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.
Finding 500L of fill is the big challenge! Keep us posted on the results Clive, and some pix will be good too. Oh btw, Colin Austin reckons that neither rocks nor sand wick as well as potting mix.
Some great info available from Colin.
I have already bought small river stones and ag-pipe to go into the bottom I was going to use scoria but had trouble finding any except from Bunnings in small expensive bags. I will use rocks, ect in the first 2 and try Colin's ideas in the next. I was going to use "Premium" garden soil with added compost to fill. It is all new to me and I am at the experimental stage.
We're always experimenting!
Premium garden soil includes fertilisers but you cannot get away from that usually. A good local one is Active8 from the Gold Coast. If you can get it, Vermiculite in 100L bags is good too, as is various grades of coconut peat (Coco peat). A produce store if many are still around, is a good source of bulk materials at decent prices. I only layer the ingredients when making up the bed, by the time you add some soil-worker worms the contents get mixed by them; 6 months after starting the bed you'd hardly know what was used to fill it. Oh and add some microbes too if you don't have plenty of your own compost. I use el cheepo potting mix in the bottom Brunnings is one brand around $4-5 a bag.
Thanks for all the info, there is so much to learn. I was thinking of adding worm compost tubes to each bed. Would this be OK or do I need to add soil-worker worms, if so where do I get them from (sorry if that's a stupid question). I now only getting into gardening since I retired.
In-situ worm farms are good too. They use the exotic compost worms, most commonly the red ones with yellow tails. They are OK being crowded up in a worm 'farm' and munching on manure tho they do eat other stuff too.
Soil worker worms are probably the native ones of many kinds but usually you can just dig them up out of the soil. They are bigger and more active than the compost worms, don't like being crowded but dig many tunnels and go deeper than the compost worms.
A neat combination of the two and you've got worm heaven and years of free food for the plants. Just make sure there's enough organic matter and dampness - and you'll soon know if there's a lot of them once you dig around in the bed a few months after you've established it.
You can buy soil-worker worm eggs from Kookaburra Worm Farms located in the same eco-village that Colin Austin used to live just outside Gin Gin.
Red Scoria 14mm is available at Centenary Landscape Supplies, 26 Sumner Rd Darra, $405/Tonne
The bottom of a wicking bed is a water reservoir what would happen if glass bottles where stacked to hold water and take up space.
Bottles holding water? How would you get the water to wick to the potting mix? An individual physical wick would do it but how would you refill the bottles?
Jeff have you been to Colin Austin's website? It is a vast and complex site but has many pages of info a lot of it results of his experiments with input from others using variations on the wicking bed theme. And there's a LOT of variations! Sometimes you can find answers to your own musings, saving some time and headaches in the process.
The bottles would only be taking up space they would have other media that wicks on there out side the bottles would fill because of gravity.
I've lost the plot here. Perhaps give it a whirl in a smaller bin and see what happens.
Do you mean using these products in the mix or in the reservoir, Jeff? Neither are available as individual packs though.