Here are a few tips for self watering raised beds DIY. Self watering beds are self contained raised beds which have built in reservoirs of water. They supply water from the bottom up and you can change how much water your plants need and how they need it. The self watering beds work through capillary action. You can use different materials to make the water climb up into the soil and different materials have different wicking properties. When one end of the material is wet and the other end is dry, a moisture gradient is created which lasts until the water runs out or the gradient disappears.
The soil in the DIY Self watering raised beds are suspended above the water reservoir and the water absorbing material or the wick is kept in between the reservoir and the soil to pull up water for the plants. To start building the raised beds;
- Choose a spot where the Self watering raised beds gets at least 6 hours of sunlight.
- You can buy ready to use boxes or build your own planter using the wood of your choice. There are many properties you need to consider when you choose the wood. Redwood and cedar are usually used for Self watering raised beds. When building the box, leave gaps for the wood to expand.
- Line the beds with fish-safe rubber membrane. This process can prolong the life of the raised beds, but without letting any chemicals get into the soil.
- Do not use soil from the garden which can be heavy. Use a light, fluffy blend that can retain moisture without water logging. There is soil specially available for Self watering raised beds.
- You can mulch the raised beds to avoid weeds and to slow evaporation. Add the drain pipe to the bottom of the box after setting up the water supply to flow through it.
- The wicks are to be placed above the drain pipe, connected with drain tubes to keep them hydrated. A CPVC fill tube can be used on top of the drain pipe and it should be just long enough to poke out of the soil after plantation.
- Put the required soil above this and the water will get automatically absorbed by the wicks when water is supplied through the reservoirs.
The Self watering raised beds DIY is a very simple process although getting ready made ones have numerous advantages when it comes to controlling the amount of water supplied, durability, etc.