Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tips for Snagging Grey Water

Last year about half of my deck containers were watered with grey water (mostly re-used kitchen rinsing water that I gathered and siphoned into watering cans.) This year I’d like to increase that percentage. It’s such a pain to drag the hose up there anyway.

I have a couple of different methods. Only one of my watering cans fits in the sink. I sometimes put the watering can directly under the faucet and try to rinse stuff over the top of it.
Once it starts to get full, though, it’s a pain to move. It takes up half the sink and some of my dirty dishes end up on the counter.

Another thing I’ve done is put a vinyl dishpan in the sink and rinse over that. I just have to move it when I really do want something to go down the drain.

The tub also comes in handy for catching shower water – when I remember to take it in there.

I also have a couple of reservoirs (coolers) on the deck. (This is a great way to recycle a lightweight Styrofoam cooler that you don’t want to put in the landfill -- this one held the S. man’s birthday gift – some Omaha steaks! I don’t use the Styrofoam water on the veggies though in case the styrofoam chemicals leach in.)

The cooler can catch rainwater and also hold any overflow from the sink. So far I haven’t had any problems with mosquitos here because the water typically only sits a couple of days before being used. They're not the most attractive feature of the deck, but I can shove them under the table.

Of course, if you’re “lucky” enough to get a snowstorm in March, you can melt snow in it too!

I'd love to hear your creative ways of re-using old water for the garden!


Lorilee said...

I would love to have a rainwater barrel under my gutter downspouts. I just haven't gotten it worked out yet. Of course, I need to find FREE barrels first! Also, we haven't had measurable precipitation in months!

tut-tut said...

JGH, you rock; you've given me some things to think about. I was just discussing the amount of $$ it would take to buy a rain barrel and would the savings offset the expense.

I haven't been around the blog world; working too hard on the computer.

Joanne said...

Now I feel guilty for not being so green! I never even thought of using recycled water in my garden and deck pots. Is this soapy water you use, like from after washing the dishes? It won't hurt the plants at all? Will definitely give it a try.

tina said...

Nothing so creative and thrifty as you. It is so great you do all this! The only gray water I use (not sure if that is what it is) is the water I boil eggs in. I heard it has some good micronutrients so I always put it on houseplants or whatever.

edward said...

excellent ideas all! bravo.

JGH said...

For awhile the County was giving away free compost bins. We should ask them to do the same with rain barrels!

Joanne, I don't think I'd put real soapy water on my plants, but a few drops shouldn't hurt - some people spray a low concentration of soapy water on their plants to prevent insect infestation. But make sure not to use anything with Borax or bleach.

Avid Reader said...

rainbarrels --let's start asking for them.

Avid Reader said...

I read about a system that pumps the grey water from your washing machine outside (to a barrel or a pipe leading to your garden area or wherever) instead of down the drain. I have to admit I only save my bath water/dish water and take it to my roses when there's a watering ban--I have to step up and just do it normally.

I want to stop using chlorine bleach altogether, and I have cut was back on soap amounts.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

i definitely need to improve my gray water collection practices....thanks for the tips!

Frances said...

Hi Jen, great ideas here. My husband got me a rain barrel for Christmas this year so that is one way. I keep a plastic pitcher by the sink to catch extra water but it fills up really fast. Your tub looks like a great idea. I had to laugh at it in the bathtub with curious eyes looking at it! HA

gogreen said...

are you using any type of water filtration prior to your irrigation?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful ideas. So proud of you for doing it.

new york city garden said...

I've often fantasized about installing an enormous stainless gray water catcher under the garage floor at my father in law's place. Gravity would take care of everything else. Hoses run underground to various spigots. Gray watering the deep yard. Strange fantasy, yes?

Ginger said...

Great tips! People are so much more likely to be green when it's (virtually) effortless, and there's nothing wrong with that! I could definitely make these things habits.

Thank you for visiting my blog. It's crazy that we suffer with our clay soil even when gardening above ground!

I enjoyed your Bloom Day creature flowers! I'll be posting my bloom day pictures tonight, hope you can stop by!