The new Wicking Bed

Wicking Bed

For those of you passing through Charlton Station recently, you may have been wondering why one of our raised beds has been emptied. It is temporary. We are creating a Wicking Bed.

What is a wicking bed you may ask…………
It is a system using a reservoir of water under the soil / growing medium which allows the water to permeate up though the soil. It also encourages root growth towards it. It can be made in a number of different ways There are numerous examples on You tube, mostly being demonstrated by people with American or Australian accents but none YET with south east London accent.
Keeping our raised beds suitably watered during dry periods is a real challenge. This is not to undervalue the dedication of our regular summer waterers, but if it makes it easier………

Why a wicking bed?
Trial a system to help with watering challenges
Commonly used to very dry climates eg California and Australia
Conserves water; less evaporation
Our aims – to ‘educate’ could be useful for other community gardens where regular watering is problematic.

How we are progressing

The bed has been emptied of soil, achieved with the labour and energy of GoodGym.
The bed has been lined with sand, felt and pond liner then filled with gravel and initial pipe work.

Next steps

To add more gravel, fit a membrane and then refill with soil; again assisted by GoodGym.

THEN – plant up…….. and observe. The real test will be during the dryer summer months.

We have lots of photos and some video and maybe will even get our South East London YouTube “ how to make a wicking bed” One to look out for………..

wicking bed sketch

But for now, a rough sketch  followed by some photos.

wicking bed sketch

Preparing for GoodGym and their 30 mins of high energy activity

Preparing for GoodGym and their 30 mins of high energy activity

GoodGym runners get stuck in with spades and bags

GoodGym runners get stuck in with spades and bags

GoodGym Dig.....

GoodGym Dig…..

The GoodGym team on the night

The GoodGym team on the night

Digging deeper at the February gardening party

Digging deeper at the February gardening party

The irony of it. While we dig with our spades and shovels, the station is closed and mechanical diggers lift the rails and dig......

The irony of it. While we dig with our spades and shovels, the station is closed and mechanical diggers lift the rails and dig……

Made it to the bottom. Now the sand lining

Made it to the bottom. Now the sand lining

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