"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday 10 November 2011

Porous pipe

I don't remember where on Google I found, and then read about, this, but with all things recycled, especially such items as car tyres my ears perk up (or should that be my eyes pop out LOL)  I cannot abide the habit of sending tyres to landfill - for any reason!  And, if they can be recycled, I'm thrilled to bits.

So when I spotted this, I had to find out if it was available in South Africa.

And, happily, it is!

It is called porous pipe - a drip irrigation system par excellence.
The drops of water are visible as they start
oozing out of the pipe (note the damage 
to my
garden fork - caused by the rocky soil :)  )
It can be laid above, or below ground with no problem - even clay :) Apparently it consumes / distributes 2 ltrs of water / mtr / hour (3½ pints / 39 inches / hour).  An added advantage is that it only requires ½ to 1½ bar water pressure.  It can even operate from a suspended bucket.

We laid out 16 mtrs (17½ yards), connected it to our existing (solid) black irrigation pipe and turned on the water.  (It could also be connected to a normal hosepipe with a clip-on attachment.)  Half an hour of watering later, the ground within a 30cm (1 foot) radius either side of the pipe was beautifully damp - underground - near the roots of the plants / seedlings.  Exactly where they need it :) Invariably, on a hot or windy day, water which lands on the surface is wasted through evapouration - a criminal waste of this precious, life sustaining resource. This pipe delivers the water below ground - it can be felt from about 3 - 6cms (¾ -  inches) deep.  Naturally, the depth that the pipe is laid determines how deep the water will penetrate.
Half an hour of watering (on the
surface of the ground) produced this
I have used this pipe both ways.  Inside the shadecloth veggie patch I have left it on top of the soil - so that hopefully the seeds (lettuce / rocket / carrot) will get enough water for their germination.  Being inside, and protected somewhat from the wind and sun, hopefully the evapouration wont be that pronounced.

And on the outside I have buried it below the ground - for the Borage plants, and the Aubergine and bean seedlings, as well as the (buried) bean seeds.
Some examples of how you could lay out the porous pipe -
the only limit is your imagination :)
For my readers who are in Europe it also goes under the name of Porous Pipe and Leaky Pipe.  For further information on how this pipe works please go to this or this link.  I can't seem to find an outlet in the US of A.  But, in both Europe and the US it may also be available at your local garden centre.

I managed to get hold of it through our local importer / distributor, Tina (click on her name to contact her via e-mail), who is situated in George.

Given that this is made from recycled tyres, and thus has a l-o-n-g lifespan, as well as being tough enough to withstand being pronged by a fork (or even nibbled by a mongoose), I reckon everyone who is able should ditch their conventional sprinklers and use this for their garden bed watering requirements, for we are all aware of the ever increasing shortage of fresh water world-wide. Every drop that can be saved is a drop which is available for use on another day :)  And the cost of the pipe will definitely be recouped by the saving in water / replacing of the perishable old type (green) garden hose in it's lifetime.

We will definitely be using it for all the new plants which go into the ground on our farm...

(Note:  I am not benefiting in any way for naming / promoting any products I mention on my blog.  I mention these products I find, and give links [where possible], because I have personally tried them out, and found them to be worthy of sharing :) )


  1. We use something very similar called a "soaker hose", might be the same thing as your porous pipe. We are able to water almost 1/4 of our garden this way.

  2. Mr H - Such a simple thing - saving so much water. I had to share the info :)

  3. I always use the soaker hose to loop around tomatos, and other veggies in the garden under what ever mulch i'm using. It is great.

  4. Mr H - Just checked - your soaker hose (http://www.soakerhose.info/) is my porous pipe LOL Easy to find if I know what to call it - porous pipe / leaky hose / soaker hose...

    Lou - It is, isn't it :)

  5. One word of advice I found out the hard way. I used my 700 gallon rain barrel to water with my soaker hose and I forgot to put a filter on the spout of the barrel. Well the sediment on the bottom of the barrel clogged the soaker hose and it would not work properly afterward. Most of the smaller holes have been totally blocked with sediment. Live and learn I guess :)

  6. Oh this is interesting! Porous pipe! Thank you so much for your post on it. I will definitely look into it!

  7. We use these to irrigate our garden beds - they work really well, releasing a very gentle trickle that doesn't empty our our rainwater tanks in one fell swoop.. :)

  8. It looks great Dani :) My mother-in-law (who lives in Joburg) says that it's around 36 degrees for you today. You're certainly going to need those dripper hoses in that heat!

  9. Oh, this is one of the things on my wish list. Maybe for my birthday next year....

  10. Isn't it great, we use it for our tomatoes, peppers,eggplants, and some of our squash plants...wish I could do the whole garden this way. Honestly, I had no idea they were made from recycled tires but after you said that I see that some of mine certainly look like they are too.

  11. Jane - Thanks :) - yes, we are aware of sediment and will be placing an in-line filter.

    Barbie - It seriously works :)

    Celia - Precisely - that's one of the things I love about it :)

    Tanya - Joey's is 1500 km from here and they are going through a hectic heatwave. Us, we've had rain for the past 4 days LOL

    Mr H - I'm going to be using it for as many veggies (and trees) as possible!

  12. About the pond weed?

    Oh yes we wanted shade. Saw that at a nursery. Asked for some. We were warned, have to scoop it off every week! There is a larger duckweed, easier to catch, this is a nightmare!!

    Better solution for shade is the water lilies, and the trees around. Your pond needs a certain depth against our summer heat. And the blanket weed will settle and resolve itself given a little time.

  13. LOL my son bought some small fish (goldfish?) which turned into ruddy great Koi. They ate all the pond weed. And the water lilies. And a fortune in food every month...

    Blanket weed - overtook the entire pond, even the filter. And then the pond sprang a leak. So we gave the Koi away and emptied it.

  14. Would love to get some of this pipe. Is it made locally or is it imported? I greatly support using recycled products but I am not fond of shipping them all over the world because that defeats the object really.

  15. slowvelder - Actually - good question. And I agree.

    I automatically assumed it was local. Perhaps you should e-mail Tina and ask her?

  16. I am delighted that it is available again. Used it for veg some 30 years ago while living in the then Northern Transvaal.8


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