Monday, 8 August 2016

Book Review: Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan

I have seven raised beds in my garden that originally were made to be vegetable beds.  They are still vegetable beds, but they have also been used as the holding beds for bare root roses, shrubs and trees whilst waiting for the spot they will be planted in. They are also used for growing on biennial wallflowers and this year they have been used for growing sweetpeas in.  They are an extremely useful area of the garden.  This year, however, they are really showing signs of their age and they are in need of a rebuild.  So when I was asked if I would like to review this new book by Tara Nolan I thought the timing was perfect.
Tara opens the book by explaining that by using the word 'revolution' she is using the word in the context of 'innovation' and 'modernising'.  Whilst raised beds have been around for as long as people have had a bed to raise, Tara is wanting to expand our minds on the types and uses for raised beds there can be.  In the book there are examples of what I would call a 'standard' raised bed, then ones with seats, ones on legs, ones that are ponds.  Some have vegetables, others flowers and others are bog gardens.  Pretty much all types of planting and gardening are covered.  This makes it much more than your standard 'how to' book.

It is, though, in essence a 'how to' book and it fulfills its role very well.  The book starts by giving us descriptions of different types of raised beds and uses.  Tara also talks to us about soil and compost and about irrigation.  Also vital ingredients for successful growing.

There is a gallery of different types of raised beds to get our minds working and then there is the section of practical projects for us to undertake.  I like the project information very much.  It tells me clearly the tools and materials I will need so that I have a clear shopping list to work from.  There is nothing worse than starting to make something and finding out two thirds of the way through you need a size 10 doo-hicky rather than the size 9.5 that you already have.

So I have no excuse not to get on and sort out my raised beds.  I also now know the materials that I need to get them fixed and I feel motivated to actually do it.  Furthermore, there might be a sandwich board trellis development next year for my sweetpeas - I think I have definitely been inspired by this book.

Raised Bed Revolution by Tara Nolan is published by Cool Springs Press

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