SUSTAINABLE LIVING IN THE MODERN WORLD
LANDSCAPING - VEGGIE GARDENS
With space set aside for vegie gardens and a small orchard, we hope to produce food for ourselves while being smart with water use. Read further through this page for more information on our aims, research, decisions and results, as well as our tips and advice summary, for this element of our project - the veggie gardens.
Producing food for ourselves was an aim for our project from the outset, which we'd like to do in a convenient and water-efficient way.
Although veggie gardens can be planted directly in the ground of course, raised veggie gardens in boxes can be easier to work with and provide nicely defined areas for seasonal and yearly crop rotation.
With the aim of minimising water use wherever possible, the idea of ‘wicking beds’ caught our attention during our research. Invented by an Australian, Colin Austin, a wicking bed is basically a veggie box in which water loss is prevented via the use of a waterproof liner at the bottom to create a reservoir of water beneath the soil (seperated from the soil by a permeable layer). A wicking action keeps soil and roots moist above the permeable layer. This is a markedly more water efficient method than simply watering in the normal way from the top down, where the vast majority of water is lost out the bottom of a traditional veggie box.
In the long term, setting up wicking bed veggie boxes is what we are now planning for. The ease and order of raised veggie boxes, together with the significant water efficiency of the wicking bed innovation, has definitely won us over.
For now though, as our garden watering source (from our ) and reticulation systems aren’t set up yet, we’ve opted for a simpler solution to get a few veggies growing. We’ve used left-over wooden pallets from the build, placed on the ground then filled with and surrounded by soil. This results in a semi-raised bed, neatly framed and rowed by the pallet structure. This temporary solution has come at no cost, as we had the left-over pallets.
Our interim ‘pallet veggie garden’ was certainly easy enough - slap down the pallets, fill with and mound around with soil, and plant your seedlings. However, the wicking bed veggie boxes will take considerably more time to plan out and construct when the time comes.
OUR THOUGHTS ON COMPLETION
We were glad we had the pallets lying around after the build, as the pallet veggie garden idea was a quick and easy way to get us up and running with a small amount of food production.
OUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR
Being as busy as we are, it is hard to keep enough water up to veggie gardens in a situation where things can dry out fairly easily. We think the wicking bed veggie boxes will be a good improvement when we get them done, making our veggie garden more productive and easier to manage.
OUR TIPS AND ADVICE SUMMARY
- Although we haven’t constructed any ourselves yet, from our research we think that 'wicking bed' veggie boxes will be a very water efficient way to grow our vegetables.