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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '17, 06:17 
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Questions:

1. Landscape fabric - we are talking about weed barriers, right? Don't they sort of breakdown after sometime when used on soil? Not that we are subjecting them to water, would they breakdown even sooner?

2. Tape - I saw some folks fold landscape fabric on some milk crate etc., then tape them. Was that duct tape or what was it?

3. Sand - I am thinking to cut 4" pipes with holes into say 6" - 8" sections and have them sit in the bottom of wicking bed vertically, or standing up. Then, have one of this sit on top of the pipes, follow with fabric, sand and soil. Do I have it backwards? Should I fill the gaps between pipes with sand, than fabric and soil?
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I think sand will get into the pipes even when pipes are wrapped and taped with fabric?


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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '17, 07:20 
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Dirt mix has finer particles than sand and so will wick via capillary action quicker directly into the required soil.

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PostPosted: Mar 16th, '17, 08:12 
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toffee wrote:
Questions:

1. Landscape fabric - we are talking about weed barriers, right? Don't they sort of breakdown after sometime when used on soil? Not that we are subjecting them to water, would they breakdown even sooner?

The residential type that you buy from the big box stores is the cheap stuff, no UV in them, and it says on the package that they have to have a cover material on top of them.

The commercial type has UV in them, no need to cover, will let water thru them, but most weeds are kept from sprouting, except a few such as nut grass. You can get over 10 years use with sun exposure.


2. Tape - I saw some folks fold landscape fabric on some milk crate etc., then tape them. Was that duct tape or what was it?

Duct tape is OK.


3. Sand - I am thinking to cut 4" pipes with holes into say 6" - 8" sections and have them sit in the bottom of wicking bed vertically, or standing up. Then, have one of this sit on top of the pipes, follow with fabric, sand and soil. Do I have it backwards? Should I fill the gaps between pipes with sand, than fabric and soil?
Image

http://www.homedepot.com/p/23-75-in-x-47-75-in-White-Egg-Crate-Styrene-Lighting-Panel-5-Pack-LP2448EGG-5/202653781

You do know that these panels are less than 5/16" thick, not really made for loading weight on top of them.

I think sand will get into the pipes even when pipes are wrapped and taped with fabric?

I build and design Wicking systems for the last 25 years. My reservoiors are for water or a water/nutrient mix only. NO Rocks, Sand, Drainage pipes, etc. The reservoir has a PVC Coroplast signage material separating it from the media. The water is wicked up into the media using Polyester piping cord, or Micro-fiber bath towels. Somewhere on this forum, I have pictures, will look for them and post them on this topic.


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PostPosted: Apr 2nd, '17, 09:45 
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So i build the WB its roughly 4x8 with pond liner all the way and all cinderblocks. Boss said i could use a 1inch masonry drill bit from work so i used that to put some spare piping into the wb just under the soil layer and put weed mat to keep soil from coming out at the bottom i have ag pipe with a sock on it as the water storage and then covered with sand then weed mat then my soil mix up to about 3 or 4inch from the top of the bed. Best as i can tell its working good, i will get a large rain tomorrow so ill see if it drains right. Ill see about posting a video, this WB will replace my grow bed for this year. The pond liner in the GB has a leak and the whole thing needs to be scrapped.


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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 07:49 
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Here is a link to the video.

https://youtu.be/Lod-r2qD-l0


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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 10:06 
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Is the drain above or below the soil level or is it in the sand? I know you guy's get some real gutter washers in parts of Texas but that's pretty slow drainage by what I'm used to (but my drain is in the rock section of my wicking beds). Here are some ideas that might help -

1. You could add some additional drains at the same level or higher around the tank. This might be the easiest but might still be slow if the mix is at fault.

2. You could use a coarser mix which drains faster. It might help to mix in some perlite but I'm not certain about this. Take some of the soil/mix in your wicking bed and put it in a flower pot roughly the same depth as your wicking bed just to see how it drains, my guess is either it's pretty tight and it's holding the moisture or if you added sand as the wick that is blocking up the drain area. If it's the mix then try out some things on your test flower pot to see what works (like the perlite or sand). You want wicking but you don't want it to stay soggy just moist.

3. You could increase the surface area of the existing drain inlet - larger cover or french drain. The cover of the drain might be clogging with the fine particles present so some larger barrier pebbles or rocks in the immediate area might help.

I'm sure you'll get it squared away but let us know what you find out and what works :thumbleft: .


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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 10:24 
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the drain is just below the soil level right in the sand. I am guessing its the mix since its just dirt from a pile from someone in the past on the garden area. I have weed mat zip tied on the inside end of the pipe could that be the issue?what else should i do to block it instead of weed mat? It had just rained about 2 or 3 inch an hour. It was under flood warning. I just thought it was draining really slow.


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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 13:21 
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Quote:
what else should i do to block it instead of weed mat? It had just rained about 2 or 3 inch an hour.

It wont be enough, laws of unsaturated and saturated porous media flows... so you will only ever get a trickle and your bed will be saturated. [edit] and it will actually clog up with fines over time.

You really need to go with a slotted pipe that feeds the outlet and sits across a bulk of your bed.
As you have fine grains then you will probably need to get a fines sleeve /sock for it (or shade cloth).
You should be able to find these around as they are quite common for bores pipes etc.

The other option is to wrap slotted pipe or drain irrigation pipe with fine shade cloth.
Not sure if the weed matting would cut it. Most shade cloth is plastic weave so slow to break down...
much better water transfer and cheaper than weed matting.

You also need to make sure that your outlet/max water level is way below the wicking zone.
Sand and fine soil can wick 300mm quite easily - and loam is even more.
So you rapidly get too much moisture in your veg root zone.
Dig down a short way and you probably find that the soil is very moist/wet.

Wicking beds are a bit of a fine balance in this respect.
Some plants love it some dont.
That is why usually you need coarse organics/compost and well draining sand mix.
common soils and loamy soils just get too wet.

Food&Fish makes a comment about it with a mate that just filled his up with dirt.....

p.s. with your duct tape. You will probably find that cloth/weave tape is better than duct tape.
It is like duct tape but has a weave and tends to be stronger. Duct tape (like electrical tape) needs a few wraps to get strength and persistence.

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Last edited by dlf_perth on Apr 3rd, '17, 13:49, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 13:37 
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>> You really need to go with a slotted pipe that feeds the outlet and sits across a bulk of your bed.

The pipe can be put at the bottom - much better outcome.
Water pressure (head) then sorts it all out and you will drain excess water pretty fast.
you can get a way with just a single length of pipe along the bottom as water pressure will keep it filled and flowing - air points are good.

My preference is to put pipe at bottom and the outlet at bottom too as per pics below.
Then I have a pipe on outside that I can twist on the outside to raise and lower the water level as I see fit.
Others here use this style of option too, in various ways.
This provides a massive advantage over a simple overflow pipe as you can control the soil wetness by raising or lowering the reservoir water level. In winter during rain I often just leave it down so the wicking bed drains.

the crate method pretty much uses the crates as very large pipes - same principle, bonus is a bit more air gap but tend to be larger/deeper beds. As there is no media in the reservoir the overflow is more effective (i.e it pours out).

(I use gravel rocks for bottom layer in small beds when not enough depth and get air from the gap and pipe feed anyway which this example is from)


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course we are all idiots according to Old Prospector.... but happy idiots who grow stuff.

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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 15:39 
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Do a bit of testing to see how the soil drains, it does look like it has quite a bit of clay in it.

Some shade cloth might work better than the weed mat, it might let some sand through but probably won't block up as easily. You still might have to increase the size of the intake zone for the drain pipe. Could be as simple as a pipe with two end caps with a hole in one end for the drain and small holes all around but particularly on the bottom. Gravity and prefiltering through the sand will keep most of the small particles away from the drain. I'd probably make sure it's well supported by the sand and then have river rock inside the pipe area - the drain pipe would be inside this and have shade cloth or a coarse mesh on it. I wouldn't glue the end caps on so that I could clean it if needed (although you might be able to backflush it with a garden hose from outside the bed.

I also use an elbow to adjust water level in my beds so I've drilled below where I want the water level but the seal around the pipe has to be good which is more of a challenge going through thick concrete. As a last resort, if you can figure a way to seal the liner well, you might try re-drilling lower then use an elbow with a standpipe to set your water level . Twisting the elbow works to change water level but there is always a danger that you'll tear a thinner liner so just a simple standpipe off of an upward pointed elbow is probably a safer alternative (with IBC's and thicker liners tearing isn't much of a concern).

Hope this makes sense.


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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 16:11 
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Scotty435 wrote:
Twisting the elbow works to change water level but there is always a danger that you'll tear a thinner liner so just a simple standpipe off of an upward pointed elbow is probably a safer alternative (with IBC's and thicker liners tearing isn't much of a concern).

This is a good point. Having a rigid connection and a flexible pipe may work.
ie. make sure all the movable parts don't put any twist on the outlet pipe.
(lock the outlet pipe down)

Else just have a screw coupling and series of standpipes of different lengths.

The main issue I can see is getting something retro-fitted into an existing setup.
In a new setting having the liner against a rigid backboard with a gap in blocks would help a lot.
You can then bulkhead the same way that the DWC guys do.

with the pipe at low level any sand that gets in to the pipe can be flushed out.
Another advantage of the vertical air vent pipe (shove hose into it)
you want a fairly close weave shade cloth - so 70% plus or something.

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PostPosted: Apr 3rd, '17, 16:29 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Just put a tap your drain as low as possible that way you can set the what water height you desire
No brainer

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