Saturday, May 30, 2015

Growing Veggies In Wicking Barrels


When turning over the soil of my garden beds recently I discovered these.
Tree roots from nearby gum trees had invaded my beds.

So I dug out the dirt and...

  out they go!

 We have replaced this bed with two barrels and two cut down curbside bins. 



This is how we did the wicking system.  
We followed Rob Bob's instructions on Youtube here

We had a couple of half barrels that could be used.  

We are hoping to get some more barrels at Paramount Browns in Adelaide when they become available. 
We bought some pvc pipe and ag pipe, 
and joined with an elbow and duct tape. 

This is how it looks in the barrel.


Next I made some socks out of weed cloth.

Here it is laid out on the table

Cut into two.

And sewn.

Then place over the ag pipe to prevent soil from falling into the gaps and blocking it up. Tie off the end.
I forgot to take a photo of the cloth over the pipe lol! So instead, this was taken when we were preparing J

 We brought in some rocks.

 These go in the bottom over the pipe like so.

Then hubby made the drainage hole.


 We placed some shade cloth on top of the rocks.

 Then added straw on top of the cloth.

 And topped with soil.

 Fill with water and check the drainage is working. 
Yes it is all good!

I planted some kale

 And garlic.

I have not had to water these for over a month.  We have had a little rain during this time, so this has helped to keep them damp. 
The plants are now doing really well.


Wicking barrels are a fantastic way to save water especially in drier climates like we experience here.

Have you tried wicking beds for gardening? If so, were they successful?


25 comments:

  1. I remember reading about the roots invading your raised gardens, Tania. What type of business is Paramount Browns as that might give me a clue as to where to buy the barrels? Our watersaver garden has sprung a leak so we are using it as just a raised garden at present until we have the energy to move the soil. Rob Bob has a great garden doesn't he? You will love the new barrels I am sure and will save so much water.

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    1. All the garden beds will be going Nanna Chel. I hope to transfer the whole garden area to these types of beds and the baths that I have will hopefully be made into wicking beds too. We are not sure if we are able to do it with the baths yet.

      If you click on Robs link Nanna Chel I think he says where he gets his barrels in the first couple of minutes. I just looked and he says he sources his barrels from a local produce store. Maybe if you contact him, he will be able to advise you where to get them in Queensland. Let me know if he cannot be contacted and I will send him a message through facebook. Yes Rob does have a fantastic garden, and I love watching his videos.

      xTania

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    2. I will see if he has an email address, Tania. We might have the same company here as where he gets his from. These would be easier for us to manage as we get older too as there is less digging. I have a couple of eskies I am going to make wicking beds out of too.

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    3. Eskies would be good too, so are old fridges I have heard. Although they may be a bit big for you to handle. I saw a fridge recently with fish in the freezer part and veggies in the fridge part. They were using the fertilised water from the fish to water the veggies. Similar to aquaponics :)

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    4. I did find this email address on Robs webpage Nanna Chel, might be worth a try :)

      rb@bitsouttheback.net

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    5. I did find this email address on Robs webpage Nanna Chel, might be worth a try :)

      rb@bitsouttheback.net

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  2. Hi Tania, I have heard of these but not tried them. I know they conserve water so they should be great for you. Well done on all the work you have invested in this.
    I have been pruning. I have a lot of roses to prune and doing a bit each week until the green bin is full anyway. I know if I do this well we will have a much better garden in spring! Love Annabel.xxx

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    1. Hi Annabel, These barrels would be great for growing some herbs in an inconspicuous part of the yard. I was thinking of putting strawberries in one to see how they go.

      I can imagine your garden being a real pretty cottage type one. Just what I have always dreamed of. Roses do grow here, but need lots of loving care. They are Phil's favourite flower so convincing him to plant some will be easy :)

      xTania

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  3. Hi tania,
    These are a great idea! Specially when limited on some space!
    I'll have to give these a go sometime
    Thanks for sharing
    Anne

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    1. They are aren't they Anne? And for sure they would be perfect for when space is limited.

      Thanks for dropping by,
      xTania

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  4. Never heard of them before. I'll have to do a bit of research. Not that water is a problem here!

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    1. No water is definitely not a problem where you live Kev :)

      I had tried this method before in garden beds but the tree roots soon found their way to the moisture, so this barrel system is the only way to beat them.

      Thank you for your comment,
      xTania

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  5. I like this idea. Have never heard nor seen it before though. Something to think about for the future.

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    1. Definitely something to think about Gill. I guess you don't have a water problem where you live, but cutting down the costs on water bills is always a bonus :)

      xTania

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  6. Im surprised that wicking beds are not commonly known about. I could do a similar thing with my iron raised bed by inserting a bladder but at the moment im not up to emptying them. Im sure i will at some point. Well done Tania, yet again.

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    1. I think the wicking beds are starting to become fairly well known around here. We have learn to devise ways of cutting down water usage as the fees are outrageous in South Australia, my last bill was $900+ for three months!!

      Your idea sounds like a good one, hope you give it a go and share your progress :)

      xTania

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  7. What a great idea for a dry climate.

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    1. It is definitely a great idea Country Mum! We have known about this method for a while and should have tried it sooner.

      xTania

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  8. Hmmm, this makes more sense than other versions I have seen - am book-marking this post to come back to and study up in depth.

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    1. Hi Phil, I hope you have a try using the wicking barrels. I don't know how much water you use in the garden and what the cost is, but it should definitely help to lower the bill.

      I am determined not to give up, as I know the health benefit of growing our own food. I think this method is pretty foolproof from what I have seen on other blogs.

      xTania

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  9. Tania that's some serious hard slog there, but it looks like it's well worthwhile. You should be very proud of what you're achieving under difficult conditions there. Mimi xxx

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  10. They look fantastic. I haven't tried wicking beds. Maybe one day lol

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  11. Thanks for sharing the "how to" on the wicking barrels.
    Blessings,
    Mrs.B

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  12. Fantastic,
    no, I didn't try it yet but I think I've to. Would be perfect for my tomatoes. Thank you for sharing! Have a happy happy time and all my best from an Austrian gardener
    Elisabeth

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  13. Hi Tania, I have only just read this blog. Our computer was down for quite a while so a lot of catching up is happening here. In South Africa we also experience very dry conditions at times, but this year we have decided to try your Geoff Lawton's way of preparing soil and planting our veg. So far the bits with wood chips and hay has worked. Might be good to watch some of his video's on the topic of permaculture, there are some very worthwhile ideas.

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I love reading your comments! Through them, I have learnt that there are some truly lovely people out there. Thank you :)