Funnily enough Wicking Beds are not a new concept by a long stretch of the imagination. However, in Australia they are only just starting to catch on.
I'm not quite sure if it is the media attention from all the reality gardening and self sustainability shows or the "monkey see monkey do" aspect or even the ease of internet browsing that has driven this surge but it sure has taken off.
So what is a Wicking Bed?
Basically it is a large version of a self-watering pot plant.
There is a permanent water source beneath the plants in the form of a fully sealed vessel. There is an overflow so the vessel can't flood and there is generally pipework under a layer of matting and medium such as scoria. Moisture wicks up through the soil giving the plants a constant and consistent supply of water.
Are my Wicking Beds different?
Typical Aussie answer!
They can operate as per the "normal" suggested version however I have made some changes and I'm fully convinced after about 10 - 13 years of success that my system has all the benefits of Wicking Bed success without all the pocket ache or back ache of the suggested method.
Simple! The Wicking Beds I manufacture can adapt to any of the suggested situations should you choose to go that way, but, if you take a punt and choose to follow my lead you will save $$$, time and work.
I've deleted the gio fabric mat. I've deleted the scoria layer. I've also deleted the need for pipework beneath the soil. All I do is chuck a bale of straw (or as many as you can fit) in the bottom, top fill with soil, add water and plant away. It works! See my facebook page to see examples.
Necessity is the mother of all invention and that has driven me to find new ways of doing things. My background has not hindered me either as I don't come from a horticultural nor a landscaping or botanist viewpoint. All my suggestions are based on an "I've done it" point of view. I have an Ice Cream Bean here in Seymour: a plant that shouldn't grow here but I have it growing in the front yard of my factory and only one person has been through the gate that correctly identified it and her words were verbatim - "How in the hell have you got that growing here?"
So what am I really trying to say?
I back myself now!
I've had my doubters, many disbelievers but I also have my proof and things are turning. I now can add to this list many followers and converts, I might add to date nobody able to disprove my practices. So what does this mean for the average gardener looking to dabble in Wicking Beds? It means you can save yourself a fortune, that's what.
Take a look at the videos and see for yourself.