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Sid, Don't be afraid to use any way that you can hold water, under the soil level. I have used cat litter dishes, 4l ice cream containers and small buckets such as yoghurt tubs, I filled them with gravel or sand and mainly cheap garden soil from Bunnies. They all held water for a few days and when dug up later, were full of plant roots. You could even put a little pvc pipe in them about 6 inches down and feed them tea, fish fertilizer or any liquid fertilizer.
We are going through dry times now, and the fruit and vegies are feeling it.
Sorry, when you go HERE. -- enter 'clay pot'.
My experiences with clay pot irrigation is logged HERE.
I set up clay pot system at a friends' property near Chinchilla -- drought and so very little water available -- and the beds (recycled corrugated iron tank, cut in half) are performing extremely well.
This is the original setting up:
I've just come back from another visit to the property: bone dry and dusty., but...
After several harvests of veges both the soil and its moisture content is pretty good.
I use clay pots (wine coolers) in my milk crate garden -- but the main vegetable beds are now watered by spear pump and I use Vetiver hedges as my 'wick'.
My bathtub wicking bed is a disaster. I can't say that the olla pots I am using in the old wicking bed are fantastic but they are keeping things growing despite the heat so thumbs up. The fruit trees in wicking bins are doing as well as can be with the restricted space.
In a nutshell, for me wicking beds don't produce as much as in the ground soil due to space/root restriction but easier to maintain in the heat. Olla pot do require refilling quite often depending on size but I still prefer growing in the ground.
I like my mixed version between wicking beds and ground, i.e., a water reservoir made of plastic sheets in the center to a height of 5 cm AND space around the edge of the plastic sheet for worm to access.
My wicking bed gets no sun in winter so I can only grow in it in summer. However, if I had my time again, every veg bed would be a wicking bed.
For my home garden, I have 7 larger beds (1.8x0.8)and 3 smaller (0.8 x 0.4). The larger wicking beds are fantastic and pretty much the only way I grow during summer. I water them once per week from top of soil (not in a fill pipe). Mine have been going for I think about 3 years now. The smaller beds heat up way too much so are pretty useless in summer. The only thing I’ve grown successfully over summer in them is capsicum and eggplant which is what is in them now. I’m also trying winged bean in them but they haven’t sprouted yet so I’ll have to wait and see.
The ground is getting so dry that i wanted to plant some corn seed so dug up and watered and the next day was totally dry so unless it starts raining wicking beds and hydroponics may be the only way to grow without needing lots of water.
One has a leaking seal that I THOUGHT I had fixed but it turns out I hadn't, so right now it's basically a slow draining tub rather than a wicking bed. The other had a soil blocking the water pipe which will be an easy fix but is still annoying. Neither issues are anything really major just wanted to get thoughts.
Forgot to put the link to my wicking bed tutorials and the math, substrates, costs and my large reservoir modifications.http://carazy.net/?s=wicking
I love my wicking beds and continue to extoll their virtues to anyone with a passing interest. If you can provide details of your spat maybe we can reconcile you with yours.Ollas are nice but the sheer amount of water availability you can provide with wicking beds is why I don't go down that path, yet I've suggested ollas recently to a friend for his particular setup.
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