What is a Wicking Bed?
A wicking vegetable garden bed system is an easy to build vegetable growing system developed in Australia by Colin Austin who looked at solutions to growing food systems in desert communities. The fact that it works so well for the lazy gardener is a bonus! Wicking Beds are essentially an enclosed water reservoir that allows the vegetables to be watered from below the plant’s root zone. Its an ideal way to grow root crops.
Normally the wicking bed system is powered by rainwater. But adding nutrient rich fish water from your aquaponics system will turbo charge your wicking bed even more. The fish water is fed once a week in summer through a slotted pipe that allows the water to flow down and slowly “wick” it’s way up through capillary action and feed the plant roots from the bottom up. It’s an ideal solution if you live in a hot dry environment like we do – with lots of sandy soil where nutrients are easily leeched away. Its also a good way to grow root crops like potatoes and carrots in a more conventional system rather than aquaponics which suit above ground growing plants like lettuce and tomatoes. The really good thing is that wicking beds only need watering once a week in high summer and once a month in winter. Just look down the filler pipe. If you can see some water it is fine. No water visible, then you need to add some in the next little while.
Use can use your own blend of composted material to fill your Wicking Bed. Make sure the material is able to "wick" the moisture up from below. The ideal depth for the grow bed is close to 300mm or 1 foot. You can also elect to use the very excellent BIOGANIC EARTH. Read about it here.