tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

Rock bed garden!

We are doing some remodeling and had some plumbers working last week. We live out in the country where people have water wells and septic systems. It is common for people to run their drains from the laundry outside and simply run it on the ground. We call it gray water.

I had the plumbers dig me a large hole with their backhoe. I ran the laundry drain underground to the hole and placed a large plastic tub in the hole with a number of holes drilled in the sides of the tub. I filled the tub with large rocks and then ran the drain line into the tub. I filled the enitire hole with smaller rock covering the tub and large rock. I now have a rock bed that looks like a mountain spring when the wife is washing clothes. I plan to build some small terraces downhill from the rock bed and planting some native plants like ground cherries in the terraces. I know the laundry water grows plants well because the old drain area is the most fertile on our property. If anyone has ideas on other plants I can grow on the terraces, let me know. I would like for them to be plants that can be found in the wild, but produces edible food.

I am in zone 7 in north Texas.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

bullthistle
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1152
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2008 3:26 pm
Location: North Carolina

After the first rinse load discharges you might see bubbles but I would check with the county ordinances. I know in CO everything must be sight unseen.

tedln
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2178
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 10:06 pm
Location: North Texas

Don't need to check with anyone. It's all up to code. Everything but the rock bed is "sight unseen". We RV'd for a lot of years and many places encouraged the discharge of gray water. It helps minimize the need for watering in some areas and poses no health danger. Black water (toilet) is another story and almost all codes require it's containment and proper treatment.

Since the rock bed is probably four or five hundred gallon capacity, plus the fresh laundry water enters at the bottom and percolates upward; it allows for dilution of the wash cycle which is then followed by two rinse cycles. No foam or bubbles are ever seen. Most laundry soaps used to contain high nitrogen contents. I don't believe they still do by government decree, but it still seems to have some nutrient value.

Since the top of the rock bed is open, I'm sure a colony of aerobic bacteria as well as some forms of algae will bloom. This natural activity will also help purify the water.

The system seems to provide a safe way to utilize scarce water for a beneficial purpose. When I get some plants planted on the terraces, it will also be productive.

Ted
I simply enjoy gardening!

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