Backyard Aquaponics

Wicking bed Queries
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Author:  gk_byap [ Feb 7th, '16, 22:23 ]
Post subject:  Wicking bed Queries

In a Wicking Bed, Can I use a Coir sack or Coco peat as the separator between gravel media and soil, instead of a Shade cloth/Weed mat ??

Pros I see with Coir/cocopeat as separator are, both can add to the soil richness when broken down and as well the Wicking property also good.
I know coir mat or coco peat provides only an initial barrier and will decompose eventually leading to the mix of gravel and soil. However the bed can be 'Reset' later for the crop rotation, which i don't mind. But will the coir/cocopeat stay intact without messing up the WB for a reasonable time ?

What makes me skeptical about using Shade cloth/Weed mat is that, being plastic they may break down over time into bits and bits of indecomposable wastes mixed with soil. Never used a Shade cloth/Weed mat before; so this is what i assume about them.

I am a newbie with one CHOP#2 AP system and now planning to make a WB.
Thanks in Adv.

Author:  scotty435 [ Feb 8th, '16, 03:42 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

I'm not sure about this. I've seen columns of sand inside PVC used to act as the wick. If you're not concerned about the wick then all you need is a barrier to keep the mix above from plugging the reservoir below. A thick layer of Coco peat or Coir would probably work at least until it breaks down and by then I think the soil will stay put pretty well. I bet you could get 5 or 10 years out of the bed. Maybe longer if the wicking comes from something else like sand and you don't have to disturb the bed all the way down to the rock/reservoir layer.

Author:  Food&Fish [ Feb 8th, '16, 06:03 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

Wicking beds the more care you give them when building the better they preform
I have had wicking beds for over 10 years that's when I new what to call them
The first one was over thirty years ago I didn't know what it was but it worked
It was a 3 metre square concrete pond in the back yard with drainage pipe all over the bottom and a tap so you could drain it to set the water height
then after computers and aquaponics I started 13 beds I think in the first place
first was plastic lined with agg pipe that worked ok as long as you didn't get to much water in it then to no stones only soil that also worked ok as long as you kept an eye on water levels
This place the current system has an air gap so the water doesn't go stagnant
These are working best of all
If you look at my thread tomatoes 9 ft tall corn planted in a 150 mm square pattern there's 2 cobbs on every stalki
Summing up in my book[ I know others will disagree ] you don't need gravel you do need an air gap you do need something like shade cloth mines over 10 years old now and hasn't looked like degrading and it was probably 10 years old before I put it in yes it helps if you top water sometimes
Heres a link to the building of the latest and best ones
Then if you go to the last of my thread as they say photos are the proof of the pudding
Happy wicking

Author:  scotty435 [ Feb 8th, '16, 12:53 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

F&F is right, you don't need rocks and it's probably better if you don't use them. Just more heavy stuff to lug around :headbang: .

Author:  gk_byap [ Feb 8th, '16, 23:13 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

Thanks for your inputs F&F, Scotty435 :)
Makes sense ! Shall try to make my first WB w/o rocks/gravel..
Also gonna try one with Shade cloth and another one with a thick layer of coir mat or coco peat..lets see..

Author:  Plachon [ Apr 18th, '16, 19:40 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

Not sure if this is helpful. I am using coir in a wicking bed/pot. It's not fine coir, but the large chunks torn from the coconut. First I was using it in my beds, when it became clogged with solids I transferred it to wicking pots.

There is a reservoir on the bottom, then a screen, with the coir in the middle and a mix of coir dust, rice husks, bio char and worm castings on top. I use AP water on these, along with waste from the filter and worm tea. Growth has been

Author:  Food&Fish [ Apr 19th, '16, 06:34 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

Last two beds I built both have an air gap over the water then shade cloth 1 is filled with coco coi then potting mix [I boy all the broken bags from Bunning's and masters ]
Second one is just filled all the way with cleanings from the chook yard
And you know what both are growing exactly the same
Heres a photo

Author:  Food&Fish [ Apr 19th, '16, 06:36 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

All of my beds between plantings I add a bag of sheep dung and lightly turn it in

Author:  Plachon [ Apr 19th, '16, 08:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

If you have an air gap over the shade cloth, what do you use to wick the water?

Author:  Food&Fish [ Apr 19th, '16, 10:20 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

Plachon wrote:
If you have an air gap over the shade cloth, what do you use to wick the water?

Air gap is under the shade cloth and the soil whatever goes right to the bottom either side
scroll down on this page to see how they are made

Author:  Plachon [ Apr 19th, '16, 16:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

Thanks, interestingly I was planning something very similar, great to know it works.

Author:  Damian [ Apr 21st, '16, 13:02 ]
Post subject:  Re: Wicking bed Queries

i don't use any different layers of media just straight coco coir and it works fine. but you have to learn irrigation

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