Building a Wicking Garden Bed yourself is so much easier when you understand some key pointers about how and why they work. There are lots of online videos on the building of them. Let’s instead consider some key understandings and tips that will allow you to improvise a little to create the best DIY wicking bed for your place with materials locally available.
These are the things that really matter!
The housing for your wicking garden can be made of many different materials… so consider them all for look and durability! Whether it’s a large plastic tub, steel planter, brick bed, a wooden box set up or any other combination; this is to be the framework that will hold it all together.
One way of understanding a wicking garden is that you have brought the water table upto the toes of your garden bed soil. From there capillary action draws the moisture up evenly for the roots to grow down to — it’s very simple! It is key that:
There are a bunch of options for creating this layer which has the role of creating lots of spaces for water to fill until it is wicked up naturally.
The temptation is to smooth the wick layer off nice and level before fitting the fabric liner (something like weedmat or geomat to keep your reservoir clean) but don’t do it!
Having more organic chunks in the compost will help it wick better, but the wick effect — water moving from wet to dry soil particles — generally happens across a 20-25cm distance only. With this in mind:
The use of an elbow and 10cm poly pipe fixing is a way to adjust the height setting of the ‘water table’ that you’ll see done in this video (how to video), it’s a clever move allowing for subtle seasonal and veggie variety adjustments!
The wicking garden you’ve created is in many ways a living entity, or at least that is a good way to view it when it comes to watering.
So I hope that helps with making your DIY Self-Wicking Garden. It takes a little effort to set up but is a very smart way to manage the watering of any kitchen garden. Best of luck!
There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.
— Alfred Austin