Self-Watering Wicking Beds

What’s a Wicking Bed?

Originally designed for use in Ethiopia, wicking beds aim to increase food production, while using approximately 50% less water. Think of them as a giant self-watering plant pot. Water is drawn up into the soil via capillary action from a reservoir in the bottom of the wicking bed. Crates, tanks, baths, troughs and drums can all be used to create a wicking bed. Our raised cypress garden beds or instant veggie crates are also the ideal container for wicking projects.

Watering a wicking bed is easy! All you need to do is keep the reservoir topped up occasionally (every week or so in summer). The great news about these gardens, is that they can tolerate dry summer conditions better than normal gardens. There’s no need for a fancy irrigation system, so they are great for renters. They are far more water efficient, and as such, they are also great for those who don’t have time to spend watering their veggie patch every day over summer.

Wicking beds make growing your own food a breeze!


Wicking beds use capillary action to water the plants from a water-tight reservoir in the base of the garden bed.

Wicking beds use capillary action to water the plants from a water-tight reservoir in the base of the garden bed.

Are Wicking Beds really that important in Melbourne’s climate?

The global climate is warming and Melbourne has an increased susceptibility to drought. In the near future, effective use of water in the garden is going to become even more important. Because of this, wicking beds are becoming an increasingly popular gardening solution in Melbourne.

Wicking beds are very efficient ways to water your herbs and veggies. The water held in the reservoir can only leave the bed by capillary action up through the soil profile. As it does, most of the moisture is accessed and used by the plants. With standard raised garden beds, much of the irrigation water that you apply usually drains down the sides, or straight out of the bottom. Watering from the top means that a lot of the water, evaporates straight off the soil surface, before it has a chance to soak in to the soil. However, with a wicking bed, almost every drop of water get held in the system and made available to the plants, where they need it most – to their root zone.

Wicking beds are great at maintaining consistent moisture content.  The soil in the garden bed stays moist, without getting too wet or too dry. Contrast this to a drip irrigation system that floods the garden bed every few days, and progressively lets it dry out. Consistency of soil conditions (especially moisture and temperature) is the key to growing great veggies. Wicking beds make growing your own food a breeze!

Wicking Beds Melbourne Hawthorn East

The consistency of soil moisture in our wicking beds make growing your own food a breeze!

Leaf, Root & Fruit’s Wicking beds

Intall Wicking Beds in Melbourne

Our raised cypress garden beds make for perfect wicking beds .

We can install our Raised Cypress Garden Beds as Wicking Beds. After installing your custom made raised garden bed, we create a water proof reservoir in the base. A foam underlay is used to plastic prevent the plastic liner from being damaged. We fill reservoir with scoria or gravel, add a layer of geofabric and then top the planter up with the premium blended soil growing medium.

Wicking Beds Melbourne Cypress Gardens

A wicking bed water outlet, water level indicator and reservoir drainage valve all in one!

The overflow pipe on our wicking beds enables you to easily check the water level of the garden bed. If the level has dropped more than a few centimetres below the surface –then it’s time to top up.

Topping up the wicking bed, with water is easy. Simply connect your garden hose to the tap fitting on the inlet. Turn the hose on and watch the level in the outlet pipe rise. Once the water level reaches the top of the outlet pipe, simply turn off the tap and disconnect the hose.

Over time, nutrients from fertilizers, compost and manures will concentrate in the water reservoir. So it’s a good idea to drain the wicking bed and re-fill it with fresh water. We recommend doing this once or twice per year. Draining the wicking bed is easy. Simply swivel the outlet pipe 90 degrees in an anti-clockwise direction. The water will then empty via gravity flow.

Wicking Bed Installation

We’re based in Hawthorn East and we install wicking beds all over the greater Metropolitan Melbourne area.

All of our wicking bed are custom made to order, and in busy times, it can take up to a week or two for us to put your order together (although usually only 2-3 days). We’ll contact you and arrange delivery and installation at a mutually agreeable time. We usually operate between 7am and 6pm on weekdays and 8 am and 1pm Saturdays, although, other times can be scheduled by arrangement. Wicking beds require installation to be completed on three separate days, spaced out over a week to allow time for waterproof sealing to cure, and then to test for leaks prior to finalization.

You needn’t worry about the finer details of using your new wicking bed just yet. All you need to know is that it really is very easy. Once we’ve installed your wicking bed, we’ll walk you through all the design features. We’ll also provide you with a printed copy of our Wicking Bed Users Guide that should be able to answer any other questions you may have.

Get in touch with Leaf, Root & Fruit today, and we’ll have one set up for you and growing delicious veggies and herbs in no time!

Want to have a go at setting up your own self-watering wicking bed? Check out our blog entry to see how it’s done.


(Wicking bed prices are on page 3)

Our page on standard raised cypress timber garden beds has some great information about choosing location and sizes of your garden beds. It might be worth having a look at that page also!

How Do I order and Make a payment?

You can either:

Go to the contact form at the bottom of this page


email your requirements to

Or call us on

(03) 9888 9462

and we’ll organise to deliver and assemble your new garden beds.

For payment, we will issue an electronic invoice with payment required within 7 days of invoice date.

Our preferred method of payment is Electronic Funds Transfer. However, we also accept cash and cheque payments.

We do not currently have EFTPOS facilities.

Wicking Bed Inquiry Form

(for general inquiries you can email or use the form on our contact page)