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There are four basic methods - wicking boxes, closed wicking beds, open wicking beds and wicking furrows. They all work on exactly the same principle, their major difference is scale.

Wicking Boxes

Wicking boxes are small boxes, generally less than a metre in length and virtually any water proof box will do. Polystyrene vegetable boxes work fine and are no or minimal cost while plastics boxes sold in discount shops only cost a few dollars.

 Closed Wicking beds

Wicking beds are much larger than wicking boxes usually made from the numerous types of raised beds which are commercially available or constructed from wood or other convenient material. The raised bed is converted to a wicking bed by lining with polythene sheet and installing appropriate water pipes and drains. Technically these are closed wicking beds as the soil is isolated from the ground. Typically they are less than 10 metres long.

wormbedr garden1
Open wicking beds

Are similar to closed wicking beds but do not have side walls, just relying on a bank of earth. They can be made much larger than the closed wicking beds generally 20 or more metres.

They are not quite as efficient water wise as the close beds as water can escape to the surrounding soils, the amount is very small and typically deep rooted plants like fruit trees are grown alongside the beds to make use of the water.

 Wicking furrows

Wicking furrows are simply a furrow, similar to a conventional irrigation furrow; they may run down a small incline but are better placed along a contour. Soil trees, crops or a combination of both may be grown alongside the furrow.

They are an effective way of improving soil over a large area as the furrows can be made much longer.

senna alata furrow

Currently one manual is available here

Since this manual was written the compost pipe has been under test and found to be very effective.  Users should contact me directly for more information.  Contact me
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