30 September 2011

Our Wicking Beds (its a long one!)

Last week while the weather was still sunny we finally decided to have a go at creating a wicking bed. Quite honestly if I didn't have Paul I would have no idea what a wicking bed even was, he has be thoroughly researching them over the past few months and finally convinced me when I bought a miniature version from Tupperware (yeah you know when you feel obliged to buy something) and started growing some flat leaf parsley on my window sill, where I have previously had a great deal of trouble killing poor plants by unknowingly over watering or completely forgetting about them and letting them dry out on the hot sill. So my flat leaf parsley has not only survived but truly thrives in the little Tupperware pot that has a wicking system. Basically how it works is that the water is in an container under the soil and is wicked up through the soil  to the plant which is then able to drink as much or as little as it needs! This saves lots of water ( it uses about a third of the water) which is so important for people who live in dry South Australia and who live on tank water, we cant afford to waste water on anything!!
So we began digging out our first bed.
 Wicking beds can be made in all sorts of ways - you can make above ground beds but this was a really cheap way of doing it.
 I helped with the digging of the first bed but Paul mostly did the second. A seriously good workout we dug down 30 cms of clay rocky soil!
 The beds were then lined with black plastic to hold the water then pipe was cut to fit and slots were cut in the pipes to let the water out.
 We then filled the bed with gravel all the way up to ground height. Also a good workout bringing gravel in a wheelbarrow down a steep hill.
 Both beds were filled with gravel and as you can see the pipe runs all the way down. You fill at the high end and as the water fills the beds it travels down to the second pipe hole where you can check that the water has made it into both beds.
 Then a weed mat was put on top of all this so that the top soil wouldn't seep down into the gravel
 All the soil that was dug out was then shovelled back on top of the weed mat and added some organic matter.
Once we were done I planted it out quite heavily and we filled it up with water. Since then it has been raining quite a bit and has been cold again. You can see my other veggie bed (a normal one) next to it we will see which does better- although my bed has already had a set back with something eating at some of the seedlings I planted- possibly rabbits maybe a bug still not sure yet ...do millipedes eat plants?

Next week it will be back to crafting and hopefully some scrapping!

1 comment:

Sami said...

I have copied your photos and instructions, I had never heard of this, but it´s an interesting concept, will have to try it in my Perth garden, as it gets very hot here too and we don´t get much rain (usually...I can´t really say that for the this month of September).