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 Post subject: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:03 pm 
Not a creepy cheese pocket person
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Our drought doesn't have an end in sight. We're already reusing vegetable rinse water for plants. If stage 3 restrictions start, we'll probably be taking a bucket into the shower with us to catch gray water (for trees and other nonedible plants). I'm going to be really really sad if this drought takes the citrus and berry plants we just got this year.

So how do you conserve and reuse water in your garden?


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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:03 am 
Baking In The Flavor
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the gray water from your shower should be fine for veggies too. just be sure to use biodegradable soap/shampoo.

rainwater collection! if it ever rains, that is...

wash harvested plants in the garden with the hose. i.e. when you pull carrots up, rinse them off with the hose outside on top of other plants, rather than washing them in the house and letting it run down the drain. (or do like molly and catch the rinse water in pots and take it outside). or is that what you were saying, molly?

thick compost and thicker mulch on top.

installing a greywater system in your house... that'd be my next step if it's like this next summer...

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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:16 am 
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It's not difficult to reroute your washing machine's waste water. Often it's as easy as disconnecting the drain hose from the wall or floor and pointing it into a slop sink or a plastic barrel. You'd obviously need to ditch the detergents and bleach in favour of something greywater friendly.

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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:55 am 
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we shower with a bucket, rinse veggies over a pan, and use the dog's old water for our grey water.


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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:11 am 
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Aside from grey water, you can amend your soil with Soil Moist or Soil Moist Natural, which holds extra water so you can go longer between waterings. You can also heavily mulch around the base of your plants and add wet newspaper under the mulch to provide some extra moisture.

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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:20 am 
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we also reroute our washing machine water for various uses depending on the cycle (wash water is used for cleaning the patio, for example, while rinse water is saved for the next cycle or used for watering plants); i put the hose into a trash barrel, where i can scoop it out into watering cans or whatever.
dishwashing is all done with a basin or pot to hold water, we soap up the dishes and then dip instead of letting the water run. That rinse water then can be used in the garden. i would definitely not hesitate to put a bucket or three in the shower. I have memories of my mother reusing my bath water for her garden when i was maybe 3 or 4 (and the northeast had bad drought for a few years in a row).
we do heavily mulch our garden in the hot season.

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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:30 pm 
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Stupid question. What makes soap biodegradable?


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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:20 pm 
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mollyjade wrote:
Stupid question. What makes soap biodegradable?

All soap is effectively biodegradable. It's the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sodium present in soaps and shampoos that can make them hazardous to your garden.

(There's also the difference between a soap and a detergent, but I'll leave that one to the Bronners of the world.)

It's not as big an issue with shower water since your bath products are liquid and so highly diluted by the time they hit the bucket, but powdered washing machine detergent can be comprised of more than 3/4 of a filler which is often really high in phosphorus and sodium.

Avoid collecting water when and if you use dandruff shampoo. Also avoid laundry products like Borax which contain boron, as it kills plants in high concentrations.

There are a ton of sites out there which tell you whether or not a particular product is greywater safe, but you can always check the manufacturer's site or email them if in doubt.

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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:37 pm 
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Thank you! That's really helpful. We do buy phosphorus-free detergents.


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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:29 am 
Baking In The Flavor
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Dr. Bronner wrote:
All One! All One! All One!


This just reminded me to check to see if Dr. Bronner's Magic Soapbox documentary is on Netflix streaming... it is!

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 Post subject: Re: Water Conservation and Reuse
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:11 pm 
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this thread makes me realize how wasteful we are with water here. I thought we were doing pretty good.
I've seen my neighbours run the sprinklers outside to melt snow in the spring.


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