Do It Yourself: Build A Sub-Irrigated Planter

We assisted science and technology teacher and garden manager Ms. Hau Yu Chu at the PS 126/MAT school garden with building a SIP  also known as sub-irrigated planter. 

We created an SIP design in a raised bed to compare to the raised bed without sub-irrigation in the garden to see how the plants will grow in these differently managed environments. 

 First, lay a hardwire cloth on the bottom of the raised bed so rodents can't come from underground to damage the bed and plants.

First, lay a hardwire cloth on the bottom of the raised bed so rodents can't come from underground to damage the bed and plants.

  Then, we added 1 inch soil on top of the hardwire cloth to prevent damage to the plastic sheet we put on top.

Then, we added 1 inch soil on top of the hardwire cloth to prevent damage to the plastic sheet we put on top.

 We lined the plastic sheet in the bottom one and stapled them using a staple gun. This will be the reservoir for the water. 

We lined the plastic sheet in the bottom one and stapled them using a staple gun. This will be the reservoir for the water. 

  We fill the bed with water and make sure there is no leakage.

We fill the bed with water and make sure there is no leakage.

  After filling up the bed just right below the edge, we put 3 milk grates and secure the PVC pipes with plastic security strips. The milk crates are used so that the landscape fabric that we put on top of it will not fall. 

After filling up the bed just right below the edge, we put 3 milk grates and secure the PVC pipes with plastic security strips. The milk crates are used so that the landscape fabric that we put on top of it will not fall. 

  The landscape fabric is to separate the water and the soil that we will put on top of it. 

The landscape fabric is to separate the water and the soil that we will put on top of it. 

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  Poke a hole through the landscape fabric, just enough for the PVC pipe to go through the milk crates. Then secure the PVC pipe to the milk crate to keep it afloat with the plastic security strips. The PVC pipe is used to refill water as well as check water level. Make sure the size of PVC pipe will fit through the milk crate, if necessary, cut a bigger hole in the milk crate. 

Poke a hole through the landscape fabric, just enough for the PVC pipe to go through the milk crates. Then secure the PVC pipe to the milk crate to keep it afloat with the plastic security strips. The PVC pipe is used to refill water as well as check water level. Make sure the size of PVC pipe will fit through the milk crate, if necessary, cut a bigger hole in the milk crate. 

 Fill  the bed with a mixture of compost, vermiculture, and peat moss mix. 

Fill the bed with a mixture of compost, vermiculture, and peat moss mix. 

  Add the second tier of the raised bed and secure with metal plate and screws.  

Add the second tier of the raised bed and secure with metal plate and screws.  

 Add more of the soil mixture until at least 2 inches from the top.    After the SIP is complete, you can begin planting as normal!  

Add more of the soil mixture until at least 2 inches from the top.  

After the SIP is complete, you can begin planting as normal!