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Water Wisdom

Storm in a bathtub

Liz Ingham, of Clydesdale, Victoria, conducts some wicking bed science experiments that even Lord Monckton might like.

Wicking garden beds are an intriguing and simple concept in which a garden bed is suspended above a reservoir of water. 

Water is drawn up to the plants by capillary action, via a fabric wick and/or a gravel mix.  You fill the reservoir through a slotted pipe until water comes out an overflow hole...

Hubble bubble toil no trouble

Chris McLeod, from Cherokee, Victoria, calculates how much water he needs for bubble baths (and farming).

Living on a farm gives me the chance to do lots of rugged, dirty and strenuous activities.  If I need a house built, done that – tick; landscaping, no worries, I’m on to it; an attractive shed built in the courtyard – easy – tick; or a fox-proof chicken house and enclosure built, done – check.

However, at the end of the working day, I like nothing better than sitting in the bath, looking out the window and off into the distance.  If that bath has bubbles in it then that’s even better...

Tree farming on solid rock

Alanna Moore, of Castlemaine, Victoria, tells how she made a productive permaculture farm on dry rocky country.

I2000 I found my 14-acre central Victorian farm with its beautiful hilltop rock outcrop and I was smitten!  It was two years into a 12-year drought.  But I knew I could design around it.  This was to be my dream permaculture farm.

This Goldfields area is known for its hard rocky ground, hot dry summers and cold winters.  Often there is no topsoil at all...

Downpipe water harvest

Nevin Sweeney, of St Clair, New South Wales, invents a nifty device for diverting stormwater to the garden.

decided to divert some rainwater from the closest downpipe directly into my water garden.  I realised I would have to redirect the water flow in heavy rainfall times back into the stormwater system so that I didn’t flood the back yard.  You can use this device to divert rainwater to a tank, garden bed, tree or water garden...

No tanks for the downpour

No water tank?  No worries.  David Hutchinson, of Moonee Ponds in Victoria, describes his clever system to use rainwater for his precious garden beds.

It all started off as I sat on the front veranda drinking, and watching the rain come down.  A downpour was something to watch during the drought in 2010.  The downpipe was spluttering into the stormwater drainage system leading out into the street.  This had to stop.  

The front yard is pretty small so we were not keen on a water tank to capture the runoff.  Besides, only a small portion of the roof drains to the front.  Still, water was going to waste, so what to do?..

Water works for a thirsty farm

Running low on water prompted Bruce Hedge to check the water supply at his Newham, Victoria, farm.

got a fright the other day.  We ran out of water and I didn’t know why.  Being on tank water exclusively makes you very aware of how much water you use.  In the middle of spring, running low on water is the last thing you need.  I climbed up and looked inside our main 31,000-litre tank, and was alarmed to see it empty!  It must have sprung a leak!  Don’t panic, keep calm and carry on, Bruce...