The garden beds are made from a hardwood, 5 metres by 1.2 metres. They are massive.
At the bottom of each bed is a level base of clean sand for the lining to rest upon, and so that no stones pierce a hole through it when the weight of all the gravel and compost is in the bed.
Michael had already stapled the liner to one of the two beds that he and his family had constructed. We then laid down the geo-textile, which assists with the wicking action.
Here is Carmen and Bunty posing in front of the bed before we placed down the fabric. Lovely ladies, and both keen gardeners.
This is the second bed, which we managed to partly finish. It doesn't show in this picture, but we managed to staple in the liner ready for the fabric and watering tube.
So once the fabric was put in place, we laid a pre-drilled long piece of 50mm pipe along the bottom with an elbow and riser at one end and a cap at the other. The riser is for watering the bed. Then we piled on about 40 cm of small stone gravel over the pipe. Even Ben helped out!
At this stage I got a bit busy helping out, so there are no more photos. I will describe what happened next.
After placing the drainage pipe (overflow) on top of the gravel, we then folded over the remaining fabric to form a barrier. Then we piled on compost from a massive compost heap that Michael made about a month ago. The heap was taller than an adult, and it was steaming hot inside and well broken down. We only made a small dent in it by filling up the wicking bed.
Then it was time to go home. I think that Michael was going to plant leeks into the completed bed, which he had grown from seedlings. During the workshop, he mentioned that he was planning to make 18 of these beds. He will be set for vegetables for the whole year with that much growing space!
It was great fun, and all the attendees learnt how to put one of these together. Looking forward to checking in of Michael to see how his garden is progressing.
A few seasons ago, I made a wicking bed, but much smaller in size. I used sand instead of gravel, but the principle is still the same. All the culinary herbs and the ficus tree that I planted into it are still growing strong and we had no problems over our very hot summer. I believe that this type of raised garden bed is going to be essential in our increasingly hotter summers. It prevents evaporation, as it is not watered from above, and the plants respond well to having ready access to the water reservoir. It usually needs to be topped up only once a week.
Have any of you seen this type of bed before, and what was it made of?