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  • Wicking Beds

    Wicking beds are one of the most impressive ways to grow food in your own backyard.

    I've been using them, in various configurations, for years. Most recently, we built a kitchen garden....two waist heigh beds (of about 60 square feet)...in the front yard. Handy to the front door of the cottage, these beds provide herbs and picking greens for the kitchen.

    We built a further ten wicking beds (equal to around 320 square feet) in the back yard. These units will provide seasonal produce for the kitchen and fodder for our micro-livestock.

    Living on an island means that everything that is not already here has to be transported over water...and that includes garden soil. The soil on our block is acid sulphate clay - dreadful stuff. We produce our own soil but the quantities needed for these beds required that we buy it in. So-called garden soil provided by nurseries and hardware outlets is the end game of green waste recycling and leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to plant production....so we're upgrading it over time.

    We started the improvement process by growing a crop of wheat in the beds. We chopped that back in and we've just planted the backyard beds out to silver beet (Swiss chard). We produce our own worm castings and compost and these will form part of the soil improvement process for these beds.
    "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

    www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

    https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

    www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

  • #2
    Nice looking beds. Have you considered trying one of Paul Olivier's gasification units to produce some biochar for soil amendment?

    Also what is under the soil? Is it direct contact with a gravel layer to provide a water reservoir? Or is there something in between it to aid the wicking process?

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you. Yes, I own a small Olivier gasifier - so biochar is definitely on the To Do list.

      The waist high beds (the kitchen garden) are filled with crusher dust to half their total height. This is purely for convenience. The actual wicking bed part of the arrangement is contained within the upper half. It consists of the liner, the filler pipe and a basic distribution grid...and some gravel (largely to hold the PVC distribution grid in place.

      The ten backyard beds are just two sleepers high and don't have gravel in them. The gravel and various other structures are an evolution that the method's inventor didn't bother with - so nor do I.

      Then both sets of beds filled with (so-called) garden soil. The 'soil' is the stuff that comes from recycled green waste and, from a plant growing perspective, it's pretty ordinary stuff...but it was the best that we could get on the island. We've begun to improve it but I expect that it will be couple of seasons before we get it to where we want.

      As an aside, I'm due to return to Vietnam within the coming weeks. Paul and I are collaborating on the development of waste transformation demonstration farms in several locations in Vietnam. I'll almost certainly come back with one of the larger gasifiers that he's designed, too...and a 4' BioPod (or two).
      "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

      www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

      https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

      www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

      Comment


      • #4
        IBC's (intermediate bulk containers) are frequently recycled for use in backyard aquaponics systems...and they can also be used to make wicking beds. I've just cut a number of IBC's to be used for the components for a Sandponics system. For each sand bed that I created, I ended up with a wicking bed, too.
        "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

        www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

        https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

        www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

        Comment


        • #5
          We're about to plant out our backyard wicking beds...all 30 square metres - 300 square feet - of them. To give them a bit of a kickstart, I've brewed up about 650 litres of worm tea. Our worm farms are now delivering a reliable quantitiy of worm castings...so a few handfuls of those, and a little molasses, will make for a good feed and a microbe tonic.

          Click image for larger version

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          "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

          www.garydonaldson.net - my main website.

          https://www.facebook.com/gary.donaldson.161 - my Facebook page.

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1167267703372756/ - my Microponics and Waste Transformation Farming Facebook Group

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/1318946951452383/ - my iAVs Facebook Group

          www.urbanaquaponics.com.au - the current home of the Online Urban Aquaponics Manual.

          Comment

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