Tuesday, January 24, 2012

wicking beds

Hi there,
I am into wicking beds, I think they are great. They use much less water than other beds and pots. They do not have tree and other plant roots invading and stealing water and nutrients.
Here are some pictures of boxes and planters I have converted to wicking containers/beds.

drainage hole

see overflow comes out through the existing drain hole but the black plastic gives the pot a good sized reservoir.
I reckon big plastic pots could easily be converted to wicking beds simply by putting a plastic liner in the bottom which comes up the sides about a 1/3 of the hieght of the pot. Drill a hole about 2cm across with a hole saw at that height. Line it with some net or shade cloth over the hole to stop your soil coming out but allows excess water to come out. You can put a pipe into it for filling the reservoir in the bottom directly or not. Have a go!
I am happy to answer any questions about wicking beds.


  1. Hey Dayla...can you please tell me what you used for your drainage hole posted above. Thanks so much!


    1. Hi Erin,
      how lovely to have a comment on my blog! Don't get many.
      The drainage hole. It was a thing I got from Bunnings, I can't remember what it was called but the idea behind it is so that I could connect wicking beds together with black 1.9cm pipe. Connecting a line of wicking boxes and having the pipe link into a big bucket means you only have to fill the bucket with water and it will move through the boxes filling the reservoirs as it goes along, and then overflowing out of the end pipe.
      The piece in question came in two parts. One that you push through the hole that you have drilled into the box with your hole drill, can't remember the size but you will know it when you see the component in question. the second part pushes on the tube part and screws into place on the thread of the first part. This squeezes the box side and stops any leaks.
      I never got round to connecting a whole line of them as we moved house. But the idea is sound and the boxes working indiviually worked really well ( but as individuals you just need a hole).
      But they were very heavy to move.
      I used stones in the reservoir and covered them with old net curtain to keep the soil separate.
      One thing I have learned about wicking beds that was never talked about is you must have the drainage hole above the reservoir, it must be in the soil part.
      If it is off the reservoir then the water will never reach the soil and therefore cannot wick up to plant roots. I found this out at my expense.
      Otherwise they are fantastic. I have two 3/4 IBC containers in my polytunnel where I grow tomatoes and capsicums all year round.
      The ratio of reservoir V soil component is very important. If the soil component is too big the water can't wick all the way to the surface and plants dry out.
      hope this helps.