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

1-loam/compost/gypsum

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

 

Irrigation

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    
A    
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    
B    
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   ?

 

Measurements

Brix/taste/height/width

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).

 

Summary

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.

 

Updates

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