vegetable patch design
Wicking Beds
plastic tub wicking bed  - page 1
Large wicking beds are built with timber sides and a pond liner at their base, however it is possible to make smaller wicking beds out of plastic containers.  This page explains how to make a wicking bed using a plastic tub.  This was the first wicking bed I ever made. 

As there are a number of measurements given I have chosen to list all measurements in metric only.

materials used
Photo of a wicking bed tub in the ground planted out with vegetables.
Photo of the plastic tub wicking bed referred to on this page.
  • Plastic tub 35 cm H 60 cm wide & 75 cm long.

  • 20 mm threaded tank outlet with male and female threads.

  • PVC pipe (note lengths will vary depending on the dimensions of your tub.)
    • 1 90 mm x 35 cm
    • 1 65 mm x 35 cm
    • 1 50 mm x 60 cm
    • 1 50 mm x 30 cm
    • 1 50 mm elbow
    • 1 50 mm end
    • 1 50/90 mm adaptor

  • 25 mm scoria stones.

  • Non woven weed matting.
To simplify matters 65 mm pipe could be used for all pipes and fittings but as I had spare off cuts handy I used multiple sizes.

The size of the tub can off course be varied but I don't recommend tubs shallower than 30 cm.

1.  drill hole
Photo of plastic tub with 20  mm hole drilled in it.
1. Drill hole at one end of the tub.

Phot of 20 mm threaded tank outlet on a plastic tub.
2.  Install 20 mm threaded tank outlet.

Photo of hole dug in ground to place plastic wicking tub in.
3. Dig hole.

Photo of plastic tub with spirit level on it.
4. Level the tub
Drill a 20mm hole at one end of the tub so that the bottom of the hole is 7 cm above the bottom of the tub.

2.  install the threaded tank outlet
Install the 20mm threaded tank outlet, cutting the excess 20mm threaded pipe on the male end of the outlet and screwing it back into the female outlet so that both outlets are male (a section of treaded pipe sticking out)

A cheaper alternative is to silicon in a section of 20mm pipe, but this will not be as strong as using a 20mm threaded tank outlet.

This outlet pipe serves as an excess water overflow pipe to make sure the tub does not overfill and drown your plants.

3.  dig hole
Dig a hole that is slightly larger than the tub with extra space at the outlet end.

Other options are to only half bury the tub or leave it on top of the ground.

4. Level the tub
Using a spirit level get the top of the tub as level as possible.  This is very important because if the tub is not level it may not drain properly and will create wetter and dryer soil spots.