LEARNING ACTIVITY
Making a large wicking bed
Category: Food Production
Climate Region: Arid | Temperate | Tropical
State or Territory: ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA
Age Range: 7-13

STORY

The Junior Landcare group were so excited when Ms. Gorman told them that the school was getting a large wicking bed made for their school garden - finally! While their polystyrene wicking beds were working really well growing the many herbs and vegetables, the Junior Landcare group were running out of space. The new wicking bed will help the group with their goal of growing food in the garden to supply the canteen, and sell back produce to the families within the school and the local community. The produce sales helped them buy more seeds and equipment.

The Junior Landcare group were invited to help Anne and her team from the local Landcare group install the large wicking bed. Beth, Hayley and Eliza were fascinated to see the team apply the same process in making a wicking bed from a 1,000 litre container - just like the polystyrene wicking beds but much bigger! Now, the Junior Landcare group had so much more space to plant their favourite crops.

ACTIVITY OVERVIEW

Wicking beds are a fantastic invention, allowing crops to be watered more efficiently. Making a large wicking bed does involve a few steps and some preparation, however the benefits of this extra effort are water conservation, improved plant growth and better crops.

The design of the wicking bed also provides opportunities to investigate scientific and mathematical ideas, such as volume, evaporation, transpiration, capillary action and plant life cycles.

Outcomes

For children to:

  • enjoy being active and productive outdoors and build their social and teamwork skills
  • value water conservation in food production
  • follow the steps needed to plan, prepare, make, plant and care for the wicking bed
  • understand how wicking beds use capillary action in soil
  • use mathematics to estimate the capacity of the wicking bed to hold water and soil.

SEASONAL NOTES

When making a large wicking bed in spring and summer, run as a morning activity to avoid heat stress for people and plants.

Did you know?

Wicking beds use an upside-down way of watering plants. Instead of watering plants from above, wicking beds water the plants from underneath.

Did you know?

Wicking beds were first developed by an Australian called Colin Austin; he designed it as an agricultural system that could be used in arid countries.

Did you know?

A wicking bed can use up to 50% less water than a conventional bed, because less is lost to evaporation.

Did you know?

Wicking beds use an upside-down way of watering plants. Instead of watering plants from above, wicking beds water the plants from underneath.

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Why not try one of our other Junior Landcare learning activities?

Making a small wicking bed

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Creating a food garden: harvesting

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Creating a food garden: planting

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Creating a food garden: installing a no dig garden bed

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