The Permachar Kitchen Garden (PKG) trial aims to establish what is the best growing medium for 12 of the most popular culinary and medicinal herbs in the Mediterranean climate. I have used HDPE barrels cut in half lengthwise. I have used biochar 'aquifers' up the level of a drain in the base of the barrels. Irrigation is standardised.  I have used a control trial of loam/compost/gypsum and created four additional trials with different 'Permafert' recipes:


The trials


2-loam/compost/gypsum/biochar/blood and bone

3-loam/compost/gypsum/biochar/blood and bone/liquid kelp

4-loam/compost/gypsum/biochar/blood and bone/liquid kelp/worm oils

5-loam/compost/gypsum/biochar/blood and bone/liquid kelp/worm oils/Mycorrhizal fungi spores



I have built irrigation using standard 19mm polypipe for the main conduits and Netafim miniscape (non-pressure regulated) for the interconnectors lengthwise along the rows. I have added an 'unpowered Measured Irrigation controller' to the system which can match irrigation amount to rainfall and evaporation (very cool). I've tested the controller and it works like a treat! I've added hose clamps to the tap and controller so hopefully no  blow outs. I've tested that the float opens and closes the magnetic valve  - all good!


The plants


Name Latin name Number
Mediterranean plant guild    
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis 30
Oregano - Greek Origanum spp. 30
Parsley – flat/Italian Petroselinum crispum 30
Dill Anethum graveolens 30
Sage – common Salvia officinalis 15
Sage – bergartton Salvia officinalis 15
Thyme – Turkey/Westmoreland Thymus serpyllum ‘Westmoreland’ 15
Thyme - Lemon Thymus vulgaris 15
Asian and misc    
Basil – thai Osimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora 30
Basil – sweet Osimum basilicum 30
Chilli – halepeno Capsicum annuum 15
Chilli – caysan Capsicum annuum 15
Coriander Coriander sativum 30
Mint Lamiaceae 30
Chives - Plain Allium schoenoprasum 15
Lemon balm Melissa officinalus 15
In bw rows:    
Flowers – in between the rows – violas etc   ?




Samples of biochar, control and Permafert mixes will be sent to the Environmental Analysis Laboratory (EAL) at Southern Cross University (SCU) before and after the trial (12 months later).



I can make a plant/Permafert matrix after 1 year that explains which plants preferred which control/Permafert mix. I can then begin commercial herb production for the most popular culinary/medicinal herbs in the Barossa Valley restaurants OR if a restaurant then wants to install its own PKG, I can do that based on what I have learned from this experiment.