What is a wicking bed?
Wicking beds are a sustainable way of gardening and work in the same way that nature does, storing water below the surface of our gardens and acting as mini water reservoirs. They provide water and nutrients naturally to the habitat above within reach of thirsty tree roots. By installing a wicking bed you may be able to replicate nature in your own backyard and save water too.
Wicking beds require watering less often as the water remains in the reservoir below your plantings until it is required to add moisture to the soil. Water is naturally drawn upwards as it is needed when the soil starts to dry out, providing plants with regular access to a water source. As the water is far below the surface, there is no evaporation which usually occurs when watering your garden beds from the top.
How to create your own wicking bed
To create your own your own wicking bed, follow these easy steps
- Choose a site which will have at least six hours of sunlight
- Line a large wooden crate with a thick plastic lining, such as a pond liner or even a tarpaulin
- Spread a thin layer of 25mm volcanic rock such as scoria over the lining
- Coil agi pipe around the top of the scoria and leave one end at a top corner of the crate to be secured later
- Cover the agi pipe until you reach the half way mark of the crate
- Drill a hole in the side of the crate for the overflow pipe
- Place a piece of shadecloth over the pipe and scoria
- Add a 30 cm layer of a good quality vegetable blend soil
- Secure the agi pipe to the crate and cover to prevent mosquitos from entering
- Cut off excess lining. A timber ledge to finish off the wicking bed can be added at this point if you prefer
- Fill the agi pipe until water flows from the overflow outlet
- Plant your crop and top with mulch
- Water your plants in from the top for the first few days until the water is naturally drawn up from the reservoir below
- Add water through the agi pipe when the soil or plants start to show signs of drying out