We install more wicking than non-wicking VEG Beds these days.
What the heck is a wicking bed?
Wicking is an innovative veggie bed irrigation solution. First, consider the conventional solution - watering from above with a hose, watering can or dripline irrigation system. While all these options have their place, they have downsides too. In a raised bed there are two major downsides. One is that it is very likely that a good deal of the water applied, not to mention a good deal of the rain hitting the bed, soaks through and is lost into the soil below. The second downside is that no matter how organised you are, there will be times when the soil surrounding your veggie's roots is too dry. This stresses the plant and comprises growth and health.
A wicking bed eliminates both these downsides by creating a reservoir of water that sits underneath the soil your veggies grow in. The way we do it at VEG is to have a waterproof liner at the bottom of the bed, on top of which we put a layer of small stones. We then cover the stones with water, lay some landscaping fabric on top, and then put the soil on top of that. There is a special overflow pipe that prevents the water level from rising up into the soil (and drowning the plants).
What then happens is that when the soil moisture levels in the plant root zones drop, the water below the soil layer literally wicks up into the soil, thus maintaining optimal soil moisture levels at all times (so long as you remember to occasionally top up the reservoir). Read our comprehensive article about wicking beds here or visit our wicking-bed-specific sub-site www.wickingbeds.com.au
We first started experimenting with wicking beds about four years ago and once we got over our initial scepticism we were so impressed we have now installed hundreds of them and have developed our own special way of going about it.
They just work!
The reason we recommend and install so many wicking beds is that they work. In Melbourne's hot dry summers the veggie continue to thrive with a fraction of the water otherwise required. On the two occasions we have set up one or two of a larger number of VEG Beds as wicking, the customers have both in short order got us back to convert the rest. The difference in plant health and growth is just so stunning.
"I am so impressed with these wicking beds that I'd like to get the the other three converted" Rosalie, Thornbury
For a little more info about VEG wicking beds see this article which was a custom job a few years back but get's the key ideas across with photos of the process of setting wicking beds up.
Getting a VEG Wicking Bed
We can install any normal VEG Bed as a wicking bed, and we are also open to converting existing beds into wicking beds.