Making a Wicking Bed Bath: Water Wise Gardening Part 4

in #gardening2 years ago

In the last few weeks I've been preparing for a dry summer. Seems crazy given all the unusual rain we have had over the last few days but the dry weather WILL come.

You might have caught these posts, but if you haven't, scroll back through my feed for the posts on ollas and wicking beds. They've been wildly successful so far.

After making my IBC beds, and a wicking bed from an old trough, I thought I'd do one with the last remaining vessel in my garden - an old bathtub - so I could use up the last of the gravel. I also wanted to be able to plant a few herbs that really like water, and never survive hotter weather, such as Vietnamese mint.

Untitled 1.jpg

Here is how I did it - it's super simple.

Step 1

  • Drill a hole through the bath to fit your tank fitting. Mine was 20mm. This was the hardest bit for me, which involved getting my husband away from his landrover to do it for me. I can't always be trusted to drill holes.
  • Line the bath with plastic (or seal up the plughole - we chose the plastic)
  • Poke a hole through to fit the tank fitting.
  • Silicon in place, and insert a piece of pipe so you can adjust the water level
  • Find a piece of hose or pipe which will allow water into the reservoir - hold in place with a brick so the open part of pipe will sit against the corner and reach above the essential soil level.


Step 2


  • Line the bath with plastic (alternatively, make the plughole water tight!)
  • Fill the bath with gravel up to the 200 mm mark.
  • Place a piece of geofabric, weed matting or shadecloth on top of the gravel (this will help prevent the soil moving into the reservoir, but the water will still wick up through it).


Step 3

  • Fill with compost - around 250 mm is ample and the water won't wick much higher than that.
  • Fill the water reservoir with water through the exposed pipe until the water runs out the outlet pipe.
  • Cover the water inlet pipe with a can or a jar to stop mosquitoes breeding in there
  • Plant your plants!

I chose to plant strawberries in the trough wicking bed, but they aren't doing as well as expected - lots of growth, but the leave are rather yellowy despite fertiliser. However, the self seeded pumpkins are the basil are doing brilliantly, as is the Vietnamese Mint, and I've barely had to fill up the water reservoir at all.

Really happy with this project, and keeping an eye out for more baths!

Would you give this project a go?

Have you ever experimented with a wicking system?



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Resteemed. Oh nice work my friend! These are perfect plans for the dry times ahead- bath tubs are interestingly cheap to buy in many places too - and longer lasting than many fancy raised beds! Excellent post and glad most if not all your plants are appreciative of your efforts 😍❤️🌈🍀🦋🌴

Oh you are so great with your resteeming!! I'm glad you like it. And yes, they are cheap - around here they are often horse troughs! Very handy things, old bathtubs. We have one as an outdoor fire bath, but it's a cast iron one.

Nice job. This can also be done on a smaller scale with a styrofoam (broccoli) box.

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Absolutely... any box or container will work.. even buckets. I will have tomatoes for Christmas for first time ever due to wicking bucket..!

Posted using Partiko Android


Posted using Partiko iOS

Love this DIY project! It sounds awesome to give a try for times when water isn’t as plentiful. It’s a great size for growing a nice herb garden for sure.
ReSteem for sure so I can remember it for later!

Love you're wicking beds, especially that you re purpose an old tub!
I have one kicking around that I just used it like a regular raised bed in the covered garden. In time I took it out of there, for I prefer to grow in the ground in my lasagna beds.
Thanks for sharing!

Our ground just gets to dry in the summer full stop saying that though it really has been raining of late. Where we live is usually dry but due to climate change it is getting more tropical at this time of here. We will be growing pineapples next haha

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I love all these ideas for dry climates, this is another I may employ! I have a feeling we have similar climates, periodic heavy rains and dry dry dry in between. Our snow has been extremely light as well the past few years so it's getting even drier. This is a great way to grow herbs, I'm so stoked to try this.
I lol'd at your comment "can't be trusted to drill holes" I make Andrew drill things cos I'm the same way 💁‍♀️ lucky he loves using power tools.

Resteeming so I remember this exists!

Xx ToL

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