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wicking bed water is very smelly!!!!!!!!!

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dadsblank

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wicking bed water is very smelly!!!!!!!!!
« on: February 08, 2010, 02:49:38 PM »
  :-\I was wondering if anyone has had any issues with wicking beds - I have a wicking bed that is approximatly 6 mts long my problem is that when we get rain the smell that eminates from the opening/overflow smells like a toilet. So was wondering if this is normal or are there other issues happening - graeme

Scarecrow

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Re: wicking bed water is very smelly!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2010, 10:44:50 AM »
Hi Graeme
I have heard of this happening to others but have never experienced it myself in any of my 15 in-ground beds. But then we don't get a lot of rain up here on the edge of the outback!  ;)

What do you have in the very bottom layer ('pool') of these beds?
I've also found that it is best to let the whole of the beds, including the pool area, dry out between filling. This would be difficult in areas or times of high rainfall. Perhaps the answer to that problem would be to include some sort of drainage facility to empty the pool area completely on these occasions.

The only time I ever had any problems with smells was when I first started to experiment with this growing system in the form of box gardens.

In these early setups I was using straw or other forms of organic matter in the bottom 'pool' section. Of course as this matter breaks down it will smell as will any organic matter in a fairly air free environment.
 
Some people have had further problems with plants showing very unhealthy yellowing of leaves and not performing well as a result of the fermentation in the base layers.

I also found that as these materials break down the level in the boxes fell too and then the finer growing medium blocked the drainage holes. The result was boxes filled with water (after rain) and escapee worms!!

When I built the in-ground beds I filled the base ('pool') area with sand or a sand and gravel mixture. There is little organic matter in these mixtures so there is little to 'break down' to cause odours. 

There is a pdf file called wicking bed technology on the page in this link http://waterright.com.au/wicking_bed_climate_change.htm (sorry but I couldn't get the link to work directly to the pdf but I hope you will still make the effort to read it...please note that the file is 6.5mb) which includes the latest developments from Colin Austin, the developer of the wicking bed systems. It also gives a great history of the systems and some alternate designs...it's a great read for those interested in Wicking Beds!

Please see the Waterright site for further information. http://waterright.com.au/index.html
My setup is described on my blog  on this link http://outbackharvest.blogspot.com/2008/09/wicking-worm-beds.html

Chooks have backbones much better suited to weeding than humans, and they will appreciate the task much more than you will.- Linda Woodrow

OliverT

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Re: wicking bed water is very smelly!!!!!!!!!
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2017, 10:00:46 PM »
  :-\I was wondering if anyone has had any issues with wicking beds - I have a wicking bed that is approximatly 6 mts long my problem is that when we get rain the smell that eminates from the opening/overflow smells like a toilet. So was wondering if this is normal or are there other issues happening - graeme

You're right. We've recently put in a wicking bed and it stinks!

 

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