Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Imbued with the thrill of making gardening-do with milk crates, I embraced a notion that entered my head, and tackled wicking.
You may associate 'wicking' with 'wicking beds' but the actual tradition employed a wick -- just like a candle. Up this wick moisture would seep against gravity.
Whether this rig of mine will work or not -- or irrigate too much -- remains to be seen.
Wicking mats are sometimes used for seedlings but I think that maybe they are likely to be too wet and fungal friendly.
My problem is that if and when the seedlings grow -- how do I gently remove the wick to re-use it? And without harming the plant?
That being the plan: a little wick goes a long way.
My seedling trays are the wonderful 40 cell HIKO style tray.
I use them for Vetiver growing but here I'm experimenting with vegetables seedlings.
Once bedded and sown, I suspend the tray --wicks dangling -- over a tray of water.

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Comment by Dave Riley on October 29, 2019 at 18:38

Here's my latest tweak:

Folded jute twine poked into the bottom of the cells...with my pair of gardening tweezers.

Easy done...and cheap.

So far so good.

The tray on the right was planted with seeds a week ago. I've done nothing but make sure the pool of water underneath is high enough for the wicks to constantly bathe.

[I now make trays by laying black plastic or tarp over a frame.With my Vetiver I use large bakers trays.]

On the left -- today's planting -- you can see the bit of metal I've used to hold the cells above the water line while their wicks are wading.

The detritus in the water is cut Vetiver root which discourages colonisation by mosquitoes.

For me, thus far, this is a good result -- especially because the seedlings at right are often hard to sprout: sweet peppers and tomatilloes (with tomatoes in the foreground).

Vdery losw risk of drying out and, hopefully, of fungal ingress from being too wet.

Seed raising mix: the very fickle but affordable Scotts Osmocote. No coir, I suspect.

My aim is to bring the seedlings on so that they can stand up against the nocturnal horror of snails which have been devastating my direct seeding efforts. That or Sacred ibises.

Comment by Dave Riley on October 22, 2019 at 7:43

Yes. My wicks are too long. But I wanted to wick as it is a more reliable irrigator than myself and standing the cells in water is likely to be too wet -- especially when it rains.

Comment by Sid Saghe on October 21, 2019 at 16:03

Agree with Jeff, you may not need a physical wick at all. 

If you do want one in there, I would just have it hanging out the very bottom connecting up into the pot but not going up more than a cm or two, enough to wet the soil which takes care of the rest but not up so high you'd damage the roots when removing. That way you can gently pull it out the bottom and reuse for the next seedling!

Keen to see how this goes for you!

Comment by Jeff Kiehne on October 21, 2019 at 10:54

Are the trays 40 Cell Forestry Tray Black do not think need anything to wick for seedlings  as they do not have any depth  and water will move up the potting mix .The big problem is finding a place to put the seedlings where they do not cook on a very hot day. or if have in a tray and rains heavily and floods the pots .

Comment by Dave Riley on October 21, 2019 at 8:21

I reckon that if I can switch to twine -- as in jute -- the rig would perform better  when the seedlings are planted out. That is assuming jute would work as a wick.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on October 20, 2019 at 15:04

I'll be interested to see how they go Dave.  

Comment by Dave Riley on October 19, 2019 at 21:23

Cells from HERE. I love 'em.

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GrowVetiver

Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.


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