Wicking beds are ideal for school veggie gardens
Posted on: 18 August 2019 by Ian Collins
Have you ever wondered who looks after the school veggie garden during school holiday periods. Well, in most cases you only have to take a look at the garden at the beginning of term to find out. The answer is often no one and it’s a case of replanting and starting again. This is particularly the case at the beginning of the new school year in February for Australian schools. The long summer break takes its toll on the garden.
For those schools who have installed wicking systems in their veggie gardens, however, the answer is very different. An efficient wicking system should be able to maintain a healthy growing environment for the plants over these extended periods. The wicking system itself does much of the “maintenance”.
For those who are old enough to remember the ground-breaking ABC TV series [from 1963 to 1986] featuring the enigmatic Professor Julius Sumner Miller, the obvious question would be, “Why is it so?” The answer to this question brings us to the core advantages of wicking beds in general.
The reasons why wicking beds are perfect for school veggie gardens
- Once the water reservoir is filled a wicking bed waters itself and does not have to rely on hand watering or timed irrigation systems.
- An efficient wicking system should be able to accommodate a water reservoir that will last around 4 weeks without any rain.
- If it rains during the holidays, the wicking bed acts as a rainwater tank and is refilled naturally. This can be particularly useful when occasional summer storms occur.
- Wicking systems are very water efficient, using up to 80% less water than garden watered from the top, because loss of water through evaporation is minimised.
- Plants in wicking beds generally have stronger roots systems that augment plant health and make them better able to survive adverse conditions.
School veggie gardens are now included in the curriculum in most states of Australia and provide a real-life basis for a wide range of learning opportunities. The school vegetable garden is incorporated into the curriculum in Geography, History, Mathematics, Science, English and Creative Arts.
As noted by Sustainable Schools NSW, “Involving students in food gardens is a rewarding and educational experience with academic, social and environmental benefits.”
So, given the increasing focus on the school garden in our education system, why not make sure that it grows and remains healthy all year round. Wicking beds give you the best chance of achieving this. The WaterUps website contains a number of links to provide you with relevant information on school veggie gardens. Click here to read more.