Building a Wicking Bed on the Surf Coast- the Self Watering Option Your Plants will Lap Right Up

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Building a Wicking Bed on the Surf Coast- the Self Watering Option Your Plants will Lap Right Up

Vegetables thrive with a plentiful water source- but who has time to be constantly watering their garden? SouthPoint Garden Supplies in Torquay is now stocking galvanised tin garden beds– which help plants to take full advantage of the moisture in the soil, and can be easily modified into wicking beds for even greater water efficiency.

The idea of a wicking bed is that it has a reservoir of water on the bottom layer, which can hold up to a week or two worth of water and soak up through the plants’ roots as needed. This is ideal for a holiday home or working household, as it cuts down on laborious watering time. It also has green benefits, because there is less evaporation than when beds are watered from the top-down. If properly constructed, wicking beds can optimize plant performance, as the plants will have a water source constantly “on tap”.

The first step is to build or buy a raised bed. The two previous posts discussed methods for building raised garden beds, or you can buy one of our beautiful colour-bonded galvanised tanks from just $100. A range of colours, shapes and sizes are available, and they can be custom-ordered as a pre-made wicking bed, already sealed off and with pipes and taps installed. There are round, corner and oval beds in half height and full height sizes, in colours ranging from zinc-finish to colourbonded blues, reds and creams.

You can build up the wicking layers yourself as a fun weekend project. First the raised bed must be sealed off. We can custom order beds with welded bottoms and overflow taps already installed. Or you can do it yourself with black plastic lining along the bottom. Some gardeners recommend a second lining of carpet offcuts on top of the black plastic to prevent any stones or sticks poking through. A tap should be placed in the side wall as an overflow valve.  Agi pipe or pvc pipe is then laid in the bottom of the bed, with one end sticking up above the top, to allow you to fill with water. The pipe should also be capped off so no mosquitoes can take up residence. The pipe can be covered over with 20mm scoria, to form your water reservoir. The next layer is shade cloth or geo textile, which will allow the water to soak through while keeping the soil up above. A good quality vegetable soil should be laid about 300mm deep in the top layer. Our custom veggie mix has mushroom compost, organic aged compost, and propagating sand mixed together, and PH balanced for optimum veggie results. Much of our natural soil on the Surf Coast and in the Geelong region can tend to be sandy, so a custom-blended veggie mix will give your plants the best chance to thrive.

Your bed is now ready to be planted!