Sunday, March 02, 2008

Wick Gardening at ECHO

I was really impressed by the wick gardens in the Urban Garden area of ECHO farms. No fancy equipment or special potting mixes. Instead, they use old bits of fabric (nylon, presumably -- it wouldn't rot) and discarded rubber and plastic mats. A bucket with a three-eights inch hole drilled into the lid (above) is filled with compost and manure "tea" (made in the barrels in the background). The bucket is inverted, and the fertilizer solution flows out. When the carpet/mat becomes saturated it creates a vacuum that seals the hole and the water flow ceases. Evaporation and absorption lowers the water level, the vacuum is broken, the solution flows out...
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Any kind of mulch (they used pebbles, old tin cans, and coarse, shredded plant debris) keeps the mositure in and provides a mooring for the plants' roots. Hydroponics simplified.
Chard and onion sets growing on a rubber mat and pebbles. Note the bucket in the background. The chard looks better than mine!
Circle of life, un-Disney-fied. The chickens in the coop are fed a mix of grains and greens. The greens grow on top of the coop (same wick garden set-up -- you can see a bucket peeking out of the upper-right-hand corner). The greens and wick garden keep the coop cool. The chicken waste drops through to the pavement below, then goes into the barrel of manure tea. The tea goes into the wick garden. The greens go into the chickens... Out comes the poop and the whole thing starts again. Ultra low inputs (just some grain), ulta low space requirements, and you get three "crops" (collards, eggs, and meat) from one set-up. Very smart.

1 comment:

MrsR said...

Wow - what a great idea. Have you tried this yet? Any success or suggestions to improve? I have horrible soil, have composted for years, but still have predominantly sand in my Florida yard. I used to have time to till and amend the soil, but work about 60-70 hours a week now. Can't tend regular gardens, so I've been looking online for alternatives that take less maintenance. This is intriguing!