ECHOcommunity Updates

TN #95 100-Fold Vegetable Gardens with Low-Cost Wicking Beds 2019-09-18

EXCERPT: I discovered 100-fold gardens while researching ways to irrigate plants directly in the root zone. I wanted to know how to practically and affordably control some of the variables that influence plant growth, such as water availability and soil fertility. I read about “wicking beds,” which are watered from below as water moves up towards plants’ rooting zone from a reservoir lined with plastic. Watering from below prevents water loss while maintaining constant soil moisture and supplying water and nutrients in accordance with plant needs. 

The wicking beds that I read about were primarily built above ground and used expensive containers and other materials. Proponents recommended potting soil to fill the beds. I began experimenting with local materials to reduce the cost of the beds. I did not want to have to purchase expensive containers or soil, so I decided to dig the beds 30 cm into the ground. That way, the ground would serve as the container, and we could sieve the soil from the hole and use it as the growing medium; it ends up being a fine growing medium that remains friable and that wicks water and nutrients well. We used the rocks and other large objects that were left in the sieve as part of the filler for the bottom of the beds. We were also able to dispose of old tin cans, bottles, broken glass, bones, etc. in the bottom part of the beds.

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Upcoming events

ECHO Asia Agriculture & Community Development Conference 2019
Tue, 1 October 2019 » Fri, 4 October 2019

Holiday Garden Hotel and Resort and The ECHO Asia Impact Center Farm and Seed Bank, Thailand

"Small Scale: Up Scale" How can we help small scale farming initiatives thrive in Asia? We can provide low-cost, innovative options that allow people to grow both their crops and their knowledge, expand their operations, and scale up! Join us October 1-4 for 3-days of networking and opportunities to share ideas, technologies appropriate for small scale farmers, and lots of practical demonstrations at the new ECHO Asia Seed Bank & Small Farm Resource Center! In addition to mor...

ECHO International Agriculture Conference 2019
Tue, 19 November 2019 » Thu, 21 November 2019

Crowne Plaza Hotel , United States

It's nearly time for ECHO's International Agriculture Conference!  Join ECHO in Fort Myers, Florida for our annual three-day conference that will discuss challenges facing small scale farmers and development workers in the tropics. You can learn more about the 2019 ECHO International Agriculture Conference by visiting our event website Interested in presenting a workshop or evening breakout session? Remember to register for the event first, then apply at...

Kigali, Rwanda ECHO Symposium
Tue, 26 November 2019 » Thu, 28 November 2019

Hilltop hotel in Kigali-Remera (TENTATIVE), Rwanda

Best practices improving nutrition and sustainable agriculture in highland areas. This ECHO Symposium will provide a network and training opportunity for those involved in alleviating hunger and poverty in highlands of East Africa. Three mornings of plenary sessions featuring knowledgeable and experienced speakers would be followed by afternoon workshops and discussion groups led by regional agricultural development workers and experts. Symposium Dates - 26th-28th November, 2019 25th N...

Moroto, Karamoja, Uganda ECHO Symposium
Mon, 2 March 2020 » Wed, 4 March 2020


A symposium on best practices to improve nutrition and livelihoods in pastoralist areas. This ECHO Symposium provides a network and training opportunity for those involved in alleviating hunger and poverty in pastoralist areas of East Africa. Three mornings of plenary sessions featuring knowledgeable and experienced speakers would be followed by afternoon workshops and discussion groups led by regional agricultural development workers and experts. Symposium Dates - 2nd-4th March, 2020 ...

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