See, I have three little boys, one of whom is in the “grab everything and destroy it” stage. I cannot have planters on the ground with Dominic around! I can’t guarantee that his 6 year old brother wouldn’t get into the dirt, either. So I needed something that I could keep up off the ground and out of toddler reach, at the very least.
There are quite a few awesome ideas for doing a PVC garden. I took some of those and adapted the ideas.
Some people feel that PVC pipe is dangerous for garden use. However, we use it for piping water, so I don’t see this as much different.
Making a Horizontal PVC Pipe Planter
PVC pipe garden I wanted something easy to hang on the concrete block wall that we have running around the yard. So I took a length of pipe (about 6 feet long) and painted it white on the outside. Our pipes were a gaudy bright orange . . . not really something I wanted hanging out there! In the future, I may let the kids draw and paint their own designs just for fun, but this one was simply spray painted white.
Next, I use a hole cutter with my husband’s drill to make 12 evenly spaced holes. I really should have gotten photos of all this, but I didn’t realize that I’d be writing a tutorial!
To make sure the holes are straight, I recommend having kids hold the pipe and then use a plumb line to snap a straight line across the length of pipe. This leaves a chalk mark. You can then measure however far apart you want the holes. Mine were about four inches apart.
If you can use a vice or something to hold the pipe while you cut, it will be MUCH easier. I stood on the pipe with one foot, but it was still hard. Also, the plastic circles stuck in the bit and I had a heck of a time getting them off. These make fun curved disks for kids to thread onto string or use for flying disks, etc.
Next, I drilled two small holes on opposite sides of the pipe at each end to thread the wire through. This wire was then twisted above and used to make hangers. I used the cutoff ends of 3 L pop bottles to block up the ends of the pipe.
You will also want to make some small drainage holes under the pipe. Just 4-6 will be fine. Put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pipe and then fill that sucker with dirt. That was possibly the hardest part of the whole thing! I ended up using a funnel to add the dirt. It took 10 lbs to fill this pipe.
Ready to Try Container Gardening?
PVC pipe gardens are basically container gardening and so it helps to have an idea of what you’re getting into before you start. These books will help you learn which vegetables do best in containers and how to make sure your garden flourishes.
Some Vegetable Gardener’s Advice: How to Grow Food in Pots and other containers.
Container Gardening: How To Grow Food, Flowers and Fun At Home (Gardening Guidebooks)
McGee & Stuckey’s Bountiful Container: Create Container Gardens of Vegetables, Herbs, Fruits, and Edible Flowers
Container Gardening: 250 Design Ideas & Step-by-Step Techniques
My lettuce is growing beautifully in the pipe garden!
PVC pipe garden As you can see, the lettuce is slightly stunted in the pipe, but it still grows very well! I’ve cut it several times for salads and there are enough plants to keep us in small salads fairly frequently. By cutting a bit above the base, I leave enough for the lettuce to grow back. It comes back rather quickly, too!
Why I’m Trying to Garden
I have black thumbs. While my mother can take ANYTHING and make it grow, those genes sure didn’t get passed on to me! However, we’ve recently had a lot of issues with contaminated produce, so I decided that it was vital to grow my own salad ingredients to feed my family. I want them to stay healthy!
Lettuce is one of the biggest offenders here in Guatemala and so I started with that. It’s not growing that well, but this may be because it is too hot for the poor plants. I’m considering moving the planter to a more shaded area . . . or making a new one and replanting this one.
One of the fun things about growing your own veggies is that the kids get interested. My greens resistant son came up while I was watering the lettuce the other day and asked if he could try some. I pulled out one of the extra baby plants and he ate it right up: This is the kid who NEVER touches greens if he can help it. I don’t think he’s ever eaten lettuce in his life. That right there is enough reason for me to keep trying.
More PVC Pipe Garden Ideas
PVC pipe garden ideas Isn’t this a cool idea? It’s so simple and you can either use leftover gutter or PVC pipes cut in half. My main reason for not doing an open design like this is that it gets very hot here in Guatemala and I wanted to reduce the amount of evaporation that would occur. In cooler areas, however, this would be great!
PVC Mosaic Pillars
PVC Garden Planters Here’s a really unique idea . . . turn PVC pipes into mosaic covered planters or pillars for plant pots. It’s actually surprisingly easy. This idea is on my list of fun ways to make my own planters.
PVC strawberry tower Strawberries take up a lot of space if you want enough to actually do something with. However, if you opt for vertical, then you can get all the berries you need for shortcake in one square foot of land. There are a lot of options out there, so you can probably just wing it from photos.