Capillary beds are not an easy option. They have a rather complex design, you have to tinker. But they have many advantages, which are especially appreciated by busy summer residents. Our tips site will tell you what capillary beds are, what features they have and what benefits they bring.
Capillary beds are a hybrid of tall, raised beds, which the portal has already written about, and drip irrigation. Unlike conventional tall, “smart” beds, capillary beds do not work as a compost heap. But otherwise they differ in similar characteristics:
- The soil warms up faster;
- We need boards made of scrap materials, for example, boards or flat slate;
- “Pie” by the garden is quite complicated.
1 – the walls of the bed; 2 – film; 3 – geotextile; 4 – PVC pipe; 5 – soil; 6 – gravel, covered with geotextile; 7 – drain pipe
The capillary bed is arranged as follows:
- Box, most often wooden.
- Geo-textiles on the ground and on all walls of the box from the inside.
- Then the film along the bottom and walls inside, as a base, so that the water does not go down.
- PVC pipes on the sides for filling water and draining excess. The filling pipe is installed vertically.
- Below is a horizontal drip system, also made of PVC pipes with perforated holes.
- Then a drainage layer of fine gravel, coarse sand or expanded clay.
- Then a non-woven fabric with excellent water permeability.
- Fertile soil where your vegetables, strawberries and anything else will grow.
- Top with mulch to retain moisture. Most commonly used pine needles and straw.
The main advantage of capillary beds is that even in dry summers they need to be watered no more than once a week. And all the watering consists in the fact that water from a hose is poured into a PVC pipe sticking out above the soil and mulch. All. The water will gradually flow from below through the drainage layer and geo-textiles to the plant roots. If you overdo it and overflow the water, the excess will pour out through the drain hole located approximately in the middle of the bed wall. The drain hole helps to get rid of excess water even in case of rain.
Despite the obvious advantages – rare watering, improved soil composition, ease of maintenance and high yields – capillary beds also have disadvantages.
The most significant disadvantages of this option for growing vegetables:
- It is difficult to make beds. And the pipes need to be found, and holes for irrigation to be made, and the “cake” should be laid correctly, not forgetting about the non-woven material and the film …
- It is possible to plant only adult seedlings with a developed root system in capillary beds, otherwise the water simply will not reach the plants;
- In winter, residual water in the pipes under the garden bed can freeze. It is advisable to cover the beds with something before the cold weather, and in the spring, gently defrost the pipes with hot water and leave to warm up under the film, making an analogue of a greenhouse.
Many summer residents believe that it is easier to lay ordinary drip irrigation on mulch beds than to arrange capillary beds. But in any case, this is an interesting and effective way to save yourself from the worries of watering plants in arid climates with poor soil..