Tips for Making a Wicking Bed at Home

If you love gardening, there are so many different planting beds you can experiment with. The wicking bed is one such option that allows you to maximise water efficiency. It also comes with low maintenance so you will be able to enjoy gardening even if you have a busy schedule.

If you are wondering how to make a wicking garden bed, it has a water reservoir at the bottom of the planter which is separated from the soil on top by a waterproof barrier. You can grow any plant you want in the soil depending on the depth of soil used and the plants will be kept hydrated even when you don’t water them every day. This is because capillary action ensures that water in the reservoir is pulled up into the soil and absorbed by the plants. While a wicking planter box can be a DIY project, you can purchase commercially available wicking beds that come in plastic modular units. But choosing the right wicking bed is essential especially when you are growing edible gardens. Look for companies that use food-safe materials that have a high level of durability. They should be resistant to weathering as well. The common materials you will come across for wicking beds are polypropylene and high density polyethylene. There are also interlocking designs that will allow you to create a garden according to your requirements.

First you need to select the right spot in your backyard, lawn, balcony etc. to place the wicking bed.

Make sure that you consider the type of plants you are growing in it so that you can choose a place that will get sufficient sunlight. Some will prefer diffused sunlight, direct sunlight or grow in cooler areas. You have to level the ground so that it doesn’t get waterlogged. Make sure to remove any rocks, weeds etc. from the site as well. Then you can assemble the plastic units according to the dimensions of the bed you prefer. You can select the height required based on the plants you have in mind. A waterproof barrier is needed to prevent water from escaping and you can use a landscaping fabric for this. This fabric has to be big enough that it covers the interior of the bed, sides and overlaps the top edge.

You can add coarse sand or washed gravel to the bottom of the water reservoir.

Generally, about 10% of the plant bed has to be reserved for the depth of the water reservoir. This can go up to 15%. A perforated pipe can be used to distribute water through the soil uniformly. There are also PVC irrigation pipes that can be used in this way. It is important that you use a nutrient rich soil that is suited to the plants you are considering for the wicking bed. And there should be a gap between the soil level and the top edge of the wicking bed so that water doesn’t overflow when it rains.

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