Self-watering w/ gravelbed

maidmarionetteMay 13, 2012

Hi all!

I was roaming around Youtube (as one does) and got onto all the self-watering techniques (I LOVE my homemade Earth-box-type thing!).

The Self-watering gutter set up with the float was cool- but I was wondering if anyone has tried the...Aussie?... technique of the wicking bed?

Now this is NOT "wicking" as in using some kind of cloth or string wick that dangles in some water... what they are calling a wicking bed is more like an earthbox - a vessel/box/bucket with a water reservoir at the bottom that you fill through a watering tube. There's an overflow hole to ensure you don't overfill...

The difference is that an earthbox has a perforated platform dividing the container inside into a space for water below and a space for potting mix above.

These wicking beds use a bed of sand or gravel. The pipe fills the gravel with water and the potting mix is sitting on top of the gravel - no divider.

I'm looking for feedback from anyone who has used this system (If I'm not explaining it well, you can go to youtube and search for WICKING BED GARDEN). It just strikes me as so much easier than making an earthbox! Just get a container, lay your flex pipe, throw in the gravel, throw in the dirt and GO.

Anyone tried this technique?


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As far as I can see the only effect of the gravel is to reduce the amount of water and require more be added frequently. Al

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 9:23AM
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the ones ive seen they use landscape fabric on top of the gravel, which keeps the fine particules from working down into the gravel.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:19AM
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This is similar to what I am building. Based on family handyman article about SIP planter - design looks like this.
However there is no gravelbed. They are putting potting mix around the flexible drain pipes and there is no separation between the water and the potting mix about it. The potting mix around the pipes will be saturated with water, but the roots wont go into the drain pipes (which have cotton cloth on it). I am thinking of putting landscape fabric between the two layers though and cut it open in some parts to have good wicking.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:48AM
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My earthbox-type thing is a rubbermaid bin one made into an earthboxy thing by following directions on Youtube. It's GREAT. As long as the reservoir is kept full, the plants take what they need - my understanding of the gravel bed was that IT was the reservoir..
Maybe I misunderstood it?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 12:57AM
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