Join Our Mailing List
For Email Newsletters you can trust


« From the Center for Urban Greenscaping (CuGreen) | Main | Sub-irrigated Raised Bed Liners »

January 28, 2011


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Flickr Photo Set & Slide Show » Portable Micro Gardens (PMGs) Using the Sub-irrigated Planter (SIP) Method:



This is cool. Do you have to put a water bottle in each perforated, corrugated drain pipe? How does water get in the other pipes?


The corrugated drain pipe is perforated. There are holes (slots) all the way around. Water flows along the bottom of the watertight planter and finds its way up into each pipe (or inverted nursery flat, or plastic food container with holes at the top and bottom).

There is no need to connect the separate reservoirs in any way.

The soil media between them forms the capillary wicking.

Just as important, there is an air (oxygen) reservoir at the top of each reservoir that increases in volume as the water is consumed. This is a poorly understood benefit of sub-irrigated planters (SIPs).

Also remember that the key to all this is the overflow drain hole. Without it there is an exposure to over watering.

Hope this helps. If not ask again.


Where should the overflow drain hole be in relation to the top of the corrugated drain pipe. In other words if the drain pipe were "full" of water (water flowing out of the drain hole) how much air should still exist (if at all)?


JD, Good question! The overflow drain hole should enter the reservoir (whatever it is made from) at the top. The air (oxygen) reservoir is created as the water is consumed. It is essentially an "ebb and flow" system. There will be a diagram posted soon that shows this.


I'm still having a hard time understanding where the overflow drain hole should be located in a raised bed. Can you try explaining again? Thanks.


This looks fantastic like a fantastic system and I can't wait to try it out. Looking at your photos of constructing the window box planters on Flickr, it looks like you simply stapled plastic to the inside of the planters to waterproof them - is that right?


You got it Emily. Any container can become a SIP if you make it water tight. Sheet plastic is one method. If you want to be extra sure use two layers. Recycled soil mix and other heavy duty plastic bags work very well. I use them for the mulch cover also. Good luck.

James Gilbert

How far below the surface of the soil can the reservoir be and still have the water reach the plants? Is 30 inches too much?

Mike M

Great article. DIY Mag suggests also adding the corrugated pipe sock to keep soil from eventually filling up the pipes. I'll also be adding a simple removable hoop system and netting/hardware cloth to protect against our back yard deer population.

The comments to this entry are closed.