Minor crack, but still not water tight
David went and bought some silastic in a tube, which I was dubious about the practicality - given the base is actually rather thin and flexible. I thought the weight of the soil, might break any seal we could manage to dry. I made sure to use silastic on the facing side and underneath too. No photos unfortunately.
Silicon repair, top, right- hand corner
But I did manage to take a photo after we sealed it, and packed the road base underneath, so it sat snugly under the plastic base. Our hope was to reduce the possibility of movement. We tested the water holding capabilities, for 24 hours, then deemed the silastic a success!
I'm relieved that particular idea, worked, as I didn't fancy purchasing more plastic, to act as a liner, in the already plastic tub. Kind of defeats the purpose of recycling plastic, if we had to buy more plastic. The rest of the silastic went to repairing other needed jobs around the place too - like holes in the chicken coop, roof, and the metal watering can had developed a small leak that was getting increasingly bigger. Purchasing the silastic met more needs than one.
The watering section
Once the tub was sealed though, I filled the base (water in situ) up to the drainage hole, with sand. We're going to try a different approach to the first two wicking boxes, where rocks were used in the base. Not only, did I want to avoid more weight in the tub than necessary, but we always have plenty of sand, from the silt bed. which fills up, after every rainy season.
The hose is set up, within the sand itself, as I demonstrated in the original post. Only instead of rocks, I'm using sand. It will be interesting to note any differences between the two systems, as they grow.
I've also read with the sand layer, you don't have to use a barrier, like the shade cloth I used in the first two tubs. Which allows the plant's roots to sink right into the wet sand, without being held up by a barrier. The concession, of course, was to plug the drainage hole, with a small square of shade cloth, to stop compost falling out.
I actually enjoyed setting this wicking box up, more than the other two. Because it used fewer, but more readily available resources. It was also, a lot easier on the back!
Once I was happy with the sand layer, I started to bring in the compost. Light materials again, made it easier on the back and faster to fill. What I'm liking, more and more about these tubs are, the worms are going to do all the soil work for me. I'm waiting on an order from our local hardware store, for worms. Once added, there will be no more turning beds or dealing with tough weeds in compacted soil. So it will be worth going to the effort, initially setting them up.
I have the recent photo of what the bed looked like, immediately after planting:
I had some society garlic, which needed to come out of its hydrophobic pot, and I transplanted some parsley too. Love having herbs for cooking. They've both adored the new conditions since.
I also took photos of the other two boxes, on the same day:
A lone broccoli plant, went into tub 2, with some rubuarb, herbs, and tatsoi, plus some buckwheat which germinated from seed. Pretty happy with that.
Tub 1 (the first to be constructed) was filled with mainly bracicas, pot marigold and snow peas. Some have done great, others, not so well. The peas have suffered in the strong winds we've had lately, for example.
Here are some more recent photos, taken several weeks later, with the addition of sugar cane mulch. In order of construction:
Planted one month ago
Also planted one month ago
Planted two weeks ago ~ parsley quickly recovered
I still have not mulched tub number three, as I've been waiting for the green mizuna seeds to germinate. Once they grow a little bigger, I'll put the mulch down. I don't want to risk rotting them, with a thick layer of mulch.
Mainly mizuna, and some tatsoi
I can't wait for our greens to start producing enough to eat. I'm sure our guinea pigs won't mind in the slightest either. We have more space against our retaining wall, to build several more tubs. Although we're not going to go searching for these particular tubs any more - as we have some supplies we can use on site instead.
It's to do with a little accident we had, back in May of last year...
I'm sure my dearly beloved, would love to be reminded of this particular incident. When a chainsaw met a tree, that didn't quite fall in the direction it was supposed to. Down it came on our only garden shed on the property! We purchased a new kit shed, and replaced the two sides, which were damaged. We have other building projects reserved for the pieces of the new shed, we didn't use.
However, the damaged tin remains, of the sides which had to be replaced. They still need to be found a useful purpose. So we are hoping to use the straighter pieces of metal, for building more wicking beds. What became an unfortunate accident, we would rather forget, can be redeemed instead, by growing vegetables for us. I like the thought of that.
The best part is, I can make these beds longer this time - giving more space to grow!
2016 seems to be the year of wicking beds.