Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Hi again.

I thought I should share my good success with a DIY wicking bed design. 

I bought spotted gum (durable), galvanised fencing/ retaining wall stakes, extra thick builder's plastic, compost, sulfur to correct the very alkaline compost (boo), builder's sand, PVC pipes, joiners and caps, some wooden battens, things to screw/ staple/ nail it all together. 

The recipe is as follows:

  • Dig out below ground level 30cm. Level the hole bottom.
  • Level the chosen spillway side edge at ground level.
  • Drive stakes into corners and as required. Insert wooden edges. 
  • Line hole with double thickness builder's plastic, trying to make it as leak proof as possible using hospital folds.
  • Bring the edges of the plastic up on the inside of the wooden edges and nail them in place under wooden battens - except for the spillway side.

Only partially filled here - keep filling to ground level, where the spillway is.

Here we're testing to make sure it's water proof enough - the water has to sit in the reservoir so it can  be sucked up by the compost heavy growing medium. You need a lot of compost to make sure the water will wick up to the top. It's basically just a giant self-watering pot.

This is the spill way side.

  • Instead of fixing this side to the wooden insides, feed it out at ground level - this will ensure you can't overfill and drown your garden bed. 
  • Fill with builders sand to ground level. 
  • Cut slits along the underside of your PVC pipe.
  • Run pipes along the top of the sand (or just under) and then use an elbow to go straight up to above the height of your eventual beds (another 30cm of growing medium up is good).
  • Then fill with your compost/ loam mix (heavy on the compost - I used about 2/3 compost - and then had to mix it with a lot of sulfur as I went because the only nearby compost supplier didn't do pH balanced compost sigh).
  • Cut off the pipes above the soil level and put a cap on (stops mozzies). 

To use, put the garden hose in about once a week in summer and fill until you see water coming out the spillway. Also give the top a light sprinkle once or twice a week if you have seedlings (roots aren't long enough to get to the damp deeper soil yet) or in mid summer heat - or every day or two if you're sprouting seeds. No other watering required. Fill and leave on holidays - brilliant. 

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They look fantastic. Very productive too.  What a lovely cottage as well. This is the first reasonable rain we've had in a long time. 

Site is playing up for me, can't open any pictures on Scarlett's wicking bed notes.  Also no banner or normal heading on site. Anyone else with this problem.

Good on my end 

By Thursday, I was also getting some problems.  It should be fixed now. 

Hi everyone

If you're interested, I wrote a book about a future permaculture world - it's suitable for anyone from 11 years up

Preview is here:

Readable on any computer, tablet, phone or kindle

Only $4.24 ;)



Hi Scarlett, just joined the site, this is a pretty impressive and appears to be spectacularly successful, thanks for posting


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