This is another important accessory that we might like to consider, as we previously discussed, we wrote how raised beds are particularly dry by nature and need irrigating every now and then. Along with setting up and assembling our bed frames, we now know that watering raised beds is part of the norm, especially just after planting, as this time is critical to the survival and establishment of our plants and vegetables. We can set up a rainwater harvesting unit for these purposes, which won’t cost the earth, but will serve to address all of the irrigation concerns for our raised bed gardens.
We have all seen the barrel at the end of the garage or at the end of the out-house, which down through the years collected the rain water and this was subsequently used to provide for most of our water requirements. Our forefathers were clever when it came to issues like this used whatever means that were at their disposal to get by. This method may suit us today, depending on how many raised beds we have or what sizes they are. Some other factors to take into account are, the country and climate that we live in, also what we are planting and growing, as some crops require more water than others.
The primary objective of harvesting rainwater today, may be for our garden needs, maybe its for washing the car, we may have some animals that require water or it may be for the purpose of power-hosing the house, yard or outhouses and for general uses like that. To have a reserve for these purposes is not a very difficult task to achieve, for starters, the good old 40 gallon steel drum or barrel will always help, but today there are more technical and efficient methods and devices for this purpose. Companies and businesses are nowadays coming up with great ideas and solutions to everyday problems and the great thing about these water harvesting containers is that they are not very expensive to buy. They can be purchased at all hardware or plumming stores and they can also be sourced online. The investment in one of these utensils or containers will pay us back handsomely over time and will be well worth every penny.
Earlier on, on this website we spoke about where to locate and situate our raised garden beds and one important factor in this discussion was, that we assemble our bed frames as near as possible to a water source for these specific reasons. In some second-hand stores and junk yards we can get these plastic drums, wheelie bins or small dumpsters which were used for commercial use once upon a time and now these containers will be very suitable for the purpose of harvesting rainwater. In fact the plastic drums are more efficient and better suited, as they are easily plummed and they are probably more hygenic as well. The steel barrels are prone to rusting and will probably spring some leaks after being out in the elements over time.
Plumming and setting up rainwater tanks;
The ideal place to set-up these water harvesting tanks is at the end of a downpipe, which services a large building or outhouse. Once in place, nature does the rest and in no time at all these tanks will fill up and will easily take care of the watering requirements for our raised beds. Not only will the irrigation needs be sorted for us but also if we decide to fertilise our crops with a liquid feed, we will need copious amounts of water for this job as well. By carefully placing one of these tanks on a platform of concrete blocks or something solid like that, we can also install an overflow system which could feed into another container and act as reservoir for later on into the year, when we may have long dry periods without rain. This job of work is simple
Gravity watering our garden;
Like we mentioned above, if we could have these utensils above the level of our raised beds and in close proximity to same, it would be very easy to run a hose-pipe from the drum down to our raised bed. Gravity would allow the water to be fed down to our garden and we could also set up a water soaking system that would drip feed into the plants or crops. All of this is easily achieved, if we put a little thought and planning into where we wish to locate our raised beds, providing our circumstances allow for this to happen. If its possible to install an integrated project like this, we will save on labour, time and energy and we will also feel pretty chuffed with ourselves after having come up with a ingenious solution to an ongoing problem.
Economics of rainwater harvesting;
Depending on what country we live in and also depending on what rules governments have in relation to water utility charges, it is just good house-keeping to make a habit of harvesting the rainwater. I know for instance in some countries, that during very dry spells and heatwaves, hosepipe watering of gardens and washing of cars is banned for the duration of these periods. If we are paying for water as a household utility, we would have a very large bill from the water companies at the end of the month if we had to water our gardens everyday, now that is something most people would love to avoid if they can. So the task of setting up a project of this importance should be prioritised as soon as possible for economic and general reasons.
As we go forward, we are constsntly being reminded of climate change and its consequences for our planet. The experts keep telling us that the seasons are changing, the earth is suffeing from global warming and that rainfall in some areas has all but dissappeared, so on foot of those alarming seniments, we all need to do our part. Preservation of our drinking water is now top of some governments agendas, so we can make a small contribution to help out where its possible. On a note of caution, it is advisable to ensure that these containers are standing secure, resting on a level surface and away from electrical fittings etc etc. Once again I trust you have found this article informational and if so, please leave any comments in the box below.
Happy gardening to all
“A visitor to a garden sees the successes, usually.
The gardener remembers mistakes and losses, some for a long time,
and imagines the garden in a year,
and in an unimaginable future.”
― W.S. Merwin.