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Wick Watering: Simple and Efficient | By David Bainbridge of Mother Earth News

West Bend, WI – Wick watering is a lesser-known method of efficient irrigation. I was first introduced to the concept while reading a paper from India many years ago, in which wicks were used in conjunction with buried clay-pot irrigation. I later discovered a variety of systems for wick watering that had been used in lab studies to measure water use, vacation-water plants, provide a steady water supply for plants in greenhouses, and starting seeds.
Capillary wicks are a popular way to water houseplants and starts. Photo credit: Mother Earth News

Set up a wick system to water your potted and in-ground plants with hands-free efficiency.

I couldn’t find any research on the use of wick irrigation in the field or garden, so I gave it a try. Over the past 30 years, I’ve conducted many experiments and field trials that have helped me understand how to design and use self-watering wick systems.

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Use wick watering to keep your plants hydrated. Self watering wick systems are simple to assemble, and they use less water than other methods.

The author with a gravity wick system.

Wick irrigation uses a wettable fabric or rope to carry water from a reservoir or pipe to the roots of a plant. Wick watering can work by a capillary flow that goes up and over a rise, resulting in a slow flow; by gravity flow, where water runs down the wick, which produces a fast flow; or by a hybrid of both systems. Here’s a closer look at both techniques so you can determine which will work best for your plants.

Click HERE to learn more at Mother Earth News.

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