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Wicking beds just to clean up a few myths

Discussion in 'Gardening Discussion - Other gardening systems.' started by fishfood, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    Thanks duff and yabbies i know what works for me so now to ease confusion i will just call them garden beds and forget i even started the whole thing
    Cheers
     
  2. Gratilla

    Gratilla Member

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    I read what was written, (eg "dirt bed", "no reservoir", "watered from the top"), nothing more.

    I've already covered what wicking is and isn't; it's hardly rocket science.

    No. Where do you get this? Why would I care what a WB being rained on is called? Just as I wouldn't particularly care what a Bugatti drawn by a donkey is called. I'll leave that to the nit-pickers, the hair-splitters and the purists.
     
    toffee likes this.
  3. fishfood

    fishfood Active Member

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    All i can say is gees
     
  4. PhxLiz

    PhxLiz New Member

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    Country:
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    City:
    Phoenix
    So it's now years later and I'm wondering, how everyone's wicking beds are doing? What are the kinds of maintenance issues you've found over the years, how to keep plants happy, etc. I just build my first larger scale wicking bed and, following Colin Austin's advice, filled it's reservoir not with soil but with organic material (weeds, banana tree clippings, etc). We installed an adjustable pipe to set the water height from empty to swamp conditions and it's surviving it's first summer here in Phoenix AZ. I found that the inlet pipes (yes I put in inlet pipes cause I like to see what's going on in there) and drain pipe really put out a nasty rank compost-gone-bad smell for the first couple months, but settled down after that. I stuffed a bunch of plastic bags wadded up into all the pipes to keep the smell down as the bed is located right by my front door. They also kept mosquitos out. It is remarkably water efficient, I love that. I don't think I put enough fertilizer materials - like bone meal, compost, etc - for the plants to be immediately happy, but 3 months into it, I think things are starting to hit their stride. I filled it almost as a lasagna garden bed, local soil layered between leaves, compost, straw, etc. I expect them to take off as the temperatures drop for fall plantings and the soil microbes have broken down the organic materials more. How do you keep the fertility of the bed high? Are you just topping off with compost periodically, are you using fertilizers or is the fish water from your AP systems enough to keep the fertility up? So many questions!! :) A warm thank you, fishfood, for starting this thread sent from the Sonoran Desert!
     

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    toffee likes this.
  5. fishstick

    fishstick New Member

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    Jislizard said that they were going to remove the gravel and create a void for more water storage. Wouldn't that stop the capillary action once the water level lost contact with soil level. Asking cause thinking about myself
     
  6. Murray

    Murray Site Admin Staff Member

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    Keep it simple and it works very well.
     
  7. ClearWater

    ClearWater New Member

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    I think one of the other benefits to wicking water from under the bed as opposed to top water is. It encourages vertical root growth so increasing the pool of nutrients available to the plant and therefore a decrease in potential shortfalls like nutrient deficiencies. It may also make the plant more drought resistant against heat spells during summer and frost damage during winter as the soil will retain its own micro environment.
     

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