dhutch337
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rain water harvesting

I am new on the forum...and new to vegetable gardening. I am curious to know if any of you use harvested rain water to water your vegetable garden. It seems like a good idea...but, like I said, I am new.

:?

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Location: Amherst, MA USDA Zone 5a

This is a good idea in terms of saving money and conservation. Not sure if you'd want to pour acid rain on your plants, though. How would you keep it over the long term?

opabinia51
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A lot of people in permaculture circles use old Oil Drums to catch rain water and use that to water their plants. It can serve a dual purpose because if you place the oil drum (and catchment device (usually a funnel with a hose attached to it) in your greenhouse, the high specific heat of water (4.186 Joules per gram degree celsius) will hold in captured thermal energy from the sun and keep the ambient temperature of the greenhouse warmer during fall and winter (and at night).

Roger is correct about Acid rain. Hydrogen sulphides from industrial applications in urban areas can wreak havoc on plant structures and soil biota. So, it would be best to think about where you are if you are going to use water catchment as an option.

slakker
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If the rain water in your area is good, I think this is a very "green" way to go. City production of water is costly and in some locations, full of chlorine, floride, etc. as well.

I know where we live, all the municipalities provide subsidized rain barrels to collect rain water. They are very high quality with spigots, spouts and insects screens, etc.. Maybe your city provides them as well? It's worth a call or check on their website.

opabinia51
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Thanks Slakker! I had no idea that local municipalities did that in BC. That's great!

I guess I would add that Grey water systems are another great way to conserve water and to water your plant. Of course, you have to be careful about what you use for detergents and what not.

This is definately a good thing because it brings home the fact that people have to be careful what they put down the drain. Out of site is not out of mind. And if you use greywater, things will not be out of site.

And while I'm on this tangent....

Your leftover potatoe water, carrot water and the like is great for making soups, bread and the rest of it. All those lost nutrients from boiling vegetables are not lost! And you can also use them to water you plants with nutrient infused water.

peachguy
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I say give it a try, if your plants haven't die from when it rain then i would say it is safe to use even if you live in a city because naturally they are not protected from acid rain when it rains.

slakker
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opabinia51 wrote:Thanks Slakker! I had no idea that local municipalities did that in BC. That's great!
If you can get your hands on the ones supplied by the City of Vancouver, they are great. Coquitlam uses the one's from Lee Valley which is pretty good too. All you need to do is know someone and they can get it for you, but each home is rationed 2 (or something like that) so if you any one living in a condo who'll never need one... :wink:

opabinia51
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I'm going to see if the CRD (Capital Regional District) offers them. However, my father lives in Abbotsford; I'll see if they offer them as well.

Thanks for the information.


By the way, Welcome to the site!

dhutch337
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Thanks for all the replies. All of my plants are all still alive after watering with rain harvested water. I am in Austin, TX and the city offers a rebate program for up to four rain barrels. My only real concern with the water is the fact that the water starts to smell funny after about five days or so of being in the rain barrel. Probably just some matter decomposing, but I just wanted to see if others experienced similar experiences with rain water.

opabinia51
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To stop the putrid smell,

add an aquarium aerator to add oxygen to the mix. I suspect that the barrels had some organic matter that has allowed bacteria to reproduce anaerobically.

Anyway, the aerator will ensure that only aerobic bacteria are reproducing in your rain water.

spuriuslartius
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Location: Eastbourne

Yes, we use rainwater for our veg. in southern England. All rain tends to be slightly acid which is not normally a problem. if you are growing brassicas (Cauliflowers etc) you should check the pH (acid/alkaline measurement) and add lime if the soil is too acid anyway. Storage is crucial - use containers with lids to prevent waterborne insect larvae and minimise algal growth. this summer we managed to use only stored rain water for over 3 months.

Hope this helps, Chris Snook

garden_mom
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There is a rainwater diverter that captures the first few gallons of rainwater, which is very dirty, and then lets the cleaner water through to the rainwater barrrel. Here is a webpage.
[url]https://www.rainharvesting.com.au/first_flush_water_diverters.asp[/url]

I don't know if that's the only brand, it's just one I had heard about that does this.

opabinia51
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Thanks Garden Mom! What a good idea.

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