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 Post subject: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 14th, '14, 18:26 
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After perving at blind freddie and DecalsbyJT wicking beds i have decided that this will be my next big expansion.

I fortunately have the space but there are a few things to consider.
1) The area is approximately 14m X 10m and was cleaned and slopped to approximately 1 in 8 fall . I decided not to fully level the area as further digging (or backfilling) would be quite expensive.
2) i want to build the individual beds from treated pine sleepers, the plan is to have individual beds 3m X 1.2m
3) i am still debating how deep i should build the beds. The two easy options is either 400mm or 600mm because that aligns with the dimensions of the timber
4) I plan to mainly grow root crops - onion, carrot, potato and sweet potato.
5) The area is approximately 150 meters away from my house so i want to make the system so that i don't have to visit it daily - particularly given that i work long hours so don't have much time during the week for trekking to the beds.
6) I plan do built ~ 16 grow beds eventually but because of the potential cost only want to built one grow bed every second month (so this is a 2 year project!)
Here is a picture of the area and the preparation of the base for the first growbed. Next weekend will be construction time!
Any advice would be appreciate. My main uncertainty is the height of the growbeds. Would 400mm (assuming 100 mm water and 300mm grow medium) be sufficient for root vegetables? Or should i go deeper?

Attachment:
The Space (the bricks will have to go).jpg
The Space (the bricks will have to go).jpg [ 299.85 KiB | Viewed 7798 times ]

Attachment:
Digging foundation.jpg
Digging foundation.jpg [ 306.21 KiB | Viewed 7798 times ]

Attachment:
Compacting the base.jpg
Compacting the base.jpg [ 302.37 KiB | Viewed 7798 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 15th, '14, 11:10 
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thanks for the mention...

my original wicking beds were 585mm tall (23") and 1.2m x 2.4 m (4'x8')

I had 305mm of dirt and 229mm of sand.... (12" - 9")

my newer versions are smaller at 457mm tall (18") overall with 305mm of dirt (12") and 152mm of sand

the main thing is whatever height you go with... max growing media will be 12" (305mm) as water
will only wick vertically 305mm (12")

some of my beds only have 10-11 inches (254 - 279mm) and I grow very nice carrots, beets, etc

jT

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 15th, '14, 17:36 
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Wicking beds rock.. you'll enjoy them

Can't beat them in terms of productivity and water saving


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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 15th, '14, 17:43 
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Are you planning to line your treated pine WB's with pondliner or builders plastic?

If I were you I'd be lining up the whole way, not just the water reservoir in the bottom, as I don't like the thought of wet treated pine leaching crap into my soil and food

definately go for the safer ACQ not CCA (arsenic) treated pine.

or even better hardwood sleepers though slightly more $
http://www.bunnings.com.au/200-x-50mm-2 ... s_p0120645


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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 15th, '14, 19:21 
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Hi DecalsbyJT - thanks for the input - your system is my inspiration :notworthy:

i think i'll do the first one at 600mm, the second one at 400mm and then compare the performance of them.

jono - the plan is treated pine (ACQ if i can find them) - and i will line to the top with plastic (probably builders plastic) to avoid any leaching. The hardwood sleepers are beautiful but will make price a bit steep. I was thinking possibly making the front-end out of hardwood sleepers.


Cant wait for next weekend!

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 15th, '14, 19:52 
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Gabe wrote:
Cant wait for next weekend!


don't forget the photos mate :wave:

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 21st, '14, 16:36 
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Ok - today was the day. It was rain intermittently which added to the fund of construction!

I considered a number of alternative options for the beds - including hardwood sleepers treated pine sleepers, old corrugated roof sheets, large concrete pavers - and finally decided to build from treated (H3) pine palings. The size of the growbed turned out to be 2.4M X 1.2 M by 65 cm.

i kept count of the cost because the plan is to multiply the number of beds over the next few years, I'll post the cost in a later email for those that is interested

Here is a few photos of construction underway
Attachment:
The Wood.jpg
The Wood.jpg [ 353.01 KiB | Viewed 7657 times ]

Attachment:
End Pieces.jpg
End Pieces.jpg [ 351.89 KiB | Viewed 7657 times ]

Attachment:
Box taking shape.jpg
Box taking shape.jpg [ 336.44 KiB | Viewed 7657 times ]

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My System: http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=16929
My Wicking Beds: http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=22064

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 21st, '14, 16:38 
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And more photos of the progress

Attachment:
Cross support installed.jpg
Cross support installed.jpg [ 291.48 KiB | Viewed 7656 times ]

Attachment:
Double layer plastic.jpg
Double layer plastic.jpg [ 338.84 KiB | Viewed 7656 times ]

Attachment:
Drain installed.jpg
Drain installed.jpg [ 244.64 KiB | Viewed 7656 times ]

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My System: http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=45&t=16929
My Wicking Beds: http://www.backyardaquaponics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=22064

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 21st, '14, 16:41 
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And more

Attachment:
Filling with wood chips.jpg
Filling with wood chips.jpg [ 373.29 KiB | Viewed 7655 times ]

Attachment:
Netting installed.jpg
Netting installed.jpg [ 318.37 KiB | Viewed 7655 times ]



And then the rain started - I plan to finish the rest tomorrow


Attachments:
Crates to create space.jpg
Crates to create space.jpg [ 349.21 KiB | Viewed 7655 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 21st, '14, 16:52 
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For those that is interested.

Attachment:
Price.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 21st, '14, 16:58 
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Looking great!

Are you using wood chips as your wicking media? If so, how does it compare to sand or gravel? Very interesting! :dontknow:


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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 22nd, '14, 08:33 
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looks like your wood chips are your reservoir......

what kind of chips are they? are they mixed or one type?

looking good so far

JT

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 22nd, '14, 08:50 
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Wouldnt the wood chips rot and become anaerobic. I use scoria and other 20mm rocks in my reservoirs

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 22nd, '14, 18:35 
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Hi Guys - thanks for the feedback. Perhaps i should rename the threat to Gabes wicking experiment! :shifty:

The bottom of the bed is basically milk crates with pine bark in between the crates (and a bit on top). I read somewhere on the net ( :?: ) about a person using coir as wicking material - so i hope that bark does a similar trick. If it all goes sour (pun intended) then i'll redo the bed.

Here is a picture of the bed filled, limed and seeded with onion and carrots.

Now for the wait!

Attachment:
Limed and Seeded.jpg
Limed and Seeded.jpg [ 357.43 KiB | Viewed 7575 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Gabes Wicking Beds
PostPosted: Jun 22nd, '14, 18:57 
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Good job! Looking forward to seeing pics of the veggie growth :)


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