Picture of Raised Bed Wicking Garden
I wanted a raised bed planter, but the best location in my yard is not close to a spigot for watering. I live in a hot climate and I wanted to find a way to avoid dragging out a long length of garden hose 3-4 times a week to water my garden. I finally settled on building "wicking" raised garden bed. While I still need to pull out the hose once in a while, the number of times is much less. This bed waters from the bottom up, which has many benefits but here are a few key:
- Less evaporation during watering
- Plants are encouraged to grow deeper roots
- Lower water usage because garden draws up water only when needed

This guide will show you the key steps to building your own backyard raised bed garden which needs less frequent watering and encourages deep-rooted healthy plants. The key to this garden is the "wicking" water system built into the bed.

Materials needed for 4'x6' garden.
- Wood for raised bed walls (adjust to fit your garden dimensions)
- 2 2x6x10'
- 2 2x10x10'
- 2 1x4x8' for corners (optional - mostly decorative)
- Galvanixed screws
- 1" PVC for fill pipe and holders for cover supports
- Weed barrier
- Poly liner
- 4" corrugated drainage pipe
- 2 end caps for 4" drain pipe
- drainage rock
- organic garden soil

I purchased everything at my local "big box" hardware store
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pritshah1 year ago
why is it a bad idea to use pressure treated wood for the bed?
Because of the chemicals in it. They can get into soil and into plants.
I wanted to ask specifics on this as the info I had found said the only chemical of concern with vegetables was arsenic which hasn't been in pressure treated wood since 2004. Are there other chemicals the plants will take up that my info maybe didn't cover? If so what am looking for? I ask because I am poor and my deconstructed deck is slated to make some nice raised beds for me before next season. Thanks.
kiwibum kinderdm10 months ago

Using pressure treated wood is up to you, as you say, they haven't used lethal (that we know of) chemicals for treatment for some time. A friend worked at a saw mill, one day they were discussing this issue and calculated how much wood you would have to consume to get near problem levels. The amount of treated wood was in the measure of many cubic yards.

Treated timber isn't an issue if you are doing a wicking bed anyway, because you often use a plastic liner inside the bed which will keep soil away from touching anything leaching out of the wood. Check out some of the other wicking beds here on instructables to see what I mean regarding using a liner. Hope that helps. If it was me, I would be making good use of that decking timber and building a lined type bed.

I have to agree about not using pressure treated wood. Perhaps Arsenic is the most toxic and worrisome, but if you are using this to grow food you will eat, then you are taking the risk that in 10 years research will demonstrate a link between illness and whatever is presently being used to treat wood. You can find untreated wood inexpensively at may places. Construction sites will often have dumpsters full of culls. My local big box store has nearly free pieces that are warped or odd-sized. We also have a place called Construction Junction that has recycled lumber. Finally Craig's List often lists free wood that you can take for the hauling.
Nice design. Two suggestions. First, you want to cap the tube going into the container when not in use to avoid the odd rodent exploration possibility. I did this with my earthtainer clone. Second, I used a cork with piece of light plastic rod as a floating dipstick. The rod went thru a small hole drilled into the cap. I had one mark for full and another for empty and that way I could tell the level of water by looking at the height of the dipstick