About: I'm a refugee from Los Angeles, living in backwoods Puerto Rico for about 35 years now and loving it. I built my own home from discarded nylon fishnet and cement.

Sometimes a gardener is his own worst enemy. That's the way I feel when I accidentally whack down something of value when I'm weeding with the string trimmer or machete.

To help me distinguish between the good and the bad, I usually mark new things I plant with stakes made of PVC pipe. PVC is white, so it makes a high-visibility marker. It also lasts a long time and can be reused over and over.

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Step 1: Cut the Pipe

Any wood saw, or hacksaw will cut PVC. It's a relatively soft material; so don't worry about damaging the teeth on your wood saw.

You can cut the pipe long or short, depending on the weeds you expect to find when you do your weeding.

Cut the top end square, for driving the stake in the ground with a hammer. Cut the bottom end at an angle to make a point.

Recycle scrap pipe before cutting into the new stuff.

Step 2: Drive the Stake in the Ground

Due to the angle cut at the bottom, the stake tends to lean more and more to one side as you drive it in. Think ahead and start driving it at an angle, so that it will straighten up as it goes in.

Sometimes I drive three stakes around things I plant. That way, seedlings are physically protected from the trimmer string, no matter what direction they are attacked from.

Step 3: The Finishing Touch

I am somewhat paranoid about breeding mosquitoes in stagnant water. The hollow pipes will collect rainwater in them. Once the stake is in place, I break off a little piece of Styrofoam, or wad up some aluminum foil and pack it in the top of the pipe. That keeps the mosquitoes out, even if water gets in past the plug.

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    6 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    RE STEP3 Finishing Touche: Why not just drill a few 1/8 - 1/4'' random holes near to and below ground level and just let the water drain or seep into the ground? Seems an easier and more permanent solution. A few (or a lot) of small holes will not compromise the strength of the pipe as it is being used here.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Why the extra work, why not just the plug. Seems much faster and simpler.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    The bottom of the pipe is open. Perhaps the main problem here is the quality of the soil. We have a lot of clay in ours. Anyway, plugging the top is easy to do and Styrofoam scraps are free and plentiful.