An Even Better Way to Build Wicking Garden Beds – A Cracker of an Idea!!

From challenges, great ideas can come!!

One of the Green Square, community’s raised garden beds, has deteriorated – to the point it needs to be replaced.  You wouldn’t believe just how much research, discussion and community / council consultation the drivers of the Green Square Growers has put into coming up with a solution.

The raised garden bed was made from recycled wood.  The bed uses ‘wicking reservoir’ technology that we built inside the garden bed.  The bed also has an inbuilt worm farm.

Wicking Garden Bed - how it works diagram

Wicking Garden Bed – ‘how it works’ diagram. 

The above diagram shows the wicking garden bed design.  The challenge we have had with this design, came from the tremendous outward pressure from the water reservoir, causing the wood to bow and bend (over time).

Making smaller wicking garden beds (1 m x 1m) can help to limit the bowing of the wood but we weren’t happy with this solution.

Then Sabena and her husband Peter came up with a cracker of an idea!  Instead of using builders plastic in the wicking bed design, use a large food grade plastic container (which can be recycled and rescued from landfill).

These food grade plastic contains, are selling on Ebay (2nd hand).

These food grade plastic contains, are selling on Ebay (2nd hand).

These containers will make the whole garden bed structure stronger, less prone to leaking and hence last longer.  If repairs to the wood is needed in the future, we can easily replace the wood – as it is not part of the structure but really only has an aesthetic purpose (making the raised garden bed look pretty and traditional).

The Green Square Growers, plan to build either two or three beds together (with the timber frame built around all of the containers together – giving the illusion of one big bed).

Each garden bed will be approximately 1.3 metres x 1.1 metres.  If two are position together, then the total bed size will be 2.6 metres x 1.1 meters.  If three beds are position together, then the total bed size will be 3.9 meters x 1.1 meters.

The new raised garden bed design will require a small wooden ‘lip’ at the top to hide the plastic container – however this is only for aesthetic purposes too.

What do you think of Sabena and Peter’s cracker of an idea?

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9 thoughts on “An Even Better Way to Build Wicking Garden Beds – A Cracker of an Idea!!

  1. Great idea. I’m a big fan of wicking beds but I’ve also had issues with leaks in the liners and had to excavate to repair – not fun. These crates don’t have that issue.

    It sounds like the crates will be clad in wood which is great, just be careful that you do shield all the plastic from sunlight. They are not UV stable and will deteriorate/leak. I have read of this problem among the aquaponics crowds who love to use these crates. Waste wood is great for this and will last a long time as not in contact with the ground or soil.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Cameron! Thanks for the heads up regarding sunlight on the containers. The design will have the containers totally covered but we will make extra sure now. Thankyou ☺

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  2. Pingback: An Even Better Way to Build Wicking Garden Beds – A Cracker of an Idea!! | Greener Me | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

    • Julie wicking beds differ from traditional beds i.e. no drainage holes. The container will hold water in storage instead of water draining away. The water and soil is separated by gravel and gio textile fabric. Plants source their water then from below instead of top via watering. There will be however an overflow valve for days of endless raining. Thanks Julie we hope it is a great recycling idea too.

      Liked by 1 person

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