On February 3-4, 2021, the Russian River Watershed Association hosted a two-day online event, Rehydrating the Russian River Watershed: Moving Towards Regenerative Landscapes with Didi Pershouse and Walter Jehne, renowned Australian microbiologist and climate scientist. I was able to catch some of this live and watch the recordings. This is excellent information! I would rate Jehne as one of top people in the world today elucidating restoring soils, landscapes and ecosystems and how vegetation affects regional climate and microclimate.
Watch the videos and view other resources on the Russian River Watershed Association's website: Walter Jehne offers examples of successes from around the world in rehydration of landscapes, restoring regional rainfall, and flood, drought, and wildfire prevention.
I noticed that Walter Jehne had included information on wicking beds so I sent the url to my friend Phil Small, who is one of the leaders in developing wicking beds in the semi-arid Columbia Basin. He critiqued Walter’s info and Walter might want to look at Phil’s comments. Which follow.
"Capillary bags and self-watering planters are such a good idea for urban areas and other harsh environments. To be encouraged. The actual wicking bag design in the diagram has 2 technical problems. 1. unaddressed need to manage the tendency for standing gray water from going anaerobic in the water pillow. And 2, the design needs a drain. Rain can fill a bag with water. Plus wicking beds have a knack for building up salts (some research I read). Mine do, salt inflorescence is visible, and I don't even use gray water which would add to the salt accumulation. If rain isn't enough to flush salts, I get to flush it with a hose. Drain location, size and decant elevation all affect performance related to water logging and salinization. I expect once a person has grown in a wicking sack for a few seasons, that person will figure all this out and more without much effort.
"Failure is an essential part of learning, to be embraced, even pursued in some measure, not feared. Once one learns first hand how wicking sacks fail, it's pretty easy to come up with ideas to accommodate salt buildup, and the tendency to go anaerobic, any number of ways to pull it off.”