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Wicking raised bed

Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1331
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Has anyone tried a wicking raised bed?
Basically a raised bed with pond liner insert. The bottom portion filled with gravel, weed barrier on top of the gravel and the planting soil on top of the weed barrier.  A permanent fill pipe is installed through the weed barrier into the gravel and water is used to fill the gravel portion of the bed. the bed then wicks the water to the plants and you do not need to irrigate from the top. Weed barrier prevents soil from filling between the gravel yet allows water to migrate. Was curious to see if there was any first hand experience.


"There is enough in the world for everyones needs, but not enough for everyones greed"
(Buckman)
                          


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
Try www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090217125723.htm

Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new
    -ALBERT EINSTEIN-
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1782
    
  11
Instead of pond liner don't you mean something that allows water to move both ways. 

Just making sure I'm following you.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    9
we had something like that before our housefire but lost the bed in the constuction..it worked well to keep the bed moist


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1331
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
The raised bed would be lined with pond liner to keep the water within the bed.
Gravel, weed barrier and planting soil on top of the liner. I have heard that some use an overflow to keep the water at the heighth of the gravel.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
depending on soil, theres no need for liners, or substitutes for purchased material can be found.

pigs will compact clay soils to an impervious bowl if penned and on deep clays (at least 2 feet beneath bottom of your pond. you must use a electric fence around the pen which is low enough that their ears wont go under it if they walk forward and high enough that they can push stones and other things they find undesireable out of thier way. about. expect 3-4" of excavation per pig at a density of 1 200# pig per 80sf, but you have to feed them lean so they want to dig in for roots and grubs. they'll do a foot of digging in a week at that density if they can shove the tailings out of the pen. perhaps faster if theres deep, tasty roots like comfrey, blackberry, gobo, etc.

barring use of pigs, you can dig and pound bowl with a pole mounted on concrete filled coffee can, but thats ambitious work. more on that in a bit.

rather than pounding, my folks dug and lined over an inch of imported betonite with upside down used carpet . that pond held 2500 gallons and had a thriving aquaculture that the owners ate sunfish, bluegill andcrappie from... thy werent interested in waterplant edibles, but many cattail and wattercress were both present. it was about 12 years old when it was disassembled during thier remodel.  (whether is this recycling or littering may be of issue, but  im just presenting options to set up your barrier and dropping a tangent-  comping liners envirohazard links to used carpets envirohazards is someone elses special topic ) back to the raised bed.

I have my outdoor kitchens roof collection and sinks aimed at a series of raised beds. its half built and will be one of the design projects I wrap up in feb- march.

the rooftopwater is collected in a barrel; kitchen discharge will be through a greasetrap and a settling tank. both will charge  a pounded clay trench that is filled with loose gravel. I have one of these in another location that is 4 years old and working marvelously. the clay must be several inches deep and compacted. the trench should be 8-10" deep and 14-20" wide, and filled with gravel. I use pea gravel and lava gravel, the red stuff for landscaping. it must be somewhat protected for the system must endure roots, etc, so ive located it underpathways. thus plant growth is somewhat curtailed. it delivers water, via subsurface flow to three basins in my new berry garden.

each of the basins is actually a raised bed; I dug them in late spring, let them dessicate over the summer, wetted them just enough to mix sand inon the three hotest days of the year, 104, 105 and 107.  and then piled in woody debris. the slow drying clay sand does not crack much under the shade of damp wood.  pounding clay, mixing clay and sand, burying two cords of wood... it was good hard labor. the clay dried well, but not too fast, as it was under the wood. on the wood (fireplace sized rounds and splits) I placed branch trims from paths, etc, greens and all, then threw on 4-6" hot compost mixed with soil, covered with large appliance boxes, 12" of straw and twigs... after piled, the beds are about 14-18 high, 5' across, and total perhaps 250-300 sf.

the basins will collect water from the kitchen during the driest time of the year, which is also when we use the kitchen most due to its coolness. the water, mingling with the woody debris, will create acidic soils. so were planting them up with vaccinium- blueberries, etc., and will build guilds around them. the system also delivers to a grape which has been established for 20+ years. were adding another 300 sf of these beds for raspberries, currants and so on. the wood acts like a sponge, holding the moisture. the clay stops infiltration; ive got two of these that have been working for over a decade; we built them ages ago, but
in a poor location. they work, but its really not access by proximity to z1-2 of our project, so were putting these in now.

Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
neat. a giant self watering container! I think you would definitly need an overflow for the gravel bed unless you live in an area that is extrememly dry where you must do all irrigation. this might go in my plan for my raised carrot bed. since carrots are so picky about soil and moisture. at least to get nice uniform ones.


[img]http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n52/havlik1/permie%20pics2/permiepotrait3pdd.jpg[/img]

"One cannot help an involuntary process. The point is not to disturb it. - Dr. Michel Odent
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1331
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
I guess I'll see next year, I made two 4x8 beds  last week just before the snow began. Now it looks as if I'm limited to working in the greenhouses for a few months.
I did see plans for these beds on instructables.com if anyone is interested.
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1782
    
  11
Is this what you followed at instructables.com?

http://www.instructables.com/id/An-Improved-Raised-Bed-Garden/
An Improved Raised Bed Garden
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1331
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
No Jamie,
  It is http://www.instructables.com/id/Wicking-Beds/
Jami McBride
volunteer

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1782
    
  11
Thanks for the link.....  I was having trouble finding it for some reason.

Great info.
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
"We built our wicking beds using a combination of suggested methods, as follows:
The sleepers, soil, mushroom compost, and rocks were delivered to the front of the house, and carried by the two of us to the north garden, at the back of the house! Still, even with the hard labour, we get great satisfaction from working in the garden and, like all passionate gardeners, we take deep pleasure in nurturing, 'knowing', eating, and sharing our abundant harvests with our excellent neighbours."

from the http://www.instructables.com/id/Wicking-Beds/ site.

the woody debris is innoculated in mine, natuirally as its fire woods that was never  used and sat in the rain for 6 winters... I did put large rocks in the soil, as stepping stones, and per Holzer's comments on thier use in wicking water and storing heat....

in all, it looks like we have the same soil building method for such beds. if I can find a way to code my website for it, and an intern, Ill put up and link pictures in time.

thansk for the link!!
Kelda Miller


Joined: Jun 30, 2007
Posts: 763
    
    1
We built a similar bed at the Redmond Permaculture Course. Pond liner on bottom, then gravel, then mud with plants. The pondliner extends off to the right (in this picture), as that's where the design calls for a veggie-washing station. The idea is that water from the veggie wash will fill the bed and keep it moist enough to be marsh-like. You can see the herb spiral in the background. The marsh-bed addition means that water plants can be included.



Divine Earth Gardening Project
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
it looks as if thats a slight uphill slope in the background and  to the left... does the landscape charge it as if it were a swale? what ive built is raised higher, a wicking hugelkulture of sorts...it doesnt have a liner... the vege washstation idea is very similar to our design. is the garden that feeds the vege washing station to the right/downslope slightly?

thats all design detail talk. what really needs said is BEAUTIFUL!
Leah Sattler


Joined: Jun 26, 2008
Posts: 2603
Deston Lee wrote:


thats all design detail talk. what really needs said is BEAUTIFUL!


I concur!
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
More photos please
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  Jenifer hall says more photos please and that reminds me of wsomthign i wanted to say about gardens when someone asked how to start theirs- The method hair dressers is good they show you photos of different hair cuts and ask you which one you like look at fotos of gardens but be carefull identify which is the part of the photo you like or you will end up putting in the part you don't like.
    Gardens develop it starts to get easier to find places for thigns when they are fuller not less easy. I think of colours when i am planting trees the colours of their leaves if you pain a grey leafed tree is probably the equivilent of a bluer leaved tree than a green leaved tree is, not ice the different colour greens of the trees and that helps you have colour with out flowers. Cactus gardens can have incredible contrasting greys yellow and such cactuses. Junipers come in variouse colours and they have lots of winter berries for the birds.
    Another bit of advice is put in allsorts of ideas and then take out the ones you don't like, you can't  find out howthigns go with out just trying them.
  their are lots of good gardening books really glossy ones with lots of pictures in them that are very relatively cheap others are expensive.  At lleast there are in Madrid.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
  So, to simplify, a raised bed like those special flower pots that have a compartment at the bottom for keeping water in so you only need to water them once a week,

  and
  wicking  like that other systen for watering pots in the holidays when you aren't there, that consists of putting your oots next to a bucket full of water and taking bits of cloth and hanging one end in the water and the other in the soil of the pot because the water will move along the cloth, by capillary action i suppose, and into your pots.

    A canlde works because the melted wax moves up the wick, The Australian, Amercan use of the word wicking is interesting, using it for all seeping along materials that allow for capillary action. Chinese paint brushes wick up or take up a lot of ink by capillary action which is held in the fat many haired part of the brush behind its tiny point.

    Cool idea in a hot country. The water would have trouble evaporating out from under the beds so you would not have to use much. agri rose macaskie.
Robert Ray
volunteer

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 1331
Location: Cascades of Oregon
    
  12
Exactly, my soil is extremely porous so water runs thgrough it like a sieve. The ability to keep it under the bed longer will hopefully be a successful experiment.
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
Aha, so these beds include water harvesting your soil loses water quick and with the plastic at the bottom of the bed it can't go far, another reason for wicked raised beds. agri rose macaskie.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
I have some of those pots and am making another one now out of a big old punch bowel.
Paul Cereghino
volunteer

Joined: Jan 11, 2010
Posts: 849
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
    
  15
A similar animal has been used in native plant salvage and propagation... called 'capillary beds'.  The water level is controlled by an overflow that allows surface soil to remain wet but aerobic.  The wet layer is not gravel, but sand or just soil.  Good for holding salvaged stock without having to water every day.  We have used viscline as teh liner where users are careful.
http://depts.washington.edu/propplnt/2003guidelines/group3/CAPILLARY_BEDS_AND_WET_BEDS.htm


Paul Cereghino- Stewardship Institute
Maritime Temperate Coniferous Rainforest - Mild Wet Winter, Dry Summer
Travis Philp
volunteer

Joined: Dec 28, 2009
Posts: 951
Location: ZONE 5a Lindsay Ontario Canada
    
    8
I stay away from plastic pond liners because it's likely that they will leach harmful synthetic chemicals into the soil and water.

I find sheet mulching to work quite well. There is extremely sandy soil here, and thanks to sheet mulching I've found that even during rainless periods of about 3 weeks I didn't have to water except to germinate seeds and ensure that seedlings didn't dry out. The soil under the top mulch stays moist through these dry periods. This is the case with a wide variety of vegetables which I've tried from root to fruit crops.




http://www.greenshireecofarms.com
Zone 5a in Central Ontario, Canada
richie Walsh


Joined: Sep 15, 2010
Posts: 16
Location: Zone 7 Dublin. Ireland
Travis Philp wrote:
I stay away from plastic pond liners because it's likely that they will leach harmful synthetic chemicals into the soil and water.






I was thinking the exact same thing when I heard of the Idea.

I was also wondering if people are concerned about the tape and the ink in cardboard when using it for sheet mulch.

I'm going to be experimenting with sheet mulch next season for the first time, but I am feeling a bit cautious about the ill effects of the chemicals in the ink. I do plan to remove the tape although I have watched countless youtube videos of people spreading the cardboard with the tape still attached, and people using white cardboard which must have been bleached.

Any thoughts?
Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
my thoughts re: toxic chemicals in pod liners paints ect
1) we get plenty of exposure to toxics through the air we breath and everyday contact with th stuff of life
2) kept moist in the solid is the best place for these toxics to find something on the foodchain that will absorb them and render them non toxic
3) plenty of naturally created toxins out there too
so its a balance of risks and work, I try not to worry about anything less risky to me than taking a shower that is to say if the risk of serious injury statistically is less than the approximately 1-10000 chance I will dies by slipping and cracking my head in the shower I shrug ignore the risk and move on with my life cause the stress of worrying about it is more likely to affect my health than it is.
richie Walsh


Joined: Sep 15, 2010
Posts: 16
Location: Zone 7 Dublin. Ireland
brice Moss wrote:
my thoughts re: toxic chemicals in pod liners paints ect
1) we get plenty of exposure to toxics through the air we breath and everyday contact with th stuff of life
2) kept moist in the solid is the best place for these toxics to find something on the foodchain that will absorb them and render them non toxic
3) plenty of naturally created toxins out there too
so its a balance of risks and work, I try not to worry about anything less risky to me than taking a shower that is to say if the risk of serious injury statistically is less than the approximately 1-10000 chance I will dies by slipping and cracking my head in the shower I shrug ignore the risk and move on with my life cause the stress of worrying about it is more likely to affect my health than it is.


OK sure, we get plenty of of exposure to toxins through the air, but just for that reason shouldn't we try to minimise the other toxins in our lives?

And when the toxins rot down into the food chain (in our veggie beds) is it not rotting down into our food?

And also what about the permaculture ethic of care for the soil? shouldn't we be doing our best to keep toxins out of the earth instead of intentionally putting them in? I know when I dig up a piece of plastic twine from a previous renter of my allotment, I always take a moment to pick it up and put it in my pocket. I think it is always good to remove plastic, and not put it in.
Brice Moss


Joined: Jul 28, 2010
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
    
    2
lets reroute the talk about low grade toxins over here http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/5497_0/permaculture/how-to-deal-with-low-grade-toxins so this thread stays on topic please
 
 
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