Gardening therapy and raising your WaterUps® Wicking Bed

Posted on: 24 February 2019

For those who are less mobile it is often difficult, and sometimes problematic, to get around the garden. In these circumstances, growing your own herbs and vegetables can seem a near impossible task. However, for many older people, and others suffering degenerative diseases, even a small planter garden can become a great source of pleasure and focus.

Recently, I received the note below from a person, who is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, who suggested a great solution – raising up the garden bed so that he did not have to bend down. He also told us how he was able to adapt a cheap flat pack elevated planter into a wicking bed for less than $200 and in under 3 hours.

“I have recently retired from an active business life due to health reasons and have devoted some of my newfound spare time to some small projects at home. I wished to construct a small raised garden bed to grow some fresh herbs and my condition restricts my ability to bend down or kneel. Therefore, I needed a bed erected at a height that I could easily access. As my handyman skills are seriously challenged, I sourced a flatpack timber product at Bunnings that simply slides together and is on legs, elevating it to approximately waist height and is easily accessed by me whilst standing. It is about 80cm long and 40cm wide. Cost: $99. I considered a watering system for the bed and discovered your wonderful product based upon a wicking concept, drawing water from a reservoir below. To create an adequate water reservoir, I again sourced a UV resistant poly tub from Bunnings at a cost of $9.95.

The all-up cost was less than $200 and time to construct under 3 hours!

Your product is so DIY adaptable, even a dummy like me can succeed… the satisfaction and sense of achievement is palpable.

Thank you once again for developing such a remarkable but simple product, which is so ‘on trend’ in this era of conservation and sustainability!!

The rest is history… in less that 4 weeks I was an agriculturist supreme!!

Apart from coriander, chives, mint and two types of basil, I planted a cherry tomato which has thrived along with the rest despite one of the hottest and driest summers in Brisbane history. Apart from occasionally topping up the reservoir until the overflow holes signal full, all I have done is watch in awe!!”

Ian from Brisbane

I have summarised Ian’s installation instructions below:

Materials:

  • Elevated Rectangle Planter available from Birdies Garden Products and some Bunnings outlets. Cost – $99;
  • UV resistant poly tub from Bunnings for the base and water reservoir. Cost – $9.95;
  • 2 x WaterUps® wicking cells;
  • Bag of Perlite.

Tools:

  • Handsaw;
  • Drill;
  • 22mm speed bore.

Assembling the planter

Follow manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the elevated planter.

To create the water reservoir, use the polypropylene tub from Bunnings.

Note: that was slightly shorter (15cm) than the internal length of the garden bed and the width of which was slightly wider than the internal width of the bed.

  • Trim off approx. 10mm off each side of the tub to reduce the width and result in a neat fit when lowered into the bed.
  • Timber rails which already formed part of the structure of the timber bed support the tub along the length of each side when the rolled top edge of the tub makes contact. Trim the rolled edge to fit using a handsaw.

Add the inlet and drill an overflow hole

  • Insert the inlet pipe – refer to WaterUps® Installation Guide.
  • For the overflow simply drill a 22mm hole in the side of the poly tub at the same height as you would normally insert the overflow pipe – refer to WaterUps® Installation Guide.

Inserting the WaterUps® cells

  • Trim 1 of the WaterUps® cells with the handsaw so that it neatly fits the length of the tub, putting small cut-outs in the corners to fit around the internal timber frame of the bed.
  • With a full cell butted up to the modified cell my tub allowed 6 wicks to be evenly spaced and drop into the tub which became my water reservoir.
  • Cover the edges WaterUps® cells where they abut the walls of the poly tub with GeoTec fabric [supplied with the timber planter] to ensure that soil does not get into the water reservoir.

Refer to the adding soil section of the Installation Guide to complete your bed.