Water-saving Wicking Bed

wicking bed completed and planted

Wicking beds are raised garden beds with a water reservoir at the base made from pond liner filled with rocks and gravel. Moisture wicks up through the soil to feed the plant roots, thus little is lost to evaporation and plants are encouraged to send their roots down deep to tap into the water supply. The water reservoir needs to be topped up around once a week, depending on the weather, saving time otherwise spent in more regular watering of a standard garden. Note: Young seedlings will require regular watering for the first week or so after planting while their roots grow down to tap into the deeper soil moisture.

Section drawing of the wicking bed by Sam Newton
Section drawing of the wicking bed by Sam Newton

Adjustments were made to the original design above: the woodchip layer was reduced to a less than 10 cm allowing for greater soil depth. TFor the soil mix we combined garden soil, several types of compost, sand, quarry rock dust and crushed biochar.  Sam Newtown designed and constructed the wicking bed at Djanbung Gardens as part of his Certificate IV in Permaculture course. The video below shows the full processes from start to finish.


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