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:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Finished wicking beds

SANY7954 We also managed to finally finish our wicking beds this week and make a bed for currants and berries on the overflow to the gray water system (that feeds the inside flower beds).

There wasn't a whole lot to do, but we have had so much wind this month, that we hadn't been able to get to it beforehand.

SANY7924 We emptied the rest of the compost pile we had made for a winter heater for the bedrooms into the both beds, and then finished off the fence around it (one of our dogs had assumed we'd made the bed just for her). We have soil blocks with little seedlings ready to go out there. We have been taking them out each day so that they can harden up a little, before we transplant. Next week we plan to plant.

One sad piece of related news was that some kind of bug or mouse or something ate all our little raspberry seedlings this morning. Hopefully we can make some more come up without too much grief.

For more photos, click here.


  1. Found your blog recently and it's fascinating! I'm a bit mystified by this entry though. What are wicking beds? And I know compost generates heat but what do you mean "a winter heater for the bedrooms?" BTW I'm a 62 yo typical American who doesn't even garden, tho my husband grows vegs for us every summer. I find your skills and knowledge awe-inspiring. Good on ya!

  2. Wicking beds are planters. The bottom 8" or so is encased in a plastic tarp, so water cannot escape and then filled with gravelly sand - this is your water storage. The top 8" or so holds a very rich, highly organic soil that is able to wick the water from the gravel to the plants. You fill up the water storage part via a tube and it is much more efficient on water. The moisture in the soil also helps keeps the plants cooler without leeching off the nutrients that over-watering would do. See this post for more info:

    As for heater, we put a large compost pile up against the outside of the bedroom walls. As it composted, it heated up and helped warm the walls. It worked great for several weeks, but not as long as we'd hoped - we didn't have enough aeration, I think. The great thing about a well made compost heater is that, unlike solar, it works 24 hours a day. We'll try again next year, hopefully with better results.

    Thanks for the compliments. Glad you found it interesting.


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