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Wicking Beds

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussion - Other gardening systems.' started by Julia, Sep 3, 2009.

  1. Julia

    Julia New Member

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    Murray, there are some wicking bed comments in other threads, would it be possible to transfer them here, especially the diagram posted by Castaway?

    Fishfood, I'm interested in constructing a wicking bed - do you mind describing the dimensions of your beds and what materials you used? How high is the wet area compared to the dry area? Is there sand in the wet zone? Would it be possible to make a bed from an old spa bath, with a hole drilled part of the way up for an overflow?
     
  2. Castaway

    Castaway Senior Member

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    There's a guy I know near your home Julia at Black Mountain Road Cooroy that has a whole heap of old recycled refrigerators with their doors removed that he grows vegetables in (doorway facing up to the sky), He says you will need to drill a hole in the side (not the bottom) of the fridge for excess water to drain out. He collects the fridges from the dump for free. Similar concept to Wicking Beds and very cheap too. You could bury the fridge in the dirt if you want to hide it. He had a train line of about 20 fridges growing huge bunches of Basil when I saw it last. Very impressive. He uses hardly any water as they are only on tank water. Some people dont like this idea as they say there are CFCs and other nasties that can be released. His fridges dont look that old and are a pretty good alternative to landfill. He also says the small native animals cant climb up the smooth sides of the fridge and eat his harvest. Would fridges make good grow beds for aquaponics? There's an idea... Not very aesthetic looking though... :roll:
     
  3. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Oops the photos are the wrong way
    Ok here it is the first was a dirt garden 60 cm high its lined with plastic and the wet area is 20 cm in the bottom theres scoria and then weed mat then potting mix the other coco fiber ones is the same scoria bottom and a stand pipe with a weep hole 20 cm up heres the photos
     

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  4. Julia

    Julia New Member

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    Fishfood,

    Many thanks for posting the pics and description. . . very nicely constructed!
    Just a few more questions: Did you say that dirt, potting mix and the coco fiber all performed about the same? Do worms thrive in this type of garden? Do you have to feed them? Are there holes all along the pipe along the base? What size are they? What are the white containers in the first photos? How often do you top up the water in the base in the summer?

    Castaway,

    Great idea, using old fridges, but not exactly easy on the eye. All the same, it might be a good idea to have a talk with the fellow at the tip and see what sorts of potential grow beds do come in and put in a standing order.
     
  5. dufflight

    dufflight Member

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    I like how a wicking bed can be off the ground. And they do look easier to cover also.
     
  6. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    [qquote="Julia"]Fishfood,

    Many thanks for posting the pics and description. . . very nicely constructed!
    Just a few more questions: Did you say that dirt, potting mix and the coco fiber all performed about the same? Do worms thrive in this type of garden? Do you have to feed them? Are there holes all along the pipe along the base? What size are they? What are the white containers in the first photos? How often do you top up the water in the base in the summer?

    Julia i would say dirt potting mix is best the coco beds are only on there first crop so far
    worms love this kind of environment
    worms live of the other additives you put in [beauty of wicking beds they stand alone you can put anything in blood and bone chook and sheep manure seasol even thrive and it doesn’t hurt the fish]

    Holes yes there are hundreds of holes along the bottom 6 mm
    The white containers were part of an experiment that failed [i doubt if you could buy them ]
    as for watering how long is a piece of string one bed hasn’t been watered in over 2 months [the dirt one ] depends what is growing and how hot the days are compared to a dirt garden where you water every day probably once a week
     

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  7. Julia

    Julia New Member

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    Thanks, Fishfood - will see what's available at the tip shop and give it a try. The soil here is clayey/shale and difficult to grow root crops in, so this is a great solution . . .
     
  8. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    I have just been given another 1 of those tank liners seeing the other beds have been so successful i will build another and put it between the 4 dirt gardens like a letter H
    This one i am not shore of what i will fill it with and also i was thinking of having a variable height water table
    And i think i will leave it full 1 metre high [but only put the soil mix to 300 mm high] then you could put glass ect over to start plants
     
  9. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    And heres the photos
     

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  10. RupertofOZ

    RupertofOZ New Member

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    "Shifting the dirt beds 20mm" ... you get bored today F&F... :mrgreen:
     
  11. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Yep :shock:
     
  12. Tsaphah

    Tsaphah Member

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    You might want to sink it, maybe 300mm into the ground if possible. I dont want to see a photo of your feet sticking out the top after you try planting something ;)
     
  13. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Heres an up date
    1st photo ap last 2 wicking beds
     

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  14. Castaway

    Castaway Senior Member

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    Do you raise all your own seedlings from seed?
     
  15. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Yep my word all you see growing were out of date seed packets that were thrown out at the tip even the onions were just a packet scattered over the bed and racked in spuds were some body chucked out a bag that had legs on them about 1 in long
     
  16. Tsaphah

    Tsaphah Member

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    Thought I'd post a pic of mine. It has been so hot here already and the wind burns the leaves, and the dog has dug up and eaten all my onions, hence the barrier net around it! Needed to replant the basil on Monday after she got in there :x
    Pulled the squash out and onto the ground as its growing like its on steroids.
     

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  17. stucco

    stucco New Member

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    Hello all, I recently read an article on ferrocement. I’ve been a plasterer for 20+ years, and never considered building with this technique. The wife wanted a new wicking bed, and I wanted to give ferrocement a go. Here is a couple pics of the result.
     

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  18. dufflight

    dufflight Member

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    Looks good. Do you have a close up shot of the mesh and what mix did you use.
     
  19. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Excellent work....looks great...
     
  20. stucco

    stucco New Member

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    Thanks guys, the mesh in called high rib lath. It is used for exterior stucco ceilings. The mix is just 3 parts sand to 1 part Portland cement.
     

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