Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mountain Living: water

Starting tomorrow I'm taking a week off.  Until recently (with the end of the school year) I've been working six day weeks.  That limits time for projects and gardening, and I really like to stay busy with projects and gardning.  

Lately I've been getting up at six a.m. and spending two hours out in the garden before having to get ready to go into the park.  These long days of extra daylight have seen a lot of fun things get accomplished around the house.  I've now gotten six rain barrels installed.  That's a lot of free water.

Up here on the mountain, about half of the houses, including mine, have cisterns (big built-in water tanks) rather than wells.  Every month and a half we have to get 2,000 gallons of drinking water trucked in to fill up the cistern in the basement.  I've only ever experienced wells or city water before moving up here, and this arrangement makes one very water conservation conscious.

I happened to notice one day while looking up at the sky that water was falling out of it.  It occurred to me that if I want to have a garden I'd better find a way to harness all of this free water.  My gutters and downspouts had been simply directing rainwater away from the house and down the mountain.  Not any more.

I started making rain barrels.

My goal is to be able to have 300 - 600 gallons on hand at any given time for gardening.  This amount will see me through the sort of dry spell that we had last year.   Right now I have the capacity to store 267 gallons.  

The tomatoes, peppers, and watermelons will all thank me for it.

 The raised bed I made last year from scrap lumber left behind by the previous homeowner

                                                     Our herb garden

                                                    The watermelon patch

As a kid I used to dread the hours I spent with a hoe in my hand out in the folks pickle patch, or the endless weeding of tomatoes when my plastic army guys were calling to me. Somewhere along the line the tranquility of tending a garden became even more of a pleasant diversion than toy soldiers. Though, the truth is, both will still find me playing in the dirt...until it rains.

Watching the sky on South Mountain,


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You might want to take a look at the rain barrel kits, downspout filters, downspout diverters and first flush diverters at