Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

As we're going away in a few weeks, leaving the garden for my son to look after, I thought I'd have a go at making some of my fruit tree pots into wicking pots. First I got some cake carriers from the Reject Shop, cut and poked various holes in them, and inserted a filling tube and some wicks. Added a jar of gravel to help support the top of the container.

Filled the reservoir, put it in the pot (needed a bigger pot of course, maybe it would've been easier to simply buy a large wicking pot, but they get a bit expensive, and I've got lots of pots around) and filled around it with gravel, then added the plant and mulched it. I'm happy with the result - hope it works, just have to do eight more! Could probably have used a shallower container for the reservoir, and I will look in a few op shops etc for some. Note the pretty mulch - some worn-out bamboo stakes put thru the mulcher.

Not sure why the last photo is bigger than the rest - didn't look that way when I was doing it.

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Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 9, 2015 at 7:29

So far - after 4 years - no trouble whatever. Keeping up the water in dry times is a tad more demanding than bins with specific reservoirs. And the mix makes a difference, too.

Comment by Barbara Tealby on September 9, 2015 at 5:51

Elaine, that's a whole lot simpler, cheaper and easier than what I was doing. I'm getting a bit sick of the rigmarole of making those containers, etc. Don't you have any trouble with root rot?

Comment by DARREN JAMES on September 8, 2015 at 22:01

that's GREAT   Elaine simplicity at work and something anyone can do .How goods that

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 8, 2015 at 21:53

My old pots get converted to wickers by adding plastic and drilling an overflow hole. Most of mine are potting mix as reservoir, no filling tube and build up the nutritious mix on the way up, just el cheepo potting mix in the bottom. Simplicity itself, works a treat.

Comment by Susan on September 8, 2015 at 20:54

Hi Darren, your idea sounds great too - def something to look into if you have any older pots around that you want to turn into wicking.  I cannot recommend wicking beds/pots enough.  I have not lost a single plant in a pot since I converted to wicking.  They are so much more forgiving of slack watering schedules :)

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on September 5, 2015 at 21:32

That's quite clever Barb. 

Comment by DARREN JAMES on September 5, 2015 at 21:11

Hi there sue I have lined one of my bigger pots with that builders black plastic,then used some ag pipe in the bottom and forming  it in a ring. Before you do this cover it with an old stocking and then form that ring you can cut that ring at one end  it will slide into the other and can just tape it with that grey masking tape.The idea of the stocking is to prevent sand getting in that ring as this is your reservoir.On top of the ring cut another slot in order to fit a filling tube,I used a 19mm irrigation tube cutting an angle at the end.This tube is obviously higher than the top of your pot.Work out the height of your ag pipe and drill a drain hole on the side of your pot.When filling with soil just cover over the top of the plastic to hide.Will send some pictures to make this more understanding

Comment by Susan on September 4, 2015 at 21:05

Looks really great Barbara - I love how you are re-using old pots.  I tried to think of a way to turn the larger pots into wicking pots but didn't come up with anything and as I didn't have any old pots, it wasn't really an issue.  Mind you, I didn't try that hard :)  but your idea is great.  I just bought two more long pots for strawberries tonight and some sweetheart strawberries to go in them.  I now have sugar baby, redlands joy, temptation and sweetheart so we'll see how they perform and what I should plant next year.  

Comment by Florence on September 4, 2015 at 12:15

Thanks for sharing your method Barbara, would be interested to see how it goes. 

Roger, I've got a few black genoa cuttings, it's the first time I tried them and they're not showing any signs of life yet...  I'm also trying Wurtz avocado, it's the second time I tried, all I know is they're not dead yet, but no growth.  Last time I tried, they dried out on a really hot day... from what I've read, Avocado is not easy to strike and they take a long time.  I tried blueberry last spring, and they did well.   I haven't tried longan yet, but I think it's not easy to strike either, and that's why they're normally done as aerial layer.  I'm also trying citrus and apples.  Keeping them moist is very difficult coz it's been very windy lately (hence drying).

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on September 4, 2015 at 8:41

The ages of the Figs might have something to do with it, too. The oldest ones started producing more fruit when they should have been entering dormancy. I removed the fruit and the leaves and they have had an enforced rest. They are shooting now. The younger plants (all different varieties) are thinking about shooting ;-)

I've White Adriatic, Brown Turkey, Black Genoa, Prestons Prolific. Being inept at getting cuttings to grow (except for the Mints) I'm happy to share prunings with anyone who wants to give them a go. However, I prune May-June, which wouldn't I assume, be the right time to strike cuttings.

Btw, there's lots of info on wicking beds on the net - as usual, drowning in info. However, the guy who made them popular, Colin Austin, has good info on his site too.

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