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Garden Tools Workshop

3 March @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Garden Insights + Share Table

Garden Tools Workshop

Sunday 3 March 2024

2.00 pm – 4.30 pm
Debbie & Brodie’s Garden – Madingley Homestead, 88 Richards Road, Postmans Ridge, Q 4352


This event is organised by Permaculture Toowoomba Inc.

Bookings are Essential

Bookings are essential so that we have contact details and know how many will be attending. BOOK HERE


What We’ll Do

We’ll start at 2.00 pm with a welcome and introduction. This practical Garden Tools Workshop will include several demonstrations at Madingley Homestead, the garden of Debbie and Brodie Bassingthwaighte.  We’ll learn about the benefits of microbial rock minerals in our gardens, how to sharpen secateurs and hand tools, and how to find contour lines using simple home-made tools.

What We’ll See and Learn

  1. Earthlife Rock Minerals for Home Gardeners – by Colin Purnell, Earthlife
  2. Tool Sharpening for Garden and House – by Peter Castles
  3. Homemade Tools to find Contours and Slope – by Debbie & Brodie Bassingthwaighte
  4. Explore the Garden – an opportunity to wander around the kitchen garden, holistic orchard, and wildlife habitat areas.


Workshop details

1. Earthlife Rock Minerals for Home Gardeners – presentation and display by Colin Purnell, Earthlife

Colin Purnell, manager of Earthlife, will tell us about the many benefits of using microbial rock minerals to build a healthy soil environment by addressing:

  • The beneficial soil micro-flora
  • Broad spectrum mineral depletion in our soils
  • Improving the structure of all soil types
  • Improving moisture holding capacity
  • Providing the basics to create nutrient cycling systems
  • Environmental issues and weather extremes.

Earthlife is an Australian owned company based in Toowoomba, manufacture a range of microbial rock mineral based soil conditioners and fertilisers for gardening, horticulture and agriculture.  Their comprehensive range of products significantly improve soil structure and water retention by increasing the mineral and microbial balance in soils. Earthlife blends minerals, humates and biology into a comprehensive range of easy-to-use products that Colin will display.

Colin will also bring products for sale at a special reduced price for attendees.


Garden Care Booklet

Earthlife Products


2. Tool Sharpening for Garden and House – workshop demonstration by Peter Castles

This will be a small taster course on the care and maintenance of gardening tools and kitchen knives, with an emphasis on Secateurs and Loppers.  You will learn some simple tips on sharpening them and keeping them free from corrosion. Also we will touch on kitchen knives and how you can improve your edges with various techniques.

A few words from Peter:

As a boy on the farm I wore a sheath knife. I sharpened it, and learnt from there. I remember at 14 sharpening the baler twine cutting blades on our B47 hay baler. Poor old dad had no idea!  As a Saddlemaker I have a myriad of tools, all worked up in different ways to suit the tool.  From there to an Aide in Secondary schools Manual Arts Depts. sharpening for a full 40 hours straight, 4 times a year. I cannot bear to use blunt tools, whether a chisel or right through to a chainsaw. So folks, here’s hoping I can help you to improve your sharpening skills at home, and to be there in an advisory role over time.

Sharper times are ahead!




3. Homemade Tools to find Contours and Slope – workshop demonstration by Debbie & Brodie Bassingthwaighte

Did you know there are some simple tools you can make to help you measure slope and understand the shape of your land?  Even in a small suburban garden this will allow you to mark contour lines and assist with the placement of water-harvesting features such as diversion drains, swales, berms, and overflows.

In this practical session, Debbie and Brodie will show you their simple homemade:

  • A-Frame Level
  • Bunyip Water Level

You will learn:

  • How to make and calibrate these levels and what you’ll need to get started
  • How to use these levels (with hands-on practice in the garden)
A-Frame Level and Bunyip Water Level



4. Explore the Garden

There will be time for you to wander around the gardens and see the:

  • 5-acre (2 hectare) Land for Wildlife property bisected by seasonal Rocky Creek
  • challenging growing conditions (low rainfall, cold overnight winter temperatures, high daytime summer temperatures)
  • kitchen garden, holistic fruit orchard, Asian-inspired food garden, aromatic apothecary garden, native bushfood garden
  • integrated poultry systems (chickens, geese, Muscovy, quail, guinea fowl)
  • wildlife habitat garden (with nest boxes, frog hotel, lizard lounge, native bee hives)
  • nursery and propagation area
  • riparian wildlife corridor along the creek (with evidence of significant damage from flooding in February 2022)



Afternoon Tea (provided)

A light afternoon tea will be provided (including Gluten Free and Vegan options).

What to Bring

  • Water Bottle
  • Sun protection
  • Clothes and footwear suitable for outdoor weather conditions
  • Donations of surplus produce for the Share Table

Share Table

Do you have surplus?

We encourage you to bring your surplus produce, plants, seeds, books, craft supplies, and resources to share with others at our events.

Some ideas of what you could bring include – fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, honey, milk, jams, pickles, preserves, jars, ferments, starters, SCOBYs, seeds, plants, seedlings, cuttings, tubers, pots, tools, gardening magazines, permaculture books, recipes, patterns, manure, coffee grounds, compost additives, worms, mealworms, wool, fabric, craft supplies, soap, natural cleaning products, plastic alternatives, produce bags – the list is extensive.

Please bring whatever you can and then take home whatever you need within our culture of generosity and free sharing


The garden is relatively flat and mostly suitable for wheelchairs, walking frames and strollers if needed.  The toilet has a grab rail for support, but is not large enough for wheelchair access.

Children are always welcome with close adult supervision for their safety.



Off street parking is available.  Please drive carefully off the road towards the house and park nose-in along the right of the driveway.



If driving from Toowoomba, head east down the range and through Withcott.  Turn left into Connoles Road (the first road after the Murphys Creek turnoff – you’ll see Dependable Sheds on the right of the highway).  Then turn immediately right into Richards Road.  88 is the last property at the end of Richards Road (only 880m off the highway).  The road is sealed and suitable for all vehicle access.



  • Financial Members of Permaculture Toowoomba Inc. – Free
  • First-time Visitors to a Permaculture Toowoomba Inc. Event – Free
  • Non-Members – $10 per person
  • Children attending with an Adult – Free (but please book so we know the total numbers)


Annual Membership of Permaculture Toowoomba Inc. is due by 31 December each year. It’s only $40 per person or $30 for a second or subsequent adult living in the same home.

If you join now, membership is valid for until the end of 2024.

Members can attend all events and workshops during the year at no cost. You can pay your membership at checkout when you book to attend this event.

Please complete a Membership form which will be available at the event for anyone wishing to join, or available here for download at http://www.permaculturetoowoomba.com.au/membership/


3 March
2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Categories:


Permaculture Toowoomba Inc.


88 Richards Road
Postmans Ridge, Queensland 4352 Australia
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