This time of year is when wicking beds really come into their own, not only do they need less water than the other garden beds but the plants look less stressed during the hot days and the beds on the whole are more productive.
We’ve now been experimenting with wicking beds for 4 years with our initial ones being made out of an old water tank sawed into three, we thought we’d give it a try before we put more time and energy into more beds, a year later we put in our larger circle of wicking beds (see more about them and how they work here) , now a few years on and these beds are really proving their worth in the system.
Wicking beds are not, as some people think, maintenance free, during peak summer we are topping up the reservoir about every five days, and any new seedlings are getting additional watering during establishment stage. This is far less water though than the veggies in the main garden are getting and due to their self contained design they are also virtually weed free and tend to attract fewer pests.
We’ve also been making little wicking beds out of half wine barrels, which being designed to hold liquid do not need any plastic liner.
So yes, after four years of wicking beds we are pretty happy with the result. We still always remind people not to skimp on the liner (buy good quality pond liner not builders plastic) and keep the beds at a small enough size so that if you do need to dig it up for repairs some time in the future it wont destroy your back (better to make three smaller beds than one massive one)
There are lots of creative wicking bed designs out there so search around for the one that suits you and enjoy your summer gardening.