Monday, 11 February 2008

Wicking Box Gardens

Wicking Box Gardens
I had to plant some of these rapidly growing brassicas so I decided on a few wicking boxes.
The concept of these is the same as the in ground Wicking Beds.



You need a container without drainage holes, it's sides need to be at least 30cm tall.
Here in Aust broccoli is packed in polystyrene boxes that are just about right for this.
They are 600 mm x 300mm in size and will need a hole made in the side about 100mm high for drainage. Experiment with the height of this hole.

If you only have boxes with holes in them use these but line the base with plastic. Only the bottom 100mm needs to be covered as it's only to this height that will need to hold water.



For these I'm using up some hose that is sold for distributing grey water from washing machines.We're not using this in our grey water set up so it's been sitting in the shed. It's a 22 mm hose and has holes the length of it.
I had some of the larger drainage pipe left-over from making the in-ground beds so I tried some with this too.



The ends of the small hose were blocked with some of Doc's leftover dowel bits. The larger hose was able to be wedged against the edge of the box.
These hoses were placed in the bottom of the box and covered with some chux-like cloth (thin cleaning cloth) off a roll from the cheap shop.



The covered pipe was surrounded with chopped pea straw and shredded paper to hold the water. This was covered with a thin layer of chook house bedding a mixture of wood shavings shredded paper and chook poop.

Please Note:
These early boxes had straw and paper in that base layer but as it broke down this mixture became very smelly. I now use sand or a sand and gravel mix.
I might add that doing this has made these boxes very heavy so it's best to build them at the site where you intend to keeping them.




I used Max Mixer to make up a mixture of potting mix, compost, blood and bone, coir soaked in Seaweed extract, Charlie carp, Epsom salts and potash.



An important part of this system is to add some worm bedding including some of the compost worms.



A tube of 50cm drain pipe was cut and had 15 mm holes drilled into the sides of it. This is where the worm food will be put and the worms will enter it to eat.
This saves having unbroken down food scraps in the box. The scraps are blended up and put into the tube of which about 1/3 is buried.


These boxes have been planted up with Mini Cauliflower, Broccoli, Lebanese Cress, Parsley, Kale, some companions Egyptian Onions, Thyme; later some Celpar and Coriander may be added if there is room.



I've used lengths of small conduit pipe from a cloche kit, to hold up some 50% shade cloth while it's still quite warm, later this will be replaced with a curtain to keep the cabbage moths and aphids off the growing brassicas.

Updates:
Wicking Boxes and The Heat
Wicking Worm Bed Questions?

More info:
Wicking Worm Bed Basics

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