New wicking bed

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by ditch witch, Aug 22, 2015.


  1. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Ever since I saw RobBobs YT video of his wicking beds I'd been wanting to build a few, and today we finally got one set up. Several years ago I did a version of this in some old clawfoot bathtubs I have in the backyard, with incredible results, however the plug I used to seal up the bottom drain eventually gave out on both and I've cleverly avoided digging them both out by pretending nothing is wrong with either one.

    The design is simple enough. Take a container, build a water reservoir in it, run media down into it, put in a drain hole somewhere so it doesn't get too full of water, and get to planting. For those of us in arid (well not this year, but anyway) regions it's a way to keep the water restricted to what you want to grow with minimal evaporation. It also stymies the wire grass.

    This is the top 1/3d off an IBC tote. The 4" perforated drain pipe will serve as a water conduit as well as reservoir. Leaving a well in the center for the wicking sand.
    rsz_20150821_172228.

    I used zip ties and a piece of landscape fabric over the end to help keep gravel and whatnot out of this end of the pipe.
    rsz_20150821_172746.

    Filled the outer perimeter with pea gravel which will provide support for the upper layers while allowing the water through. I would have preferred a larger rock but we have a trailer load of pea gravel so that's what I used. You can see our drain hole there in the right hand corner about an inch above the gravel. I realized that was a bit high after the fact so we tapped another one about an inch lower.
    rsz_20150821_174045.

    Over this goes landscape fabric, which will allow water to pass through but keep the sand from filtering all down through the gravel.
    rsz_20150821_174754.

    Next comes the sand. A nearby sand and gravel place let me have sand for $1 per 5 gallon bucket, which beat the $7 and change a bag that Wallyworld wanted for playsand and $3.something a bag at Home Depot, and beat the hell out of me digging it up at the nearest riverbed. The sand pushes down into the well in the center and rises about 3-4 inches above the gravel layer.
    rsz_20150821_175903.

    Next comes a layer of mulch about 4-6 inches thick. You don't want to put dirt on the sand because it will stay wet and you'll get all kinds of ick in there as it can create an anaerobic space. The mulch will eventually degrade down but it won't have the same issues as soil will in that spot.
    rsz_20150822_132816.

    And finally comes the dirt, which fills the bed to the top for now. This will settle down a lot over the winter but that's ok because I'll add lots of rabbit poo to the top of this as it sinks.

    rsz_20150822_133714.
    By spring this will be ready to plant. Once the plants are established I can water through the drain pipe that sticks up. I'll go back later tonight and strap some mesh over that so the frogs and critters stay out, and maybe set a couple of rabbit cages over it so they can get to work adding poo, but for now that's one project down.

    And here's the video that got me on this.
     
  2. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    ....and here I read that as wicked bed....:rolleyes:
     
  3. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

    [chopper][chopper]
    VERY cool DW!!
     
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  4. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    If you guys NOTICED, All those Containers were cut down Water Totes, like I have been giving away for the last few years....
     
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  5. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    BT if you were closer I'd take every container you had. Those things have a million uses beyond just holding water. I made an automatic chicken waterer out of one that has saved me untold hours of cleaning and refilling chicken waterers.
     
  6. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    I'd take at least two, myself.
     
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Check at your local airport. Deicing fluid comes in those totes, you might be able to score a couple.
     
  8. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    How high is that? About 2 feet? Amazing project @ditch witch. Really awesome job.
     
  9. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    Great project DW!!
     
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  10. Yard Dart

    Yard Dart Vigilant Monkey..... Moderator Site Supporter++

    If you did score some of these totes that had deicing fluid, what would be the best way to clean them and remove any contaminants?
     
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  11. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Not at all sure they would need much other than power washing. I believe the fluids are people safe and non toxic. Worth checking, certainly before using for water storage. @BTPost might shed some light.
     
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  12. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey Site Supporter+

  13. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Checking with a former AP Firemen (also control toxic spills etc) safe as can be since the runoff is not a controlled toxin.
     
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  14. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    Yeah about 2 ft high.
    I ended up planting some cool season stuff in it last night. Lettuces, spinach, some beets, carrots, plus some green onions I had on the window sill for the tops. I'm a little late on a fall garden but our earliest frost date is Oct 31 so I might can pull it off if I toss a little cold frame on it.
     
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  15. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    How did it handle the deluge this summer?
     
  16. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    Off topic but Dawn dish detergent is amazing stuff. It really has stripping power and can be used to removing oil from bird to neutralizing and stripping a bad hair dye job.
     
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  17. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey Site Supporter

    Wait until it sets (the Dawn) for a couple of years, the petroleum base separates and is a smelly mess.

    Use in less than a year and it is great product.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2015
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just a NOTE, here: Dawn and Joy are great for dealing with Oils. HOWEVER, Never EVER have it on a Boat that might be inspected by the USCG.... They think that these products are only used to disperse "Oil Spills" and are a Sure Sign, that YOU are an "Oil Polluter".... Word to the wise.....
     
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  19. ditch witch

    ditch witch resident bacon hoarder Site Supporter+

    I just set it up yesterday. The overflow drain should take care of any serious rainfall, can always tap another one if it's not enough.

    I have a deeper tote I had potatoes in but I forgot to leave the drain open and they rotted before I realized they were sitting in a foot of waterlogged straw. :/
     
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  20. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Moderator Moderator Site Supporter++

    What? where is the overflow drain? Or is it that one/two holes?
     
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