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Cinder Block Wicking Bed using Mel's Mix?

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Cinder Block Wicking Bed using Mel's Mix?

Post  mlomeli on 2/11/2012, 9:35 pm

Hey all,

This may be my first post, but my wife has got me into this forum! Good stuff.

Anyway, I just built a cinder block 4x4 bed (stacked 2 blocks high). I was doin' some youtube and come across this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBocAJWGR_k

Would this work for a box like mine? This sounds like an awesome idea and my new box is empty and nothing committed to it yet. We have ideas, but nothing like our two other boxes from last year.

Any thoughts on this?

thanks,
matt
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Re: Cinder Block Wicking Bed using Mel's Mix?

Post  Unmutual on 2/11/2012, 10:13 pm

Wicking technology lends itself rather well to Mel's Mix. I've tried it using a tabletop design and the soil stayed moist even during the hot summers. Mulching will help with evaporation(I didn't use mulch because it was an experiment and I wanted to see what was going on).

Instead of using a medium to go in the reservoir, I just used Mel's Mix without the compost in hardware cloth cylinders to do the wicking(Boffer has a thread somewhere around here on wicking beds).

My ONLY concern with wicking beds is the accumulation of salts. If you don't have a good way to drain and flush the reservoir completely, you may be asking for trouble in a few years. Since that design has an overflow pipe, it may take longer for salting issues especially if you have periods of heavy, constant rain which will not completely get rid of any salts, but should, at the very least, dilute them.

IMO wicking beds are the best of most worlds: self watering(plants take what they need), rain water storage and any nutrients leached from the MM should leach back up if they are soluble.

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Re: Cinder Block Wicking Bed using Mel's Mix?

Post  mlomeli on 2/11/2012, 10:36 pm

So, beside the salt issue, this should be ok? I thought I read wicking and Mels don't mix, due to not soaking enough water to the plant. Maybe I was wrong.
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Re: Cinder Block Wicking Bed using Mel's Mix?

Post  walshevak on 2/12/2012, 7:12 am

wicking works see my son's

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t5716-experiment-to-deal-with-pure-sand-and-high-water-bills

we made sure there was a 1" space between the bottom of the bed and the top water level.

Kay

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Re: Cinder Block Wicking Bed using Mel's Mix?

Post  Unmutual on 2/12/2012, 8:05 am

mlomeli wrote:So, beside the salt issue, this should be ok? I thought I read wicking and Mels don't mix, due to not soaking enough water to the plant. Maybe I was wrong.

I've found that mel's mix and wicking work very well. Even the top of the Mel's Mix stayed moist. So yes, besides salting issues, it should be okay. I wouldn't convert all of my beds over to wicking, but experiment on a single 4'x4' bed and realize that you may have to adjust depending on your weather and the resources available to you.

I currently use drip irrigation because in the end, it would be cheaper for me. Especially if I run the irrigation from rain barrels(which will eventually happen).

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