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Hillbilly Homer
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Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:04 pm
Location: USA MO Hardiness zone 5b

Gray water

i am thinking about using gray water for my garden. i have seen warnings about using it on veg gardens.
Was wondering if anyone has had any first hand experience of negative effects in their garden?

:) ...My apology if this has been covered and i missed it on my search... :)

My house it would be vary simple to run the gray water. "live in the middle of nowhere and don't have building codes"..:)

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MoonShadows
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Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:50 am
Location: Stroudsburg, PA - Zone 6a

Re: Gray water

It all depends on what you hook up to your gray water system and what you let go down the drain. What do you use to wash dishes, wash clothes, etc? Do you pour grease down the kitchen sink? Do you use ammonia, bleach and other chemicals? We have our kitchen sink and washing machine emptying down on the side of a field. Sometimes I use it for the garden, but we mainly did it as to not tax the old cess pool that was grandfathered into the property. It's over 100 years old, serves us well, and would cause a tremendous cost if I ever had to replace it.
https://MoonShadowsFarm.com Good Eats & Treats from the Pocono Mountains
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ACW
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:20 am
Location: London

Re: Gray water

I use my bath water to water my patch ,normally just a small amount of shampoo in that .
does my veg and lawn fine!
Sadly the builders who reinstated my garden wall have trashed all but one of my beds and buried the lawn under a layer of sub soil and I have many days of labour to get it back into action .
Composting like crazy!
A gardener with a small shady back garden and a balcony with containers ,
biggest problem not enough sunshine !

thanrose
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:01 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FLZone 9A

Re: Gray water

I've had a kitchen and laundry gray water leach bed, but the soil was so sandy that it really didn't seem to affect anything growing around it or over it. Some was fairly ornamental, sometimes some grass, and for a few years I had sugar cane there. No ill effects noted. My family always used to dump buckets of floor washing water across the lawn. If we thought it was a bit soapy or chemically, we would just dilute with the garden hose after dumping. As I recall, my mother preferred us to use ammonia in the water only. I've always dumped out unwanted brewed coffee and tea. I was shocked when went to uni and learned everyone else dumped the dirty floor water down the sink drains.

I think I'd like to have a chute from the kitchen to dump wash water outside. Don't want it right against the foundation, and don't want a device that is problematic with mold and debris. I'm thinking maybe a plastic gutter?

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Hillbilly Homer
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Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:04 pm
Location: USA MO Hardiness zone 5b

Re: Gray water

Thank you all for your feedback.
About the harshest thing that goes down that drain is tide laundry soap and dawn dish soap.
thanrose wrote:unwanted brewed coffee
:eek: ...That has never happened at my house... :eek:
thanrose wrote: I think I'd like to have a chute from the kitchen to dump wash water outside. Don't want it right against the foundation, and don't want a device that is problematic with mold and debris. I'm thinking maybe a plastic gutter?
Make sure that you don't leave a hole for vermin to get in your house... :()

thanrose
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Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:01 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FLZone 9A

Re: Gray water

Haha, yeah, no way. Our vermin don't take vacations down here. You might not see the gators or snakes, but they are out there and not so sleepy on our warmer days. I'm thinking the wash water thing could be accessed by tossing through an open kitchen window when you felt like it. Like washing a five pound bag of potatoes once in a while? Probably not that practical, and that's why I have an outside sink that drains out a hose I reposition as desired. Or I had that at my old house.

When my mother made us dump floor washing water outside, we had to lug it through the house and out the back door, over the patio to the lawn, any season in zone 6 NJ. That's not practical either. When I kept fish with a large volume of water that had to be changed each week, I had a plastic hose that I'd take out through the nearest door.

If you are seeing damage to lawn or buildup of soapy scum or solids, you'll know it's too much. It seems like what you want to do is okay. I'd avoid using it on root crops, but don't have a strong reason to do so. I know that roots in general are beneficial in cleaning soil, so I'd expect radishes might taste Downy fresh or something.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Gray water

I would feel better using more natural laundry and dish soaps. Some harsh and plant-and-environment toxic stuff in those popular brands since they are detergent based with additive chemicals. I would look up human toxicity data for them if planning on using the greywater for edibles.

Personally, with my chemical sensitivity, I can’t use either of those products since they cause near instantaneous reaction. Call me a canary.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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Gary350
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Re: Gray water

1977 I bought my first house, I unhooked, kitchen sink, bathroom sink, shower, laundry from the main sewer line and ran them to 1 common pipe to the garden. I hooked up a plastic PVC valve so drain water could be switched to the garden when needed or to the sewer when not needed. Kitchen garbage disposal was excellent for making compose it would grind up all the kitchen organic scraps, eggs shells, coffee grounds, potato peals, apple peals, carrots pieces, anything organic went down the drain.

NO grease down the drain, that all goes to the dog or in the trash. When my kitchen scraps were not going down the garbage disposal they were going out the back door into a small garden spot near the back door.

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Hillbilly Homer
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Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2017 8:04 pm
Location: USA MO Hardiness zone 5b

Re: Gray water

:D...in winter we mix grease/oil/fat with cooked cracked corn and feed it to the chickens... :D
Never ever do we put grease down the drain!!

Don't think we have anything that is really bad goin down the drain...
:D...The grass is greener over the septic tank... :D

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