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Has anyone been successful putting a water reservoir deep in the ground? I would think this method would eliminate all evaporation. 

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I think I've seen that on Permies.com

You never get to eliminate ALL evaporation, but wicking beds are very water wise by watering from the bottom and not wetting the surface of the soil.  And I have heard of doing a trench in the ground as the water reservoir.  You can do it as a closed wicking bed with the plants planted in the lined contained area or you could do it as a open wicking trough say between rows of shrubs you make the trench that is lined but the liner doesn't come to the surface of the soil, this way the plant roots can reach into the moist soil area of the reservoir.  There still needs to be access to the reservoir for filling it so some evaporation could happen there.

And...... of course during hot dry conditions the plants will suck up a huge amount of moisture and transpire it so it evaporates to moderate the climate around the plants.  Some plants will transpire enough water that you can actually see the droplets being exuded from the leaves.

Great answer TCL

I am very interested to try open method, I am thinking of putting an IBC at one end and running Ag pipe from the bottom of it into the bed. Then filling the IBC with compost, wondering about having layer of Bio Car or even fresh water mussels shells to filter and alter PH level of compost/worm juice coming out. Plan to plant annuals on the bed and fruit trees and support species on each side. If it works, then keep adding beds.. Has anyone done or seen links to anyone who has done this already?

I don't know how having an IBC filled with liquid at the end of it would work, I think it would all just drain out into the pipe and into the ground.  And just having an IBC compost bin isn't going to give you enough water unless you are adding the water to the compost when you need to water the wicking bed.

Or are you talking about just using the IBC as a compost tea brewer and just watering from it into the Ag pipe occasionally?

You are probably better off just filling the wicking bed with the good compost and then just putting plain water or AP water into the reservoir as needed.  Keep it simple.

Need to have a compost pile to process food waste

Compost piles can leach out in a way that is controlled and useful if the bottoms are sealed and channeled. 

Wicking beds need topping up with both water and a way to keep feeding the micro-organisms in the beds is a bonus.

Or course over watering the compost pile would cool it down too much, but then you could have 2 filling points if needed.

Your probably correct, TCL, but I will keep trying to stack functions and experiment - though I do have total respect for the simplest way of achieving stability and high yield.

I have another more simple idea where you simply pile organic matter on one side of the bed and as it breaks down it leaches on to the plastic sheet and down into the bed. Eventually you would just rake a completed section of the complete compost onto the bed. I guess you could leave a dip so that the compost is sitting on a shallow wicking bed itself, which floods over into the deeper main bed, which is open on the other side to deeper rooting trees. Somebody must be doing that already I would guess.

Just received the metal frames for my wicking containers to stand on today, progress at last. 

Some interesting ideas there Teltom, please let us know which ones you try and how they work out for you.

Could you draw me a picture so I can better understand your methods.

Tetlom said:

Need to have a compost pile to process food waste

Compost piles can leach out in a way that is controlled and useful if the bottoms are sealed and channeled. 

Wicking beds need topping up with both water and a way to keep feeding the micro-organisms in the beds is a bonus.

Or course over watering the compost pile would cool it down too much, but then you could have 2 filling points if needed.

Your probably correct, TCL, but I will keep trying to stack functions and experiment - though I do have total respect for the simplest way of achieving stability and high yield.

I have another more simple idea where you simply pile organic matter on one side of the bed and as it breaks down it leaches on to the plastic sheet and down into the bed. Eventually you would just rake a completed section of the complete compost onto the bed. I guess you could leave a dip so that the compost is sitting on a shallow wicking bed itself, which floods over into the deeper main bed, which is open on the other side to deeper rooting trees. Somebody must be doing that already I would guess.

Just received the metal frames for my wicking containers to stand on today, progress at last. 

these sketches are incomplete and may not make sense  - the extra comments are not needed for most of you, but what the hell, I like the sound of my own voice :)

Landscapes are mostly subjected to flood and drought situations, a multi-level forrest system will even that out, but that is a thing of the past in most places.

We can put plastic sheeting to good use, by creating water-tables just below the surface that hold and slow release the water back to the top-soil directly above, for annual crops, and at the edges for feeding fruit trees and support species.

Where it gets really interesting is when you start stacking functions - permaculture style. Keep the nutrient, (carried in the water) in the system as long as possible. Maintaining moisture levels allows positive soil bacteria to increase and even more importantly the fungal networks that break down minerals and exchange them with the plants roots for sugars. Support life at the macro level and let the stability and fertility filter up through the system.

Listen to nature rather than trying to enslave her, most of us wind and wave sport people have learnt that fighting the elements does not work.

The key to sustaining life on the planet - is, well... to sustain life on the planet.

on the bottom picture the green lump is a pile of composting organic matter - it will leach nutrients into the system. completed sections can be raked over onto the bed, making room for a new pile. I had a long compost pile on a concrete slab next to a row of bananas - they went crazy.

In the top picture the organic matter goes into a container and composts, layers of muscle shells or charcoal could be added to adjust PH

 

Below is a picture of my latest in ground wick bed for growing corn. Its a plastic rain gutter with ten 1.25 pvc tubes stuffed with coir. The sides will have a mixture of coir and vermicompost as the planting media for corn transplants. 

Hey Dave, that looks really interesting - those entries in the top - are they to let water in and out? I have been using little plastic bottles stuffed with coir that look a bit like that. I'll post a picture if I can find. Thanks for the share, like your idea.

Yes that is right, coir is amazing stuff! I did this method in a half barrel and its kickin ass.

Here is the final shot ya'all were dying to see.

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