Building Wicking Beds
These are some photos from Wicking Beds made from a design at the Mornington Community Gardens, using old pallet crates. There are a couple of images missing for some steps in between, but we’ll add them as they are received, and you’ll get the whole picture.
Preparation of the ground is important with wicking beds; it needs lined (so water cant drain out) and level (so water doesn’t pool in a corner). As with everything, spend the time getting that right and you’ll prevent all the possible problems.
This design uses those pallet crates that you see at the orchards in Harcourt, or at the markets, cut once down the vertical middle, and once through the horizontal middle, giving four beds. A front is screwed on (image 1). If you look closely you may be able to see drainage spouts in the image also. These are placed in regular intervals around the bed, just above the level of your water membrane, to allow excess water to leave the bed, and to allow friendly worms in.
The bed is lined with plastic sheeting, and then again up around 10cm (image 2). Ag pipe is laid snaked from corner to corner, with more plastic sheeting underneath the vertical part of the pipes to ensure water doesnt drip under the plastic sheeting (image 3)
Scoria rock is laid at bottom of bed (image 4 and 5) to to do two things; keep pipe in place and retain water.
A few steps are missing at the moment, but in words…. lay carpet over the rock and pipe, this will be your water reservoir to draw from. Water in the carpet, and fill up your reservoir now. Next, put in your soil. Phillipa, who designed these beds, said the soil started visibly moistening almost immediately (image 6).
These beds can also be protected from frost or excess sun, but curling to conduit pipe over the bed, and overlaying plastic sheeting or shade cloth.
There are plenty of designs of Wicking Beds around the internet and in peoples heads, so if you have anything to share on the subject, please send a comment by clicking on the link below.