made from trimming back a monstrous sea grape on the property.
We finished off the day with the start of an herb garden in the front yard. We planted several lemongrass, my dad’s new favorite tea, some mint, rosemary, oregano, and basil. What an accomplishment!
There’s already been some talk of future permablitz sites and even a community garden. The foundation is there, there’s a few backyard gardeners that could serve as great plant resources, there’s access to free mulch and compost, and now we just need a little more organization of the people and Permablitz Florida will soon be blossoming! Let’s get the permablitz revolution growing Florida! Huge Mahalos out to Tia Meer for all of the guidance, supplies, energy, and knowledge she put into this permaculture weekend.I also want to thank Marcus Thomson for his wonderful presence during the course, your knowledge and passion were much appreciated. Another thanks to Elizabeth Dunne for help with organization and your guest lecture appearance. And to all of the blitzers who volunteeed their time to create an edible foodscape for the Wilkinson household.
~Aloha~ Drew Wilkinson
Here’s some upcoming events in Florida to get your Permaculture On!
Simple Living Institute is hosting a Permaculture Immersion Program: January 3-6 at the Econ Farm in Orlando, Florida for a 4-day immersion into permaculture principals, food production, natural building, and community experience.Cost: $350 per person. $50 discount for Simple Living Institute members. Check their website for more workshops and courses: http://www.homegrowndelightsllc.com/classes.html
Permaculture Miami will be hosting a 6 week permaculture design course starting January 12th, 2013. Check out their website for the course details:
The first annual Florida Permaculture Convergence will be held January 11th-13th, 2013 at Wallaby Ranch in Davenport, FL.