Pros and Cons of Wicking Garden Beds

A wicking bed is also called a self-watering bed and this is something that is widely used by so many gardeners around the world. It is similar to the self-watering pot that has been around for a long time and works by having a reservoir of water below the planted area which is wicked into the soil above.

The first thing you need to understand is your gardening requirements. Knowing what you want to achieve will give you a better idea of whether wicking beds are the solution for you. If you are looking for a low maintenance garden system, this might just be your answer. With a wicking garden bed, you don’t need to water frequently owing to the water reservoir that is below the soil. So you can leave it as it is without tending to it for a short amount of time. For example, you can leave your plants unattended over a holiday without worrying that you will come back to a dead patch of plants. Also, if you have a busy lifestyle where you work long hours, it can be difficult to keep a normal garden where you have to water every day. While there are automated irrigation systems that can be activated by a timer, they can be quite expensive and a wicking bed is a cost-effective solution for this. You will still be able to enjoy having your own little garden even with a hectic lifestyle when you use a wicking bed.

The water in the reservoir can nourish the plants for several weeks notwithstanding the climate, location of the bed or the season. And this is seen as a sustainable way of planting as well. As it uses and stores water carefully, it is a common feature seen in green buildings. Then there are situations where it is not possible to plant in the ground such as under or around trees that have a large invasive root system. These roots absorb nutrients and water in the soil so that it becomes scarce for any other plant living nearby to absorb these vital elements. But these problems are solved with a wicking bed as it comes with its own reservoir and you can add the fertiliser you want to the soil as well. You will be able to utilise all the land space you have for planting. There are more opportunities to grow plants and you will be able to grow different varieties as well.

However, there are certain limitations to wicking beds. As the soil in a wicking bed will be constantly moist, it will not be a good environment for certain plants that require a wet and dry cycle. A build-up of fertiliser can happen due to the water collected in the wicking bed and there can be a high concentration of salt built-up in the soil which is harmful to roots. And as the water is moving upwards, excess salt will be shifted upwards as well and will collect at the upper layers of soil where you plant seedlings.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *