Every gardener knows only too well, plants love water. In fact, we spend most of our gardening time trying to keep them generously supplied with it. But because we soak plant roots from the top down, it means we have to fight against the soil structure (which is often waterrepellent), weeds and evaporation from the sun. But there is an easier way – the wicking-bed method! This method uses capillary action to irrigate plants from the bottom up, and it has all sorts of benefits.
Wicking beds can be created in all sorts of containers, from large troughs to medium-sized pots, which means they’re ideal for both larger gardens and courtyards. And because they are so easy to look after, these beds are also great for gardeners with little spare time on their hands. While similar in theory to self-watering pots, these systems feature a much larger water reservoir, so they need filling up less frequently. Wicking beds actually use around 50 per cent less water than a conventional garden bed and, because the water comes up from the bottom, the soil at the very top of the bed remains quite dry, which means weed seeds can’t germinate. These beds are also very holiday-friendly, because if you top them up before you leave, your plants will be watered for at least two to three weeks – happy days!
1. A ‘worm tunnel’ helps this garden to self-fertilise.
2. Vegie scraps added each week feed your worms.
3. Topping up the reservoir is easy via an inlet pipe
4. Add a handful of composting worms at set-up.