Wicking garden beds are a great way to garden without having to water them frequently. Watering is one of the main maintenance tasks you will be required to carry out and this can be difficult to do when you have a busy schedule. But with a wicking garden bed, you can reduce the frequency of watering it as it comes with its own water reservoir.
You can find raised planter boxes that comewith a wicking system built in to them.
You need to understand how the wicking system works so that you know what to do and what not to do. These work through capillary action where the water from the reservoir is drawn upwards into the planting medium. This ensures that the plants are provided with water consistently. But you need to monitor the moisture levels so that you know when to add water to the reservoir again. You should first choose the right planter box. Look for boxes made of durable materials that are non-toxic. Some examples for ideal planter materials are redwood or food grade plastic. Make sure that the size of the planter is appropriate for the plant you intend to grow in it.
The planter then has to be prepared for planting.
Make sure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions when assembling it. You need to layer the planter properly to make sure the system works. There has to be a drainage layer at the bottom consisting of gravel, small stones or drainage fabric. You need to make sure this doesn’t block the reservoir outlet. Then the wicking medium has to be added. The medium you choose should have excellent capillary action and a good medium for this is perlite. You can spread this over the drainage layer ensuring even distribution. And then you need to choose a quality planting mix that contains nutrient rich soil with good drainage. This should be chosen according to the plants you plan togrow. There has to be some space between the planting mix and the top of the planter so that it doesn’t overflow when you water.
You need to be careful when planting as the right plant should be chosen.
Look for a plant variety that will grow well in the size of planter you have chosen. And make sure you place the planter in a location that gets sufficient light depending on the requirements of the plant. You can also add some mulch on top of the planting mix. This will prevent weeds from growing and it is also a great way to make sure that moisture is retained. Wood chips or straw can be good options for mulch. Wicking planters need some maintenance to be done even though you don’t need to water them every day. You need to check the moisture levels in the planting mix in the beginning to get an idea of when to water. And you will need to check the reservoir from time to time to check that there is enough water to maintain capillary action. You will need to prune the plants regularly to ensure their health and harvest any mature produce. It is a good idea to rotate crops so that soil health is improved.