Getting that Soil Up Top

| Gardening, Urban Permaculture | comments | Author :

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We did it! All of us! There’s nothing quite so awesome as when folks come together with a common goal. It’s the essence of people power.

Last Saturday, with the help of over 40 beautiful, hard working humans, we lifted 12 cubic meters of soil from the ground floor up to the 107 Rooftop Garden – with buckets, shovels, sweat and community. 

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So – after a mammoth few weeks of work constructing gabions, tank stands, willow groves and hardwood seating, we were ready for the soil to go into the garden beds.

Logistically, getting the soil up there was all a bit tricky. The garden space is in the middle of the roof’s footprint; not near the front, nor the back of the building. So no street access.

This meant any plans for an ‘up and over’ approach to getting the soil up top weren’t going to be doable, at least on our budget. No cranes, no haylifts.

The one thing we did have in the building was a disabled access lift. It wasn’t a big one, not wide enough for a standard pallet, but it worked.

So the plan was: buckets. And people. As many of both as we could manage, at short notice.

The other complicating factor was that the building, 107 Projects, is a multi-use space. Which meant the only possible place we could have the trucks deliver the soil to had to magically turn into a gallery space by midday. Sans soil, obviously.

So this was going to be a morning thing.

The call went out, and people responded. We hoped we had enough buckets. And then, bright and early on Saturday morning, the 3 trucks arrived and dumped their combined load of 12 cubic meters of soil.

And from that point, we were off and shovelling.

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It was amazing and it was inspiring and it was humbling. So many fine folks all in the one spot, with a simple, common purpose.

To get the Soil Up Top.

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And before we knew it, only 90 minutes later, we’d run out of soil to shift…

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Wow. How good is that.

And now, for clean up time.

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But wait.

While we’re here, and there’s all these extra people about… let’s get our beautiful stainless steel water tanks upstairs, shall we?

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With tanks in place on their beautiful hardwood stands, and all the soil where it should be, we were done and dusted by 11am.

We sat in the shade, ate some super yummy sandwiches from the 107 Projects cafe downstairs, drank an enormous amount of water, and considered the nature of community enterprise and effort.

As Adam said, “my arms feel like I’ve just rowed across the Pacific”.

But you know what? All up, most of us weren’t that sore from the morning’s action. Exhausted and elated, yes.

Extremely relived that we got it done in time with no major or minor disasters, also yes.

But sore? Not so much. I guess many hands (and that elevator) really do make light work.

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A big gigantical THANK YOU to all the beautiful humans who came along and helped get the Soil Up Top. We think you’re ace.

From here, it’s all about planting veg, constructing aquaponics, vertical gardens, worm farms and warré beehives. And then growing good food, and free seedlings, for the community.

Watch us grow.

Hey! Want to help us off-set a bit of the slightly hair-raising costs of making this community space? 

We’re aiming to crowdfund 25% of the total costs of making this garden with the Help Create the 107 Rooftop Garden Pozible Campaign – we’re halfway to our target and we’d love your help.

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Supporters of this darn fine garden project include, but are not limited to:

– Select Water Tanks, makers of darn fine, healthy water tanks (this is the mob we bought our Milkwood Farm Tanks from, too).

Atlantis: makers of the Flo-cell (essential drainage for rooftop garden beds), Geotex (geotextile fabric to ensure no dirt escapes + clogs up the drains of the building) and Grow-Wall (vertical gardens) that we’re using in this garden build.

Thanks also to Gordon from Free Range Gardens, Jennie + Chris from Fresh Landscape Design, Grant + Byron from Urban Growers, 107 Projects, Campbell from Timber Grain Projects, Adam Snow, Costa Georgiadis, Milkwooders Trev, Heather and Adam and all the rest of the fabulous folk who have helped get this garden this far. We owe you all a rooftop-grown tomato.

Also a particular huzzah to mr Nick who, following a week of full-on logistical lead up, shovelled soil like a demon till 8.45am and then proceeded to scoot off and teach mushroom cultivation for a full two days, starting at 9am. This guy. He’s got stamina, I tells ya.

See the comments

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16 responses to “Getting that Soil Up Top

  1. Fabulous work! 90 minutes, wow-wee you guys are amazing. Wish i was there to join the fun. Gald it’s all coming together

    1. we actually looked into a vacuum solution but were told that given the wet-ness of the soil it was unlikely to work. And ‘unlikely to work’ was not something i wanted associated with this time critical event! 🙂

  2. How fantastic ! I’m looking to get some soil & want good quality chemical free. Yours looks fabulous ! Where did you get it from ?

  3. Hi Kirsten,
    Great to know you got it all up top, and the photos are great!!!

    Will there be any personal plots within the rooftop garden, or is it all just for the community?

    So glad to hear that you had so many helpers willing to get their hands dirty, I’m also running a campaign getting people to connect to their community gardens, so if you have a Facebook, WordPress or Twitter please add the campaign and I would love to follow your personal blog etc. back if you have any?

    These are the links:

    Thanks 🙂

  4. Looks fantastic well done! I’m intrigued by the willow plantings, are they in buckets without drain holes inside boxes of ply how does that work, have you done it before and how long can they grow in that? Do their roots grow into the box? do they get top heavy?

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