In Praise of Raised Garden Beds!

March 21, 2016

Raised Garden Beds offer a great advantage for gardens and gardeners. They control soils and water, and they reduce invasive weeds. They make it easier to mulch, to fertilise and to harvest. They are easy on the knees, the back and the shoulders, and they can be easy on the pocket.

Commercial varieties can be limited in size, and very expensive, but by recycling waste materials, you can create a raised garden bed that is stylish and effective and very, very cheap.

On Sunday, April 10, the Gwydir Learning Region will be hosting a workshop to show  you how to construct raised garden beds using corrugated iron.

Following the severe hailstorm of several years ago, many houses in Bingara had their damaged roofing iron removed. Some of it was re-used, but much of it still lies forlornly in backyards waiting to be used again.

The designing of raised garden beds from old roofing iron is a skill that local identity Paul Moulton has toyed with for several years. Paul and wife Ros, have constructed beds, herb spirals and compost bins by shaping, crimping and joining the iron, then filling them with composts or lawn clippings to produce that beautiful and nutritious humus in which to grow food plants and flowers.

Their friend and neighbour, Rick Hutton has been keen to see raised garden beds as a part of the Kitchen Garden at The Living Classroom (TLC). Together, Paul and Rick have designed what is called a “raised mandala garden bed”.

The mandala system is an Asian/African concept, designed to get the maximum garden space from a limited area. It assumes that the gardener must have maximum access to the soil but not tread or roll a barrow on it. The mandala is a key-hole system that produces an extended edge effect.

Paul has devised a system to cut, bend and crimp the iron, and Rick has designed the pattern to be shaped. The result is a Raised Mandala Garden of Corrugated Iron.

Paul and Rick will demonstrate their system on April 10, at TLC, and invite other keen gardeners to join in. The day will include some theory with a Permaculture approach, followed by some examples of working with the iron and finally the opportunity to construct a raised mandala garden for use at The Living Classroom, and the know-how for you to do it at home.

There is a $40 charge per person to cover the costs involved, and lunch, morning/afternoon tea  and notes, are all provided. Bookings can be made through the Bingara Visitor Information Centre, on 6724 0066, and for more information, contact Rick Hutton on 0438 355179.

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In praise of Raised Garden Beds