What is a wicking bed?
A wicking bed is a raised garden bed with a water reservoir below the level of the soil. Water is drawn up from the reservoir to the soil above via capillary or wicking action. Moisture level in the soil is maintained at a constant rate over extended periods. This minimises the need to add water whilst evenly distributing moisture, providing better growing conditions for plants.
Benefits of using a wicking bed for growing vegetables
Possible Downsides of a wicking system
Not all plants like a moist soil. Garlic for example will thrive in a wicking garden bed in its growing stages, but requires a fairly dry environment during last part of growth so as to avoid mould growth.
How a wicking garden bed works
There are two main effects in a wicking garden bed:
Inside a Wicking Garden Bed
A Wicking garden bed is composed of three distinct ZONES (from the bottom up):
- THE WATER RESERVOIR
- THE ZONE OF SATURATION
- THE ZONE OF ROOT GROWTH
Wicking system components
- Water Inlet Pipe: Delivers water to the water reservoir.
- Slotted AGI Pipe: Connected to the Water Inlet Pipe, the Slotted AGI Pipe distributes water evenly along bottom of the garden bed.
- Water Overflow Pipe: Outlet positioned below the soil surface. Prevents the water level from raising into the Zone of Root Growth.
- Horticulture liner.
- Medium triple washed river sand (known as a Concrete sand): The medium that creates the structure of the water reservoir. It has a high-water retention capacity.
- Geotextile Fabric: Positioned between the Water Reservoir and the growing medium.