Wicking Bed Part 1

I started work on the wicking beds today. Over the last 2 weeks I have been getting
things together and today I needed to get a move on.

During my thinking and planning time, I figured out that I would need 21 sleepers that
were 2.4 metres by 20cm x 5cm. In the old scale that is 21, 8″ x 2″  8 ft long. Originally I
did my pricing on treated pine sleepers from Bunnings at about $11.76 each. But there was a nagging thought in the back of my head about the chemicals injected into the pine
timber to make it resistant to termites and rot.

Painting the sleepers for the wicking bed

Painting the sleepers with a roller before construction of the wicking bed.

 Can’t be a Hypocrite

I finally decided that I couldn’t be that big of a hypocrite. Here I was talking about
being organic and then using a product that could leach poisonous chemicals into the
garden I was growing my food in. So the frugal part of me had to give way to the logical
part that wouldn’t let me be a hypocrite.

I had to make an change in my budget. I was hoping to build a wicking garden bed that
measured 4.8 metres by 1.8 metres and 60 cm high for around $500. This was now impossible as the timber was going to be more than that.

Cypress Pine Sleepers

I finally settled on cypress pine sleepers that cost about $24.00 each, more than twice
the price of the treated pine ones. To justify it to myself, I worked out that the bed
was going to be there for minimum of 15 years so I would be thanking myself for paying
the bit extra than wondering whether I was poisoning myself and the ground by using the
cheaper option of chemically treated pine sleepers.

I purchased my cypress pine sleepers from www.cypresssupplies.com.au/. The young bloke there gave me a hand loading and as the sleepers were slightly longer than the van, also strapped down the back door. It makes your day when you get looked after. Makes it easier to justify spending your money as well.

Over time and exposure to the elements, cypress pine goes a silvery grey colour. I
decided to paint them in a eucalypt colour (a shade of green). Having opened the wallet
for the timber, I decided to invest in a dearer exterior paint. I went on the Whirlpool
forum and saw that a lot of older guys said with paint, you get what you pay for. They
also seemed to have a consensus that Dulux weathershield was the way to go. I followed

Roller used for wicking bed wrapped in plastic wrap

Wrap your roller in Cling wrap. It will keep the roller usable for at least a couple of days.

Setting up to paint.

Having done a bit of painting in my time, I figured that painting before building was the
best option. I set the sleepers on some timber to get them up off the ground and got out
the paint roller. I have used half of a 4 litre can to do one coat to one side and an edge. The whole can will cover them with one coat. I will do two coats.

Painting Tip

Here’s a little tip if you are new to painting. In between waiting for your paint to dry
wrap your roller in glad wrap or cling wrap. That way you don’t have to wash the roller
out as it will stay moist. You can do the same with brushes.

One coat of paint on sleepers for wicking bed

One coat completed before the rain

Finished One Coat

It’s Saturday morning. I got up around 6:30 to get the other side and edge done on the sleepers. The weather forecast is for showers, so I wanted to get a coat on and hopefully a few hours drying before any rain.

One coat of paint on the sleepers for the wicking bed

One coat on, hopefully the paint will dry before the rain comes.

Have to laugh

It just occurred to me that I have gone to the trouble and expense to purchase cypress sleepers instead of treated pine and I have gone and painted them so they look like treated pine. You can’t help some people.

In the next update for building a wicking bed, I will be getting a machine in to make the site level. You may have noticed the pile of gravel fines in the pictures. Thats for levelling, as there is a bit of a hollow where I want to put the wicking bed.