PVC Why do you see it used in gardening?

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Hey everyone. I having been pouring over all sorts of plans and ideas for gardens but the one thing I see a lot that just doesn't make any sense to me is gardening with PVC. Now, from what I understand PVC is essentially toxic, and can leech those toxins into the soil or water. Does anyone know why people are constantly suggesting the use of it for vegetable gardening other than the cost? I wouldn't think you could use it in organic farming either. Any ideas?
 

Zeedman

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PVC tubing & its various connectors are widely available, and very useful for supporting row covers. You can literally just bend 10' sections into hoops & stick both ends in the ground, to support hoop tunnels. I use PVC cages over pepper plants, to exclude pollinators when growing a seed crop. The current PVC schedules are highly UV resistant, don't rot or degrade in moist conditions, and have smooth edges that won't tear the covering fabric. The cages, when pressure fitted into the connectors, are easily disassembled for storage. I've been using the same cages since 2005, with no sign of degradation.

PVC is also widely used for running permanent, low-cost water lines for irrigation. The community garden I once belonged to ran all of its buried water lines using PVC. If I have one reservation about that, it is with the adhesive & primer used for securing connections, not the PVC itself... I would flush those lines well before watering vegetables.

PVC produces toxic byproducts when burned or exposed to high heat, but those conditions are not commonly found in gardens. It is not toxic in its stable form. I have seen organic farmers using it for the hoop tunnels mentioned above.
 

Dirtmechanic

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In order to garden organically, you have to, must, learn balance. The same chemistry that locks up aluminum in my soil is capable of dissolving it into a toxic medium. Higher PH solves that aluminum toxicity issue in my acid clay the same way pvc polymers intertwine and lose their electrical interest in attachment to other materials in the environment. When I use pvc, I use the grey form, the electrical conduit type. It has the same flexibility and characteristics as the white water line plus one necessary improvement. That improvement is that it is ultraviolet stable, where the white is not rated for outside aboveground use. Its not that the copolymers will break down into toxic elements but that the molecules (smallest recognizable chunks) will break apart as the surface oxidizes and the weak static charges holding the plastic together come under attack by the ionizing effects of UV radition and Heat, another weakness of the white pvc pipe.
 

majorcatfish

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hummm, plastic piping is used every where in our day to day living

city water service plastic pipes...
if you have city water plastic pipe from the main to your house....
if you have a well it's a very good assumption you have plastic piping from well to house, and highly likely your well has a 4" or 6" plastic pipe hanging down the well for the pump to sit in....
depending how old or new your house is it might have some type of plastic piping it as well...
then theres garden hoses.....

i would not lose any sleep over plastic piping....
 

flowerbug

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i won't use it as i've seen it shatter too easily. if i need to do something i'll use rebar or wood instead.
 

so lucky

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I've got some I used to make a low hoop house a few years ago. It was only out in the elements one season. I may use it again.
I want a tall hoop house. I want a green house, actually. May as well dream big, right?
 
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