From fences to raised beds

Dave’s Rig that enabled us to make raised beds quickly and precisely, in this shot he is explaining to two team members how to use it.

Much earlier in the year word got out that contractors were removing and replacing fencing on the entire Cawdor Housing estate close to our Willow Hey community food growing site. Chris Wood made a few quick phone calls and before we knew we knew it we had large flat bed vans dropping off the old fencing at the site, and it is here where this story begins. Savage cuts to all sectors relating to social provision means that money is really tight across the board so it was a no brainer for us, we had access to tons of perfectly usable good quality fencing timber free of charge which we could turn into raised beds. This timber also came at the right time as we had cleared ground on our site ready for our raised beds to go in. Landrover Dave our highly skilled wood technician made a rig from some of the fencing timber that enabled us to churn out raised beds at speed with one or two cordless drills and hand tools. Within a week or so Dave and other team members had managed to cover one side of the site with raised beds. By the time we had made enough beds with the timber for the site we were approached to help repair a young couples fence in Farnworth and build some raised beds for their young children to grow vegetables in. once again we used the fencing wood to make the children’s raised bed and to repair the fence.

Chris Wood and Scotty unloading and sorting the fencing timber after a two ton load was dropped off outside our site.

After this piece of work was finished Dave then made a further half dozen raised beds for our Southfields site, then there was a lull in the raised bed making for a week or two until our ‘Get Growing Breightmet’ project began, Dave then made twenty different sized raised beds for this project, shortly after the project kicked in we began work on the Breightmet Community Food Hub site, and yes you guessed it we are covering this in raised beds as I type this post.

raised beds filled and planted with a variety of of vegetables and legumes.

raised beds filled and planted with a variety of of vegetables and legumes.

Dave estimated that he has made around 130 raised beds this year and we have also used up four large vanloads of timber that probably weighed around ten tons, this timber doubtlessly would have ended up in Landfill. Myself and Dave also roughly calculated that by using this timber we have probably saved around three thousand pounds in cash money terms. There is also the added bonus of knowing that these raised beds that we made from recycled fencing timber  will have helped to add around a ton of food to our local food supplies.

So a big thank you for Dave for all of his skills and ingenuity and the running of the pop up raised bed production line. Hopefully our next move will be to hook up with Bolton at Homes tech services with a view to reusing materials that are left over from domestic repairs, for us this makes perfect sense, Bolton at Home manage around thirty thousand properties in Bolton, just imagine the amount of usable resources we could have access to, to build our local community food growing Hubs. And With plans to experiment in hydroponics and vertical growing systems based on some experiments I did a few years ago, we can also make use of plumbing materials that might have other wise have ended up in landfill.



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