Container gardening using plastic pipes


Although we are based in the Philippines you can pretty much do this anywhere and often you can get off cuts of pipe by asking nicely at nearby construction sites for the “junk”. Now for those in the Philippines here is a bit of information to keep things cheap, the orange pipe is an imported brand and costs over P400 per metre while the brown one on the lift is local branded at P180 as well as being the next size up. We had some of the orange left from doing our drainpipes and bought the brown generally they come in 10ft lengths which seem to be more like 9’6”?

You can buy end caps locally at P50 each but there should be cheaper ones available but not at our hardware store as they had only the vented unscrew type where we actually just need blanking plates on each end. If your wondering what I am talking about each section of pipe is completely hollow you can put water in one end and it will pour out the other so stops are needed otherwise during heavy rainfall when the container is in place your soil is going to pour out. A cheap way to cap them though is to glue in some old plastic bottles cut up to jam the holes not pretty but once cut flat once wedged in and glued you won’t notice as the ends aren’t visable. Any other suggestions are welcome!

Cutting the rectangular holes you will need a jigsaw as doing it with a handsaw is not only awkward its also very time consuming how much? My father in-law is pretty skilled in hand tools and the same time it took him to start the orange pipe I had already completed the two brown. The easiest way to get an even hole is to take a piece of A4 paper fold it in half and cut the shape to suit the pipe this will a llow you to get the right design and shape for the pipe you have available without wasting anything. Once you have the right size remember before marking out to leave a gap at the ends for whatever method your using to support the pipe in our case its chains. Its also worth reading up on the type of plants your using to make sure they match the spacing available for ours its going to be tomatoes which is why the gaps are fairly large to allow extra growth.

  • Find a centre line on the pipe or create one, the ones we have there was a seam from where the moulds were joined but you may just need to draw a straight line down the pipe.
  • Unfold your paper and use the crease line as the centre of your now “paper jig”.
  • Draw round it with a marker pen and follow down your pipe to the spacings you have already decided on. For me what I did was take a papers length from one end and marked one skipped one as the numbers matched the length of the pipe.
  • Once you have your markings now we can being to cut the pipe with the jigsaw. Make sure you have a speed setting that matches the blade and pipe it shouldn’t feel hard to cut through and you should just be guiding not pushing the jigsaw.
  • Easiest way to do this I found was to wedge the pipe on a chair and hang a section off with the size of the pipe your jigsaw won’t come through the other side so very little risk of damaging the furniture but using the chair base and back it stops the pipe moving when held with your knee. Initially cut the straight cross lines along all your cuts.
  • Now you have your initial cuts take the jigsaw and put it back in one of the straight cuts and as you start to move forward guide it towards the cross line it should begin to curve and head along the line to the other straight cut in that section. Once it reaches the cut remove the jigsaw and cut it the opposite way. This was the easiest way I found to cut the pipe out.

Now the holes are cut you will find the pipe may be a bit rough so recommend just rubbing down with a bit of sandpaper to take the sharp edges off. You now have your pipe pretty much ready to hang, there are different was to hang the pipe although I think the craddle is probably the best method where the pipe is actually held by wire wrapped round it rather than something like hooks or chains drilled and attached to it as that may cause a lot of stress on the pipe. At the same time the craddle method is also exterior so less likely to rust and easier to maintain.

frame for container garden.

Now with the one we are building here as you can see they are all chained together and the reason being is we have an area which is around 10ft high by 8ft wide that they are going to hang them in and let the tomatoes hang naturally. Giving them height leaves them less prone to predators but at the same time its the long climbers I am after to add a bit of colour to the wall structure and if any tomatoes actually develop its a bonus. Could just as easily be egg plants or even flowers in the containers. Could even mix them.

This will be an initial experiment as we have a lot of balcony and roof areas we could exploit for container gardens all over the properties here as well as along fences.

container gardening container garden







As you can see we have many other things growing and in the red bucket above is actually an onion growing. As well as bamboo on the far left, the main thing is to have fun initially and find what plants work as we know the soil around us is very good for egg plants as my in-laws as well as neighbours grew lots of it this year and last as well as bananas but I think we can be doing a lot more.

0 comments for “Container gardening using plastic pipes

  1. Steve
    February 12, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Great and works well if properly done. Have done similar with different size pipes in ascending order – smaller pipes say 3″ on top followed by 6″ and 8″ at the bottom. The larger tubes may be a little difficult to obtain and you may need to check out a plumbing store. As I live in a dry area I used a small fish tank water pump set on a timer to water it. It does sound expensive and difficult but its not really once you get the hang of it. Smaller tubes grow spring onions, lemon grass, herbs. Mediub sized tubes grow salads and the large tubes grow chillies, capsicum, tomatoes. Try it sometime. Easy and rewarding.

  2. February 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Thanks Steve,
    Would be interested to see your setup. The water pump is a great idea and looking at doing an aquaponics setup based on the multi tear system later in the year.