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Hey folks,


Been a while since I posted a topic (or anything noteworthy for that matter lol) but I recently came across an old topic by Rattrap on wicking beds that I had bookmarked and realised that he never got around to making one. Rattrap's thread seemed to spark a bit of interest and I love my wicking beds so I've decided to post the build process of some of my wicking beds.


They're piss-easy to set up, cost fark-all to make and they're incredibly water efficient. The other benefit is that all the nutrients are readily available in the soil (provided you put the right stuff in there) so all you have to do is top up the water pipe every week or two.


Here's the link to Rattrap's original thread:




And here are some of mine:






See the build process 3 posts down (got distracted halway through writing the post) lol

Edited by brownies
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Step 1: You'll need to gather all of your cheap-as-chips materials:


- Fence palings from bunnings or your neighbour's fence (150mm wide)

- 90x35mm Pine studs

- Builder's plastic or pond linger

- Scoria or pond rocks

- Your choice of soil, manure, compost, etc

- PVC pipe

- Slotted agricultural pipe and end cap

- PVC elbow that suits the diameter of your PVC pipe.

- Mesh/Shade cloth

- Overflow (any threaded tube with a rubber washer and nut on each side)


All of the materials are available at bunnings and most hardware stores (try Masters too  as they're going broke and have some epic sales on at the moment).




Step 2: Cut your pine and palings to length. The maximum height a plant can wick up moisture is 300mm so a good height for your planters is 600mm; 300mm for the reservoir and 300mm for the bed of soil where the root system will thrive.




Step 3: Construct your box. It's as simple as nailing the paling ;)


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Step 4: Line your box with your builder's plastic or pond liner. Make sure not to tear the plastic otherwise your reservoir won't hold water.


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Step 5: Attach your PVC elbow to the bottom of your PVC pipe. Attach the slotted aggie pipe to the elbow and cap the other end. Lay the aggie pipe along the bottom of the wicking bed and run the PVC pipe up one corner of your box. Cover the setup with the scoria/pond rocks.


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You want the layer of scoria/pond rocks to reach the top of your first paling (150mm).


Step 6: Lay your shade cloth over the rocks.


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Step 7: Drill the hole for and attach your overflow just above your rock layer.


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Step 8: Start filling with your first layer of soil. This layer will remain moist and 'wick' the water up to the plants roots in the rest of the soil. For this layer simply use plain garden soil and fill it up to the top of the next paling (150mm).




Step 9: Fill the remainder of the box with your soil mix. I used organic garden soil, cow manure, mushroom compost and chicken manure. Bit of everything ;)


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Step 10: Fill up the reservoir until water starts coming out of the overflow and  give it all a really good watering from the top to start the wicking process. Once you've done that, you're ready to plant! And once the babies are in, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour :thumbsup:


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The best thing about these beds is the water is there for them to drink at their leisure yet the roots are not submerged in the water so there is no issue of root rot. The water is held in the 'reservoir' at the bottom and the soil wicks the water up to the roots where it's needed. This avoids unnecessary drenching of the top soil and wasted water that would otherwise just trickle down through the soil, past the roots and into the earth's crust - not being utilised by your plants at all. In the past I have been on holidays for two weeks having not filled the reservoir at all and come back to perfectly healthy plants. Perfect for the lazy gardeners :thumbsup:


Brownies :peace:


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Sorry for the slightly delayed build... Wrote the intro then had to attend to some business lol


Nice beds Brownies. Raised beds are one of the things that have been on my to do list for too long. Top up every week or two sounds nice and easy as well.


Thanks Nay! They're a piece of piss to make and perfect for lazy blokes like me lol Honestly I've never had plants grow as well as they did in my wicking beds and all I did once they were setup was fill them up with water once every two weeks or so.



Nice work browny! Very professional looking! I made a portable wicking bed out of the bottom half of a wheelie bin last season for one of my friends. 


Buying a pot/planter from bunnings = $10-$30


Making your own pot and pulling a lazy pound out of it = priceless


Cheers RK! Totally agree mate and you can make it the right size to suit your garden. Nothin better :thumbsup:

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Been thinking of making something like these for next years bush grow. Thanks for the info


It's a great idea for bush growing given how little you have to visit the site. If you wanted to avoid having to fill it up every two weeks, you could even set up a recirculating system and have the overflow valve connected to a res with a pump leading back up to the pipe.

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Cheers Brownie, great post :good:


I made a couple of wicking beds last year - unfortunately I can't grow canna in them (visibility) but they do work well!  The second bed is only bare because I spend all my gardening time tending the canna plants :P


The inside of mine is identical except I used pond liner.


With absolutely no effort on my behalf, this tomato and basil plant are kicking ass!  Much healthier looking than veggies usually at this time of year coping with multiple 40 degree plus days.  I haven't even mulched it!


A nice bonus is the complete absence of weeds as the surface is pretty much dry.


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