Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url:

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wicking Beds

SANY7601 This weekend Abe got a couple of lads from the village to come and help him make two wicking beds (I am not much use with a pic and shovel at the moment).

A wicking bed is basically a box-type planter, which is watered from the bottom.

To build it, they:
- Dug into the ground a little, making sure the bottom was level.
- Buried 6 stakes, which mark the corners and middle of the box.
- Attached shade cloth to the inside of the stakes.
- Lined the bottom half of the box with black plastic and a vinyl tarp (to protect the plastic from being torn by rocks.
- Put a 4" drainage pipe (with holes along it) in bottom of box, and then put 4" PVC into it. This is where you water your plants from.
- Filled up bottom half of the box with gravel and sand.
- Filled up rest of box (where there is just shade cloth, no plastic) with compost.

You add water into the PVC pipe, which drains out into the gravel. The soil will then wick the moisture up to the plants. To wick well, it must have high organic content. It is highly efficient with water. We will also be adding a frame above that can hold either shade cloth or greenhouse plastic.

SANY7637 For more photos, click here.

Our gray water interior flower beds work on a very similar principle. As you can see by the photo, it seems to be working pretty well. Here are some more photos of them.

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