Watering with PVC Pipe – Will small #57-size holes get plugged up?

Q.  I am in the process of starting work on the irrigation part
of my conversion to the MittleiderMethodGardening system. I would like to ask  if the small #57 holes in the pvc pipes present any special trouble
with stopping up?

A.  A #57 hole in a Schedule 200 PVC pipe will not plug up much at all if you are using water from a well or from the city system, etc.  If you use irrigation water from a canal or stream you may have some sediment that can clog the holes.

I water from a mountain stream that is sometimes quite dirty – especially in the spring and after a hard rain.  If I experience any clogging of the holes in my pipes I just carry a hoe with me and hit the pipe with the hoe HANDLE a few times. This will dislodge the tiny pieces of pebble, or whatever it is.  Immediately after doing this to a pipe I will unscrew the far end-cap and let the water run through for a few seconds, flushing any loose residue out the end of the pipe.

If any of you are tempted to use Schedule 40 PVC pipe, because “its stronger and will last longer”, etc., I don’t recommend it.  It’s usually more than double the cost, heavier, much harder to drill the holes (breaking lots of drill bits), more inclined to plug up, harder to break loose the blockage with the hose-handle, and even the Schedule 200 will last more than 20 years with any kind of care, so who needs it to last longer.

Soaker Hoses for Watering – Good, Bad or ?

Q.  Regarding irrigation, I found a couple of black “soaker” hoses (the type that basically weep out water)and tried them in my grow boxes.  They worked very well for me as an irrigation setup for my grow boxes.  I did wonder if the black color of the hose could heat up during hot sunny days and possibly “scald” the younger plants. A friend recommended slightly burying the hoses, but I felt I would have even more undissolved fertilizer if I did this. I appreciate any feed back.

A.  Our experience with soaker hoses has not been as good as with drilled PVC pipe.  Being right on the ground, and with VERY small holes, they tend to plug up and not deliver water from every orafice.  Cost and durability are factors, and when used on dirt they get in the way of weeding, and are susceptible to being cut in the weeding process.

Black soaker hoses will not burn or harm your small plants if used properly. They are supposed to be placed in the center of the bed between two rows of plants, and so will be several inches distant from plant stems.

Leaves should not come in contact with them, because you should always be pruning your leaves that touch the ground.