• http://www.tomjdolan.com Tom Dolan

    Another great idea for a vertical garden. My question relates to the pipe as a conduit for the water and chemicals. The pipe pictured, looks like the common white plastic pipe generally available in home centers like Home Depot, OSH, etc. and used in plumbing applications.

    If it is, how can I be certain this is a correct application for that type of pipe? Quite possibly, chemicals in the pipe might leach into the water and then into the veggies and then into…me? And too, the chemical hydroponics mix might further encourage that leaching action. I don’t know but I’d want to be certain before I used this idea for edibles. Otherwise, it looks really creative for ornamental plants.

    • http://liveoakmedia.net/about/team/matt-embrey/ Matt Embrey

      Great question. I am in the process of researching this and I’ll report back. An initial search of Google showed some mixed views but enough talk about chemical leeching to be concerned. I’ll let you know what I find.

      • http://www.leafhoney.net Steve Adams

        I’ve read quite a bit about the feminizing properties of PVC. It’s a weird topic. I think the industry prevents significant research into the issue, somehow, because as it stands a lot of information out there is entirely anecdotal. Significant facts do exist, but nothing suggesting you shouldn’t use the pipes for this or similar purposes. Personally, I think it’s because the industry would like to see their products sold for as many purposes as possible, safe or not. I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist – It’s like cigarettes. They knew they killed us for decades before the research actually got out.

        I’d try to find an alternative pipe. I’ve been trying, but nothing is available around here in that price range. If you find something I’d love to hear about it!

  • http://houstongardening.yourhoustonhomeinspector.com Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

    Most of the concern with the use of plastic came about from a study which found that the hardening agent used in plastic production can leach out with water over time, but it was found to do so in small amounts. The concern is constant use of the pipe to water. Initial studies have not shown health risks associated with these pipes, but as Steve mentioned most information that we have is anecdotal. I have not found anyone doing long term research, but I think that there must be.

    The plastic pipes have been used by many gardeners to good effect for creating raised and vertical gardens. I was thinking of experimenting with a set up myself.

    • http://liveoakmedia.net/about/team/matt-embrey/ Matt Embrey

      Let us know how the experiment goes.

  • http://tomjdolan.com Tom Dolan

    Without being negative, discouraging or obtuse, a long time niggling question I’ve dealt with concerns the overall ‘chemical soup’ I exist in and consume. I don’t expect us to resolve this issue here now, never-the-less, I’d like to see a super computer assess the millions of common chemical interactions we Americans/Advanced Industrial society people interact with on a daily/weekly or annual basis. Why,

    Well, I think in the name of convenience, economy of scale, and profit, we are actually assaulting our slow-to-evolve body with a bit more then it can process successfully. Quite possibly a fundamental reason for the health issues we see around us. I don’t pretend to be a researcher, so don’t misread this comment, but it just seems that ‘a bit of this and a dab of that’ added to an already toxic or near-toxic mix can further damage my body’s ability to fend for itself. So,

    When I read about “small amounts” of something that by itself isn’t considered or proven dangerous or toxic, I instinctually resist the reflexive notion that it’s OK.
    I’m not paranoid, just trying to make good decisions, like you.

    • Matt

      I don’t think that’s paranoid, that’s smart. Small harmless amounts can add up to harmful amounts. I liken it to Dunkin Donut’s munchkins. I’d never buy a donut and eat it, but anytime someone has a box of munchkins I probably eat 2-3 full donuts worth of munchkins because they seem small and harmless.

  • Matt

    I have not verified this with an independent source but according to the National Sanitation Foundation…

    plastic plumbing products designed for potable water applications are usually designated with either “NSF-PW” or “NSF-61″ to indicate that the product complies with the health effects requirements of NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for materials designed for contact with potable water. This standard also establishes similar guidelines for other plumbing materials, including copper tubing. If your pipe is not coded with one of these designations or if it is designated with an alternative code such “NSF-DWV,” it is probably not meant for potable water applications and should not be used for such purposes.


    • http://www.tomjdolan.com Tom Dolan

      Hey Matt,

      Terrific follow-up, didn’t expect that actually, but I’m impressed. The info re: safe plastic pipe is really good to know, I’m going to get all this on my facebook page for others to consider. Also, I’ll follow on facebook. Also I’d like to contact you re: a freeby volunteer project I’m offering groups I support.

      Thanx for the good work.

      • http://liveoakmedia.net/about/team/matt-embrey/ Matt Embrey

        Great, let me know if you get any interesting feedback. If you need to contact me shoot me an email to matt at greenupgrader dot com.

  • Aaron Brand

    I am new to vegetable gardening. My family was fortunate to recently purchase a home which had been previously owned by a gardener. There was a small patch of edibles that we have been able to maintain and the question of what chemicals these veggies might contain has plagued me from day one. I am trying to use only organic techniques to minimize chemical applications in the surrounding (watershed) environment. Also, I’m trying to use only rainwater to conserve the potable source of water in my region. It seems to me that the question of what impact chemicals from the pipes used for this project will have on our bodies is a little ridiculous. There are no conclusive studies of plastics leeching chemicals because there is no big impact, not because there is some huge conspiracy. Remember, BPA is no longer commercially viable because we know the health impacts. There is no reason that plastics, like PVC, which have been is use for many years now would not be studied carefully. Maybe the rain water that I capture with a painted steel (re-purposed ReStore product) roof on my rain shed is leeching chemicals into the soil when I water my plants, and maybe it is also contaminating my food plants, but there is no way than it is worse than the stuff draining into my yard from uphill in the two-dozen, or so, yards uphill from me! I would never drink that water, but it waters my plants nonetheless! What’s the big deal? It’s better than most processed, prepackaged foods- of this I am pretty darn sure.

  • Pingback: 3 Gorgeous Vertical Gardens : Going Green For You!

  • Fran

    Where can I find the small plastic plant pots with the holes in the sides?

  • Alisha Einzweig

    GENIAL.-) thanks the Polish and German

    Alisha Einzweig = facebook

  • A

    Hi, Do you have any recommendations for utilizing a solar power source for the water pump and any other electrical? Thanks!

  • frank

    All the concern about using white PVC pipe is legit, so don’t use it. Instead use CVPC, which is design for use in household water systems and public water sources.