Growing Your Own Food in a Wicking Bed

Wicking beds offer a way of saving water in your garden and they provide an easy way of growing vegetables. Most of us live hectic lifestyles where work hours are longer which means there is not enough time to carry out maintenance work or even gardening work. But there are low maintenance gardening options that are available for even the busiest individuals and people who live in dry climates where it is difficult to maintain gardens.

It can be so satisfying to grow vegetables and herbs on your own so that you can add to your own food supply. Edible gardens are great for urban dwellers as you can decide on the size. There are planter boxes that use the same wicking technology so you don’t need to build a wicking bed on your own. You first need to find out where to locate the wicking bed. This will depend on the amount of sunlight needed by the plants you are growing. Many people tend to grow herbs and small plants outside the kitchen window as there is a close water supply as well. The wicking bed is a closed system where the container is made airtight using pond liner. And there is an inlet pipe to fill the reservoir of water below the soil layer.

Wicking beds are not connected to the earth, therefore you will need to add in fertiliser. But you have to be careful about doing so because it can be so easy to over-fertilise. This is because excess nutrients will not drain away like in a normal in-ground garden as the wicking bed is contained. You can use compost and worm castings. You can either create compost in your backyard or if you live in an apartment, you can purchase some. Some of the vegetables you can plant in the wicking bed are kale, tomatoes, celery, chillies and sweet corn. These can be grown in the summer. In the winter, you can focus on cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, celery and cauliflower. You can also plant perennial vegetables such as horseradish and asparagus. Homegrown herbs can be great additions to your meals and you can grow mint, thyme, tarragon and lemon balm.

Not many fruits can be grown in wicking beds as many are designed to be quite shallow. But if you have a deeper wicking bed or planter box, you can try growing fruits in it just like you would in a regular pot. While you can purchase wicking beds for convenience, you can also try your hand at building one. For example, if you happen to have an old water tank in your property, it can be easily used for a wicking bed. You need to consider the root system and the depth of the container needed if you are interested in growing fruits. It is best to look for trees that can survive even in constricted plots or trees with dwarfing rootstock. You can also try your hand at growing crops that bear fruit underground such as onions, carrots and potatoes.

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