Wicking garden beds are great for Melbourne summers because they stay moist for longer than a normal garden bed. Wicking beds get their name from the word 'wick', as in candle wick. The bed sits in a reservoir of wated and the soil acts like a wick and draws the water up into the bed to where the roots of the plants are. I have started making a wicking bed, but it is taking quite a while because I get to do a small amount on it at a time. Life is busy and although the garden is where I like to be the most, it is down on the list of priorities at the moment.
The right container
So first you need to find a suitable bed. I had an old wooden crate. The garden bed needs to be at least 600 centimeters in depth, plus a bit more so the soil doesn't sit right at the top of the crate. My box is just that. You could use anything to contain your garden so long as it is deep enough. Remember you need to fill it with soil so think about how big you want it to be and how much you are prepared to spend on good quality soil. Make sure there are no sharp edges in the container as you are going to line it with plastic.
Getting the bed level
It is important to get the bed level because the base will contain water and you want it to 'wick' evenly.
Lining the wicking bed
Get some black builders plastic for the lining. Allow the lining to come over the edges of the container so that when you fill it with soil it doesn't pull in. Once you have filled it with soil you can trim the plastic. To be continued ...