Brisbane Local Food

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Wicking Beds

Where we discuss challenges, experiments, inspirations, links, questions and answers to do with wicking beds. Read more about wicking beds here.

Members: 44
Latest Activity: Oct 10, 2019

Discussion Forum

First Wicking Bed

Started by Clive Buckingham. Last reply by Elaine de Saxe Oct 23, 2017. 14 Replies

Bought a 1000 litre IBC yesterday cut it in 1/2 and now ready to make my first wicking bed using the design from ABC Gardening Australia. The plan is to make several over the coming weeks.Continue

My wicking bed experiments

Started by george s. Last reply by Elaine de Saxe Oct 11, 2017. 1 Reply

        My wicking bed experiments                                                                                                   2-2016         by    GeorgeSchmid  I assume most members are…Continue

Tags: wicking beds

Very simple self-watering pot

Started by Janet Fong. Last reply by Elaine de Saxe Oct 11, 2017. 7 Replies

I spent $15 on two self-watering pots and decided to add a barrier as any water holding area is often a breeding ground for mosquito larvae.I'm not sure if you would call this a wicking pot but it…Continue

Rain and the Wicking Bed Blues

Started by Elaine de Saxe. Last reply by Andrew Cumberland Apr 20, 2017. 4 Replies

Seven inches of rain - right, no more watering for a while.Wrong!The wicking beds can only contain as much water as their reservoirs will hold. The rest just overflows.Obvious. Yes, if I had thought…Continue

Tags: water reservoir, water storage, wicking beds

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Comment by Jan C. on June 6, 2017 at 18:06

Many thanks Susan for your suggestions, which make heaps of sense.  Good point about the wood vs tin to combat the heat.  Last summer very nearly finished ME off, as well as the veg.  I've got quite a few large black pots and I'm thinking I need to insulate them.

Comment by Susan on June 5, 2017 at 18:19

Hi Jan.  I too use wicking beds and find them great.  My suggestions would be

a) add lots of sand to your soil mix.  Mine was topped up with garden soil and compost but got very waterlogged.  I've added sand and mixed through to improve drainage and am finding that helps

b) After 2 years, I found them starting to become less productive.  Everyone is talking about rock minerals at the moment and it makes sense that they would become deficient as they are not in contact with the soil.  Everytime I top mine up, I am now mixing in rock minerals. 

c) Make sure there is no way for tree roots to get in!!

This guy has HEAPS of videos that he has posted about how to create different types of wicking beds.  I based mine off his tutorials.   

Mine are made with tin wicking beds (1.8m x .8m for about $100 bunnings), lined with thick builders plastic with socked ag pipe reservoir and sand in the base, sugar cane mulch (thick) as a layer between sand and soil, and then soil on top.  If you can, I think you might be better with wooden edges rather than tin - they heat up quite a bit in summer and edges dry out.  Less of a problem for me now that my garden beds are overflowing with growth so the bottoms get shaded.

Comment by Jan C. on June 5, 2017 at 15:39

I have recently joined this group and am now frantically educating myself on wicking beds.  Ten years in Brisbane and at last I'm doing some subtropical gardening, so the idea of saving water is very appealing! Anyway, I've found so much information just on this site! - and more everywhere I look online.  It's all verging on overwhelming, but fascinating nevertheless. We trekked up to Toowoomba yesterday for a talk by Alan Singleton (Watersaver Gardens).  In fact, it was his link to your post, Elaine, that led me to Brisbane Local Food. I'm really sorry I missed your garden visit in March.  I'm currently growing a variety of vegetables (with varying success) in a variety of containers, including a medium-size Vegepod, and am now looking for a reasonably sized wicking bed that isn't quite as expensive. Any further thoughts about the pros and cons of Alan's watersaver beds now that you've broken them in? Or should I be considering other options, or making my own?  I'd be very grateful for any comments flung my way.  

Comment by george s on March 13, 2017 at 8:03

In regards to the GA show on 11 March, the presentation by Sophie Thomson on "Wicking Works" using ICB containers was quite interesting.

I just like to point out two things... the Scoria used for filling the reservoir is quite expensive here in Queensland. I think Scoria comes from Victoria.

I use coal ash or hardwood chips in my wicking beds. The opaque colored HDPE plastic on the ICB is not UV stabilized. So the timber boards used to enclose the ICB did not go on for just cosmetic reasons, they protect the plastic from UV rays. 

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on March 12, 2017 at 8:12

Roger when I was researching alternatives to garden beds, I went to eBay to see what was available. Although mostly down south, there are people selling food-grade IBCs locally. Worth a whirl anyway. Getting them could be a hassle though.

The big black bins I use came from People in Plastic and buying 12 at once the price came down substantially. They are not food grade, made from some recycled content and are UV stable.

Each half of an IBC is 500L which will take some filling! Filling 12 x 200L was a major project for we two old boilers.

Comment by Roger Clark on March 12, 2017 at 8:02

I've just looked up the GA website. The containers you  can get from food transport companies, but at a cost of $150 each. this makes the two halves a $75 proposition before adding the costs of  the other materials. A bit expensive for a poor old pensioner like me. I will stick to using old baths, bags etc. which I can usually get for free. Anyone got any they want to get rid of at the moment?

Comment by Roger Clark on March 12, 2017 at 7:49


Did everyone see the item on Gardening Australia last Saturday? I thought it a very good explanation and expose of wicking beds. The containers used were interesting, a good size, strong and easy to make. Does anyone know where we might access them in Brisbane? I can see myself abandoning growing in simple raised beds that tree roots can access and using the soil from these to fill the wicking beds. In my soil I cannot grow well in summer due to the ease at which the normal above ground beds drain moisture away. My precious water supply (rainwater tanks) cannot keep up with the scorching heat.   

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 2, 2015 at 21:58

That's pretty impressive Janet.  Cheers. 

Comment by Janet Fong on February 2, 2015 at 10:03

Unbelievable price: 240L Hills Home Yellow Self Watering Garden Bed  $60 plus $20 delivery.

Comment by Lissa on November 15, 2014 at 4:55

Elaine - pretty sure you "have the power" as the creator of the group to edit discussions and comment wall.

I've put the discussion about the Gardens Online product into a discussion.


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