We've still got a month of Summer, and there can still be some scorchers in Autumn!
Wicking beds have become quite popular in the last year or so, and they offer many benefits:
Because they are watered from the bottom up, there is no evaporation
A full wicking bed can support the garden bed for about a week
watering from the bottom up is the natural way plants get their water (other than when it rains). If plants are watered from the top down too often, their roots begin to grow up to the surface. They can burn and dry out very quickly, causing the plant to suffer
Water is contained
Because the water is all contained there is no risk of seepage in unwanted areas; under house foundations, sheds, etc.
it also slows down weeds surrounding the beds
No salting of soil
Evaporation from surface watering causes the salt and minerals to be left on the surface of the soil, and in the long run, leaves the soil stripped of nutrients and cannot support life
Drainage for heavy rain
If there is a heavy downpour, there is sufficient drainage so the plants don't drown/rot
Warms up quicker
Because the bed is raised, it has the benefit of warming up quicker than in-ground beds
Saves bending over
The benefit of a raised bed is no need for bending over to harvest your crop
Contained from weeds
The bed is completely concealed from the outside ground, the spreading of weeds is very minor
Wicking beds take a little bit of organising and setting up, but a wise man once said, 'take the time it takes now, so it will take less time later'. The benefits of wicking beds are definitely worth the bit of extra cost and effort at the start, and save time and money later.
Almost all you need for building a wicking bed can be found at DSM Landscape & Building Supplies; hardwood sleepers, builders' plastic, gravel, sand, soil, mulch, pea straw and seedlings.
There are plenty of helpful guides online to building your own wicking bed, they vary slightly, but have the same general purpose: save water and save time! It will help you to read up on what style of wicking bed will suit you the most.