Aquaponic Gardening

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Hi all. I'm new to gardening in general, but am interested in using AP water in wicking beds (any advice would be greatly appreciated). I'm assembling my beds now and wanted to know if general purpose sand or backfill/drainage gravel would be better to fill the reservoir. I'm concerned that the sand will harden if sitting in water (would that affect the capilary action)? Also, if I go the gravel route, is backfill gravel OK to use or should I fork out the extra money for river rock or the like? One last question, will a generic weed barrier work as well as the cloth-like geo-textile fabric I've seen online to separate the sand/gravel from the soil? I wasn't sure if it would work as well at wicking the water up (I guess a bed sheet would be another option).

 

Thanks,

David

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I have setup a couple of wicking beds and have found that using gravel just does not work well. Is is too large to allow the capillary action to work and the water just stagnates and does not get up into the grow bed. I am looking for a solution and I suspect that a layer of pea gravel-covered with weed guard- then a mix of sand and vermiculite- covered with weed guard- then the planting soil.

I was thinking about using sand and biochar combined. Not sure what ratio and what type of sand.. The finer the sand, the greater the capillary action. I don't want to use anything that will contribute to water quality degradation, ie., anything with any organics that will break down over time. Thoughts?

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