it could be osmosis, capilary action, or some drawing action of the wood and the earth.
Anyway, if you line the bottom edge of all the siding with a James Hardi Cementious board, your worries will be over. I have used this many times on this very application. This comes in 6 and 8 inch width strips. Screw the board to the base and then caulk the intersection with a good 50 year caulk that is paintable. the hardi board is wood grained and primed. all you do is install it and paint it. You can even have this board on the earth.