A wicking bed is an innovative garden bed that is self-watering. This is more of an expanded version of self-watering pots but with more innovation. There are pros and cons to planting in a wicking bed. You can consider both sides to decide whether this is an option for your garden.
You can either build or purchase wicking garden beds. The latter option is a good idea for people who don’t have much time to build or don’t have experience in constructing garden beds. You have to understand your needs as a gardener to consider whether a wicking garden bed is right for you. There is a water reservoir in a wicking bed that supplies the plants with water. And the size of the reservoir will determine how long it can keep the plants alive. If you are limited in where you can plant, using a wicking bed will solve your problem. You have more flexibility in choosing an area in your home to plant. For example, you can have this on your deck or patio if you don’t have much of a backyard. If you have a lot of trees that have invasive roots that take up most of the moisture from the soil, this is a great way of giving other plants a chance to thrive.
There are some limitations when it comes to wicking beds as well. The soil will be moist continuously and this may not be the right condition for some plants. So there may be plants that will not thrive in this environment. You have to understand where a wicking garden bed will be best used. They are great for growing annual vegetables as they will not be affected by long term changes in the soil. They also need a lot of nutrients within a short time and a wicking bed will be able to allow this. As the wicking bed will retain fertiliser well, you will not need to use a lot of fertiliser for the vegetables. You can also grow herbs for the garden to freshen up your meals. There are different sizes of wicking beds. You can choose the size depending on the space you have at home and what you plan to plant. Some of the materials used for DIY wicking beds are galvanised steel, plastic bulk containers and railway sleepers. The outer shell of the wicking bed is pre-constructed out of wood, plastic, steel etc. And the interior is lined with a pond liner or waterproof fabric so that it can hold a large capacity of water. There is an overflow pipe at the side of the bed. There will be coarse scoria up to the height of the overflow pipe and this act as structural support to hold the soil on top. There is an inlet pipe to fill the reservoir with water as well. A geotextile is laid on top of the scoria to prevent soil runoff. The pond liner goes to the edge of the wicking bed. Soil should be at a lower level so that the pond liner is above it.