Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Wicking Beds

This photo shows 2 lots of zucchini this morning at 10.30.
The poor old ones on the left are out in the main garden...under 50% shade...in a 'normal' bed. The ones on the right are in a wicking bed under the Almond tree.

Both lots received water on Sat (our watering day). The ones on the left have already needed to have their container (for watering) turned on today (Tuesday)!

Both lots of plants are the same age...although not the same type I will admit.

It's on these hot days (36C+) and still no rain in sight that I'm glad I've experimented with these wicking beds.

Basically the beds are built over a plastic membrane layer at the base, this is raised to form a small pool of underground water, fed by a length of drainage hose, that wicks upwards to where the plant roots can use it.
As the pool dries out oxygen is drawn into the soil and when they are watered again the oxygen is forced out. Make no sense at all??
For full descriptions and photos see my blog entries here:

I'm about to re-build most of these beds to make them deeper for Autumn crops but even these shallow ones are holding water well.
I'm also going to try a box version for growing salad greens as this heat just saps all moisture from the containers.


Kate said...

To me this is so sensible and I have read all your previous posts on your own blog about it previously.I think I will do it next summer because I don't think I have the space to devote to it now I have so much in the ground already and I am hopeful that autumn will be cooler and wetter here than at your place.Keep us posted if you do a container version as that could be the way to go for the rest of this summer.

Maggie said...

Our zucchinis except, the ones that are watered with the soaker hose on Saturday look just as wilted on a hot day. We bucket water during the week and have also had more rain than you.

Kate said...

ps I line a deep, foam box with newspaper. Then I mix a handful of coir into a mixture of compost and potting mix. This holds the moisture better than anything else I have tried - it is really quite amazing.I use a deep foam box because then I can put a piece of glass over and keep it in the shade.Of course it needs a light coloured mulch too - something fine for seeds or small seedlings etc.I have learned one important thing here - humidity is everything.Plants (but not animals like me) can stand a high heat if its humid enough - just look at the lush growth in the tropics.