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Wicking beds

What is a wicking bed?

The completed wicking bedWicking 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


  1. Posted 20th May, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Hi I had a lot of fun delivering that workshop at Shoestring Gardening at Ridge Drive Wyndham. We had lots of people there as well as some representatives from City West Water. If anyone wants more info on these wicking beds by all means contact me at send me an email I would be happy to help.

    • Posted 21st May, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink
      Healthy Urban Habitat Team
      Healthy Urban Habitat Team says:

      Hi Craig
      City West Water was happy to have had the opportunity to attend your informative workshop and be able to contribute to the delivery of the gardening workshop through a Community Support Grant provided to Shoestring Gardening. The day was a great success and enabled us to share the wicking bed process with other City West Water customers through our Healthy Urban Habitat website.

  2. Posted 23rd May, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Permalink
    bronwyn says:

    Hi Bronwyn here from Shoestring Gardening
    It was a great workshop thanks Craig and we thank City West Water for the support and for capturing our day to share with others.
    Just to update you all, we have planted the wicking bed out with lemon grass, coriander, chives, garlic, Asian greens and named it our Wok Box
    If you would like to see it call in on a Wednesday arvo at the Eco Living Centre 28 Ridge drive Wyndham Vale
    Come and check out the rest of our Learner Garden you may like to bring something to feed our chooks
    for further information or like us on Facebook
    Shoestring Gardening Inc

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