Wicking beds are a fantastic solution to provide a healthy soil for growing annual vegetables or plants that become stressed in Victoria’s hot summers. They reduce evaporation by watering from beneath, and encourage roots to head deeper. A criticism is however that they entirely separate the soil within the bed from the surrounding environment. Under normal garden conditions plants are able to draw nutrients and minerals from the wider soil environment, however the conventional wicking bed restricts this.

Our revised version below provides a subterranean pool of water for plants to draw water from through stressful weather events, while retaining the connection with the soil base. It enables the parts of a conventional raised garden bed that dry out first (the perimeter – which is exposed to moisture loss through the sides as well as the top), to have best access to the water supply. It also raises the possibility of planting deeper rooted plants and shrubs through the centre of the bed, which will further aid in the variety of plants that can be planted here, and subsequently provide extra layers of protection for vulnerable annual vegetables. 

#waterwise #catchandstoreenergy #healthysoil #healthyplants #permaculture #design #wateringsystem

Modified Wicking Bed

1. Dig/create a perimeter trench approx 400mm deep.

2. Stretch and fix impervious trench liner around perimeter of bed.

3. Ensure liner stretches across the full width of the trench and returns approx 200mm vertically to retain volume of water.

4. Fill trench with sandy soil to enable easy wicking of the water into the main body of soil.