Welcome my new readers, from the Wickerwoman

Posted on: November 20, 2008

.Cute and Cuddly., originally uploaded by tassiesim.

Call me juvenile, but I like to imagine this koala greeting my new readers in low, dulcet, Kamahl like tones – “Welcome my new readers”.

Thanks to Adam at Permablitz who wrote about my blog entry about the Permablitz I attended in their newsletter! I watched the hits on my blog skyrocket, how exciting. Hope I reported it accurately! Tonight, I’ll be heading along to their free talk at the Footscray Town Hall.

Apparently I also have some new readers all the way over in the Philippines so hello to you too! My Mum is there working at her sister’s school and she has been showing some of the teachers there by blog… and they in turn have been showing their students! I have to admit I get quite a little kick out of that. Technology huh, I had a look on Statcounter and though I can’t quite fathom this, it claims I have readers as far and wide as Canada, The Netherlands, Finland, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Panama and plenty more. If this is indeed true and you really are out there please give me a yell! I’d love to hear from you.

To my friends in the Philippines – I can only imagine how bizarre you must think my blog is. Firstly, my Mum had to explain that ‘chooks’ are slang for ‘chickens’. Secondly, you must think we’re absolutely mad about saving water. This must be such a foreign concept in a country that has entire seasons of rain – literally WET seasons. Lucky you. Here we are looking down the barrel of possible Stage 4 water restrictions (which would mean you can only water your gardens with rain & grey water – no mains water) in Melbourne and I just want to cry when I think what that could mean for all the veggie gardens in our city.  And despite the awareness building, petitions and campaigns to government to allow backyard vegetable growers to water our yards, I have to admit I feel it’s unlikely they are going to open their eyes to how much water we are actually saving – in comparison to what is used in mass vegetable farming and transport.

Anyway, so instead I have started thinking about alternatives to use in my yard. In doing so I stumbled across some info on the other gardening blogs I read, about Wicking Beds or Wicking Worm Beds. They are raised beds that have a agripipe of water that runs along the bottom of the bed, with an outlet for excess water so that plant roots do not drown. The plants are watered by water wicking up towards the surface, minimising water evaporation, without letting the plants drown and rot in the water reservoir because it is held below the root zone. It is a system developed by engineer Colin Austin based on the flood and drain principle.

I am thinking of giving it a shot in our yard, in some raised garden beds in the water tank style, on the house side of our yard. Not only would it help to minimise watering, but my Dad has also been suggesting that having a garden bed right up against our brick house could damage out building foundations and seeing the bottom of the bed would be sealed, this would solve that potential problem as well. I need to find some broccoli boxes to try it out on a small scale first though.

I’d really love to hear if any Permies out there have some thoughts on this way of growing and how/ if it fits in with Permaculture principles!

Since I first heard about it I have found just a few resources on the internet about it, as it is a relatively newly developed system of growing. So I have collated them all together here if you would like to read more:


AUSSIES LIVING SIMPLY – great overview piece here by Scarecrow who has a fantastic blog with lots of entries about her own wicking beds. And seeing she lives in the driest state in the driest continent, I think it’s an excellent case to be following.

EASY GROW VEGETABLES – with detailed step by step instructions how to construct your own wicking beds and the background and advantages of them. I really like the Wicking Worm Beds instructions here and LOVE the idea of growing my vegetables in essentially a giant worm bed, that incorporated in the garden bed, has a little tub in which to put the worm food in so they can come and get it and go and spread their nutrients throughout the bed. Furthermore apparently worm castings are a highly effecting wicking material.

WATER RIGHT – this is Colin Austin’s site that talks about the technology and principles behind the wicking bed system. I also purchased a home made dvd by Colin to find out further details that I couldn’t find on the site about how to set them up.

GARNAUT REPORT? – very excitingly, I just found this document too written by Colin Austin – possibly for the Garnaut Report seeing the url? Looks like an 11 page paper about Wicking Beds and Global Warming

SCARECROW’S BLOG – this is a link to all her wicking bed entries – fascinating!

FOODNSTUFF – last and not least I must credit the wonderful Foodnstuff blog as it is here that I originally heard about the concept and I’m really enjoying reading about their experiments with this system.

Some more links that The Pool Room blog has put together too

Stay tuned for my 2nd Wickerwoman post!

1 Response to "Welcome my new readers, from the Wickerwoman"

Thanks for the link! Your site looks interesting, and it looks like we share a few interests. I’ve been dabbling with wicking boxes, square foot gardening, permaculture, sustainability, etc. I’ve just started a new blog at to cover these types of topics.

I’ll come back and have more of a look around when I have more time!

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