Why You Need Wicking Beds In Your Garden

| March 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Wicking beds are a water saving eatable garden design and they are designed to be used as an efficient way to use water in your garden. The method that a wicking bed uses is to wick or draw water naturally as the soil becomes dryer, from the water reservoir.

A water molecule is like a magnet. One end is positively charged and the other is negatively charged. Drawing water from below. Acting on the capillary action of the plant roots and soil. Drawing or wicking the water upwards as needed.

Why you Need to Use Wicking Beds

The wicking bed was devised by the Australian engineer Colin Austin. The wicking system also captures carbon from the atmosphere. Then it integrates this into the soil structure.

Decomposition is caused by a combination of anaerobic bacterial and fungal breakdown as the organic material is subject to a wet and dry cycle. This naturally gives a lower rate of carbon back to the atmosphere.

There are different types of wicking beds. Open wicking beds can allow microbes and worms to enter the system. Closed wicking beds only use the soil inside the bed and are good for mainly shallow rooted vegetables. Above ground wicking beds are fantastic for utilising recycled containers. And the water capture wicking bed has plastic wings outside the bed angled in as well to capture any moisture in the air (dew etc) as well as rain.

All of them designed to be sustainable and water saving. They reduce weed infestations and fungal foliage as you are not watering from above. Essentially a giant self-watering pot in the middle of a garden.

How to Set up Wicking Beds

Setting up a wicking bed needs know how, strength and some equipment. Try to recycle as much as possible.

Items you will need to create a wicking bed are as follows.

Black plastic or pond liner, Gravel, Wire mesh/ shade cloth,Pvc pipes, Good quality compost mix (preferable your own if you are a composter). Side for the beds tin, wood whatever you can recycle or get cheaply and of course Plants.

Make sure your site in level for even water distribution and in full sunlight for vegetables. On soil dig a hole to the depth of 150mm. Line with plastic or the pond liner. Make sure there are no holes in the plastic. Put in an inch of gravel for the pvc pipe to sit on. Put sides around the area to the height of 600mm.  So it goes like this 300mm for reservoir/water zone and 300mm for growing/root zone.

Install a length of pvc pipe 50mm in diameter. Vertically attach a 90-degree elbow pvc that will sit on the gravel. Attach a 50mm piece of ag pipe that will run the length of the bed in the centre, cap the end.

Cover the bottom of the garden in gravel to a depth of 300mm. Put your overflow pipe at the top of this layer. Then put shade cloth over the external end.

Put doubled over shade cloth on top of the gravel. Water will need to draw/wick through this and it won’t let the compost soil fall through.

Fill the wicking bed with good compost soil with high organic content then mulch well. Using a hose fill the water reservoir until it comes out the overflow pipe. Once the soil is wet plant your favourite vegetables, seeds, seedlings.


Natural fertilizers are best Charlie carp, sea sol or good home-produced worm tea. If you have a worm farm these are better than non-organic.

Its best to always be as organic as possible, the Earth needs us humans to live as sustainable as possible.

Sit back and enjoy not watering as much and love what you grow, Enjoy.

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Category: garden beds

About the Author ()

Hi my name Tanya and I am a lover of growing all things in the garden. Its the one place I feel at peace and can rest my soul. From my earliest childhood memory I have always loved the garden. So I hope to be able to pass on some of the information, tips, tricks and of course my passion for Gardening. Love what you grow. Enjoy.

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