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Improved wicking bed?  RSS feed

 
Chris Dean
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
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I learned about wicking beds this weekend. If you don't know about them there are lots of youtube videos, and Permaculture Institute has a primer: http://permaculturenews.org/2011/06/20/from-the-bottom-up-a-diy-guide-to-wicking-beds/

See the attached image. The right image is the one I learned about. I was told the purpose of the permeable barrier was to keep weeks from growing down into the pipe. But then I thought do you really need to have a pipe all the way through the bed? Couldn't the soil get down in the rocks without causing a problem (however this could create a backup when you're putting water in...might be better to have the barrier)? So my idea is on the left.

Since I've never done this kind of bed before I'm just wondering if anyone has tried it this way. Any thoughts?
wickingbedidea.jpg
[Thumbnail for wickingbedidea.jpg]
 
Robert Ray
gardener
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I used a barrier in the bed that I made. However I used scavenged corrugated drainpipe as the resevoir for the rock bed that you commonly see on You Tube.
Here is a link to the thread that shows my set up. Your set up should work just fine.

http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/40/1635?OWASP_CSRFTOKEN=OA9T-XJ0F-XQXD-SQ1R-T3K4-R5IK-J8PC-JP6L
 
Mark Livett
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From what I can understand (I have three very small wicking beds)

Soil which is not kept seperate from the gravel will end up being washed down into the gravel. This will clog up and prevent free moving flow and cause areas of little to no flow. These spots become anaerobic and smelly.

I am swapping out my gravel for large diameter irrigation tube. The rationale being that I am trying to create a reservoir of water in the bottom of the bed, not a reservoir of gravel. the gravel takes up a lot of the space that I would like to have filled with water.

The leaky pipe should have the strenght to hold the soil up, will allow the water to spread across the whole bottom of the bed and will increase the surface area of the interface between the water reservoir and the soil.
 
Robert Ray
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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That's the reason I used the corrugated pipe too. It increased the volume of water that was in the bed by using the pipe instead of just the space between the gravel.
 
Chris Dean
Posts: 108
Location: South New Mexico Mountains
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Mark Livett wrote:(And idea from Robert) I am swapping out my gravel for large diameter irrigation tube. The rationale being that I am trying to create a reservoir of water in the bottom of the bed, not a reservoir of gravel. the gravel takes up a lot of the space that I would like to have filled with water.


That makes sense! Do you leave the end under the soil opened or put a permeable barrier on it to keep roots from going in? Then just throw the soil on top. Any soil in particular?
 
Robert Ray
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Location: Cascades of Oregon
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I left both ends under the soil. There would have been no reason that I couldn't have left one end exposed and used that as the fill pipe.
 
Mark Livett
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I was intending to leave it open but I guess a sock could be put over the end.

As a permeable barrier I have been using shade cloth, weed mat and window screen, pretty much anything I have lying around really. I fully expect to have to change it at some stage as none of those items were meant to be kept permanently wet for long periods of time, others have told me they use vermiculte, or straw as a barrier. The weed mat may last a bit longer but I only used it because it was permeable, not to keep the weeds out, it isn't the woven plastic type of weed mat, just the felty material type.

I only just found out about them myself recently, I am not sure how long the modern ones have been running for but I would assume that the earth would need replenishing or the roots would need to be dug out eventually.
 
Rob Gray
Posts: 1
Location: SE Queensland Australia (subtropics)
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Hi there..
New to Permies but thought I would jump in this thread feet first as I have a yard filled with wicking beds & barrels..

Mark Livett wrote:I only just found out about them myself recently, I am not sure how long the modern ones have been running for but I would assume that the earth would need replenishing or the roots would need to be dug out eventually.


We have had some of our beds in for 4 or so years & they are still going strong.. We mainly plant annuals but treat some eggplant & chillies as perennials & have never had a problem with roots blocking up the pipe work.. We have red wrigglers in there as well so I think that any old roots are taken care of by the worms.. Every new seedling gets a healthy dose of vermicast placed under it when it goes in & the beds are now top dressed with a mix of vermicast, horse manure & mulch every new season.. We live in a subtropical region so have 2 seasons, HOT & cold so we grow year round

I post a bit on YouTube to help keep my sanity (stay at home dad) & have a play list of our wicking adventures if your interested..
Rob's You Tube Wicking beds, barrels & IBC play list..

Hope that helps some growers out there..
Cheers...
Rob..
 
allen lumley
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Rob G. Watched about 1/2 the play list and will be back for more thank you Big Al
 
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