Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wicking beds.

Father in-law delivered some apple crates on Friday (thanks Vern!). Got 2 out of the three set-up as wicking beds this weekend. WIll do the third one sometime during the week if I can get home early from work. Basically, the crates are lined with builders plastic, drainage slots are cut out/sliced 1/2 up the crate and then the crate is filled with straw on the bottom half, then garden soil on top. The straw does compact down about 1/2. When it rains, the soil will suck up all the moisture, which will sink to the bottom of the crate. This then wicks up through capilary action, the root zones of the plants. If there is a massive downpour, the water will flow out of the drainage slots in the plastic lining. Wicking beds are reported to be 30-50% more water efficient than traditional dirt gardening. With summer coming up, it will be interesting to see how well it works. I moved our strawberries up to one of the crates and these should fruit and spread over the next season. Being so high up, I am hoping that bugs, snails and slugs don't get to them. It will also be interesting to see which strawberry patch produces more, the wicking bed or the AP one. In anycase, the damn pine tree that was sucking all the goodness and water out of the dirt vegie patch can now suck another patch of earth dry the bloody thing!
Have included a pic of a wicking bed we made about 1month ago. Filled with carrots!


  1. Would love to but it's the nieghbours pine tree (actual to of the damn things). They just moved in so don't want to get on their bad side! Thw wicking beds are meant to be great for water saving and as we get pretty hot summers, they should be good for vegie growing on water restrictions. We'll see anyway!

  2. Hi Quachy,

    have been busy researching the wicking beds (via Scarecrow's blog and wateright site etc) for same reason as you, bloody prunus trees next door coming up in the lawn as well as the vegie patch.

    I too have apple crates and about to set them up this w/end. Most of the stuff I read (prior to Scarecrow and you) suggest a gravel medium for the waterwell, then a porous barrier (oxymoron!), then soil. So interested reading about yours with straw at base. How are yours going - I know they're just new - and would you modify anything? I live in Melbourne.

    Also, how deep did you make waterwell and soil in your crates?