Just a preliminary post to ask if there's enough interest on BLF to have a dedicated section (a Group seems to fit the bill) on Wicking beds. Or bins or buckets or self-watering pots, call them what you will.
The original popularising of the self-watering-pot-on-steroids idea was Colin Austin's. Go to his Waterright site for a great deal of information. He's re-organising the site just now and navigation can be a touch tricky. But there are links and sites by people who are experimenting with them all over the world.
I recall 'self-watering pots' back in the early '80s. They didn't have the overflow hole that they have now and couldn't be left out in all weathers. The overflow hole is the absolute trick to these beds (read 'pots'. 'bins', 'buckets' or any other container).
From around 4 years experience with variations on the wicking bed theme, I can say without doubt that plants do not drown in wicking beds. My observations have lead me to conclude that the reverse is true: plants die in pots with too many drainage holes. Even in this area of Queensland's rainiest times, no plant has rotted in my wicking beds but plenty had died in ordinary above-ground beds especially on the slope and with tree-roots invading.
I may fancy myself as the Queen of Wicking Beds ;-) the reality is I'm keen to hear from others on this forum who have had or do have or are even thinking about wicking beds. An exchange of information is what this site is all about.
A search of this site for 'wicking' yields 25 pages of info and will give links to several posts and many photos and comments about the subject.
As no one system is perfect, there's times when wicking beds will be appropriate and times when they would not suit the circumstances.
And to answer Rob's comment about organic material rotting in the water reservoir: strictly the answer is "I do not know" - I've used the potting mix and for the first time coarse coir in the reservoir. Other people will have other experiences. I believe that you do not need a 'wick' as such as the mix above the reservoir does the wicking by capilliary action. Anyone with the proper scientific terminology, please explain exactly how it works! I know it does but not the 'why'.
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