Mr D has been busy completing his AQF4 in Training and as part of this had to put together a training session for his class mates. The topic just had to be something of interest and so chose Wicked Beds (B1 had also suggested it).
Anyway, rather than reinvent the wheel, I have taken parts of the presentation to show how they work. The basic idea of a wicked bed is to provide water from the bottom up. A lot like your decor plant pots.
There are lots of ways to go about it however we used a bath tub. Keep your costs to a minimum when experimenting.
After this, you need to build a supporting frame. Mr D tried to use as many materials as possible already on hand.
Next, you need to assemble your plumbing. One pipe supplies water to the roots and the other is an overflow pipe to stop the bed flooding. Not many plants like wet feet.
You need to then shovel/ place your rubble (Mr D used a medium sized blue metal) and shape it around your pipes.
After this, you will place a barrier layer over the rubble. This is to stop the dirt coming in contact with the rubble and water. The barrier used here is a geo-textile which is known for it’s wicking capabilities.
Fill the bath almost to the top with your soil mixture. A good soil mixed with compost and mulch. It’s now time to plant some seeds/ seedlings. Plants that have worked well in our wicked beds are beetroot, eggplant, parsley, radish and strawberries.
Now fill the reservoir until the bath tub overflows. Water from the top as well as this will start the wicking process. There is no need to water the top after this. You simply top up the reservoir every now and then. When there is no rain, I probably top up once a week.
I planted mint and chamomile under the overflow. Both plants were doing really well until our latest batch of chicks demolished them.
This is the second summer with wicked beds and currently I have strawberries, eggplant, beetroot, coriander (which bolted straight away as usual) and capsicum (which has not been successful this time due to the cool summer).
Give it a go!