Decado
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I'd get some barrels but I have hardly any gutters.

The Helpful Gardener
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Get gutters first... :wink:

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Scott Reil

Decado
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Another great benefit of lawns that I just thought of is that between my trees and the grass clippings it creates a pretty good ratio of carbon to nitrogen for compost.

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Unless you are growing native varieties (and NO, bluegrass is Eurasian, not native, and the worst offender) it is nitrogen hungry plants needing 3 to 8 lb.s of nitrogen to do well. So it is using more than it produces. NOT a good reason... (hard and fine fescues, my favorites, only need around two lb.s which we can do nicely just in the nitrogen from microbiology breaking down thatch, throw in a corn gluten feeding and you are golden)

Keep trying Dec :lol:
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I've heard that you don't want to use water that sheets of of your roof if you have conventional asphalt shingles. The water supposedly picks up toxins from them.
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gixxerific
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So you have 5 options as I see it than.

1 Use city water (is it chlorinated)
2 Use well water, if you don't have a well build a well
3 Use rain barrels catching rain water from your roof
4 If you go with 3 you can get a new non asphalt shingle roof
5 Put your rain barrels in the middle of the yard to collect natural rain.

Decado
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The Helpful Gardener wrote:Unless you are growing native varieties (and NO, bluegrass is Eurasian, not native, and the worst offender) it is nitrogen hungry plants needing 3 to 8 lb.s of nitrogen to do well. So it is using more than it produces. NOT a good reason... (hard and fine fescues, my favorites, only need around two lb.s which we can do nicely just in the nitrogen from microbiology breaking down thatch, throw in a corn gluten feeding and you are golden)

Keep trying Dec :lol:
Whatever grass it is I have in my yard I don't feed it anything but water when it needs it and it does great. It's been this way for as long as I've lived (my parents have never fertilized it either), so maybe it's a native grass?

Decado
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garden5 wrote:I've heard that you don't want to use water that sheets of of your roof if you have conventional asphalt shingles. The water supposedly picks up toxins from them.
Well that sucks, I guess I won't be going that route.

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I do, Dec. G5, please post pertinent data to back your claim; I am interested to see where that comes from...

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I went looking for anything I could find on-line re possible contaminants in roof collected rainwater. Here it is:

https://en.allexperts.com/q/Occupational-OSHA-Environmental-1417/rainwater-collection-asphalt-roof.htm

I checked with several plant scientists, and the answer was that there should not be any problems with vegetables watered with normal run off from a normal asphalt roof. The amounts of any petroleum contaminants would be small, and plant roots are not designed to take up petroleum products.


https://www.gdrc.org/uem/water/rainwater/introduction.html
Reasonably pure rainwater can be collected from roofs constructed with galvanized corrugated iron, aluminium or asbestos cement sheets, tiles and slates,

https://www.nsf.org/consumer/rainwater_collection/index.asp?program=GreenLiv
Some materials, such as the asbestos roof materials used in older homes, should not be part of any system used to provide drinking water. In addition, products such as asphalt shingles can contribute particulate matter into the water, requiring additional filtration before the water reaches the storage tank or cistern. In addition, lead materials in any form, such as lead flashing, should not be used in a rainwater collection system.

https://rainwater.sustainablesources.com/

The main function of the roof washer is to isolate and reject the first water that has fallen on the roof after rain has begun and then direct the rest of the water to the cistern. Ten gallons of rainfall per thousand square feet of roof area is considered an acceptable amount for washing. Roof washers are commercially available and afford reliability, durability, and minimal maintenance to this function.
Roof washing is not needed for water used for irrigation purposes.

https://www.physorg.com/news88268999.html This was under the heading of rainwater fails health test:
More than half of 560 samples from private dwellings in New Zealand exceeded the minimal standards for contamination and 30 percent showed evidence of heavy faecal contamination.

But they were talking about using the roof water collected for drinking and the only contamination they were talking about was fecal contamination from bird droppings, etc. I think for purposes of growing vegetables we would not worry about that.

https://www.mamashealth.com/eco/rainwater.asp
Some roofing materials are not suitable for a rainwater collection system. If there is lead, chromium or cadmium in the roofing materials, soldering, flashing's, or paint, you shouldn't collect rainwater on top of your roof.

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Now THAT'S pertinent data!

Thanks RBG! Nice job!

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Thanks for looking all these up! :D

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gixxerific
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How far do you take it is what I'm after. Even straight rainfall has contaminants in it. So you can't use rainwater you cant' use well water you can't use tap water so what can you use? :wink:

Good looking out RGB I did a search myself and believe I came across a few of those sites myself.

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rainbowgardener
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Well obviously, if you are going to be that purist about it you have to use distilled water all the time. Distilled water is H2O and nothing else (assuming of course that you clean and sterilize all the containers you put it in! :) ). But as I think maybe Applestar pointed out, that way you are not adding the trace minerals/nutrients that would be in natural water sources.

I am opposed to purism in most of it's forms. And at least for a city dweller like me living near the corner of two busy streets and not far from several interstates on property that has been used as a trash dump, it would certainly be silly to get too worried about possible micro-contamination of my rainwater! Given what's being deposited from the air and what's already in the soil, the rainwater is the VERY least of my worries!

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Thanks, RG, for backing up/debunking my claims. Sorry, al,l about posting unsubstantiated claims. I had heard the concept from a friend and, after hearing about the toxins rainwater picks up from asphalt roads and driveways, I just assumed it was true.

I guess the level of "contamination" is really nominal and the plants may not even absorb those contaminates, anyway.
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Good to be careful, G5. I am. BUt you should check stuff out for yourself; I've gotten burned on the hearsay a bunch of times myself...

With the garbage in our rainwater from the Midwest coal plants, we Eastern types get a buch of c**p already. West coasters get a slew of Chinese contaminates that blow across the Pacific. Midwest has about the cleanest air (thanks to Cali and those other cleaner states and the Rockies).

What you gonna do? Until we get some serious law in place (with teeth) that holds world wide, you will always get somebody's garbage...

It's a small world after all... :roll:

HG
Last edited by The Helpful Gardener on Fri Jul 23, 2010 2:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scott Reil

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garden5 wrote: I guess the level of "contamination" is really nominal and the plants may not even absorb those contaminates, anyway.
Hey, I know this is an older thread, but I have a question. Even if the plants do not absorb the contaminates, wouldn't the contaminates still be harmful to the soil? And then still run off into our drainage systems??

I love the idea of a rain barrel. I have a huge tier in my back yard so that rain just pours down. I'm trying to figure out a way to make a "gutter" for it to direct the water into a barrel and not into my neighbor's basement. I can't put in any true drainage systems because our neighborhood requires that you get a landscape architect to design it for you. I rent...I'm not paying to do that! :shock:

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Or you could do a rain garden and direct the water there. No real "drainage'' per se, just some interesting soil prep, but you could have a small swale and use the soil that comes out to make your "gutter".

Just a thought...

HG
Scott Reil

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I love the idea of a rain garden, but at the bottom of the tier is the lawn, which our lease says I can't tare up (for obvious reasons...) It's a good idea...wonder if you could do a rain garden in a raised bed??? But that would still mess up the grass (actually weeds, but hey, whatever)



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