New Project for the Garden
Greenhouse Water Collection
There are many things that make me look forward to the new gardening season every year and my new projects are always a huge part of that. I’m pretty sure, however, that it’s the opposite for my sweet husband. As soon as I say “Hey, I’ve got an idea…” he tends to deflate just a little. Luckily, he loves me, so he presses on! This past week one of the new projects was greenhouse water collection.
Steps Toward Self-Sufficiency
I wanted to do this project last year, but there were so many other projects going on that I just couldn’t fit it in. This year it is mandatory. Without gutters on the greenhouse, one of my herb beds just gets pounded during a good rain and I had to put a stop to that. But, more importantly, I want to capture that water for the gardens. Self-sufficiency is very important to our family and this project helps us to move more toward that goal.
There are a variety of great reasons to collect rain water, but I’ll give you my top three.
- Using rain water for watering the garden is a much better option for my plants. They thrive much better without all of the chemicals that water companies place into the water supply.
- Guiding the water through gutters keeps a heavy rain from eroding my beds and destroying my plants.
- The money savings in using rainwater for plants and animals is another great reason and it helps move us more toward self-sufficiency.
We already have a few of the water containers that we are planning to use in various places around the farm. Last year we built a Water Collection Tower for overflow water from our natural pool. That is working out great and now it’s time to begin adding them to our buildings – and the first up is the Greenhouse Water Collection project.
The only supplies that we had to purchase were the gutters and plumbing parts to connect everything. We always have lumber of some sort on hand for projects like these, so that really helps the pocketbook!
Putting it All Together
Gutter Installation First
We spent about an hour getting the gutters put together and attached to the greenhouse as well as getting the downspout ‘situation’ figured out. The reason I call it a situation is because we wanted the water from the front and back gutters to all flow to the back, but we had to work around a couple of obstacles. We decided to use downspout, sideways, from front to back, with enough fall to maintain flow. This way, we were able to handle the greenhouse water collection without it getting in the way of other items or becoming an eyesore.
Constructing and Setting up the Tower
The next step was digging the holes for the posts of the tower and filling the bottom with concrete to keep it from sinking under all of the weight. We have some very hard ground but in times of heavy rain, it gets pretty soft. Once the concrete had set up we were ready for the next step.
Last night, my husband got started back after work…trying to surprise me… but I like to be involved!! He set the posts, making sure that they were all plumb and the base was completely square and level. He used 2x6 lumber to create a band around the outside of the posts. He, then, placed cross bracing on all four sides to make it extremely sturdy.
The next step in the construction of the tower was to place boards across the top where the container would sit. He and I lifted the container into place and then he put another band around the frame to help hold the container in place…just in case!
Plumbing for Greenhouse Water Collection
The last step is adding all of the plumbing parts to connect the downspouts to the top of the tower as well as adding the spigot and an overflow. We had to work out what parts would be best to handle this because there is not just a ‘kit’ for it.
Kris plumbed in an overflow way up high on the side of the container for times of heavy rains. This way we can direct the flow of excess water where we need it. There is a valve on the container but we had to plumb it to be able to accept a water hose. The rest of the plumbing was just putting the pipes together for the water to travel from the gutters to the container.
Testing the Greenhouse Water Collection System
When the project was complete, we sprayed water onto the roof, allowing it to travel through the system to make sure that it was all working properly and to search for any leaks. (Sometimes the glue that comes with the gutter pieces isn’t exactly terrific.) We found a couple leaks and we were able to address that prior to the rain that is coming this week. I can’t wait to watch it in action and see how much we will be able to store up in a rain! …one more step down on the path to self-sufficiency.
This is a worthy project for so many reasons, which is why we will be adding more water collection towers to the other buildings on our farm. Having the ability to use what God gives us to take care of our crops as well as our animals is just another piece of the self-sufficiency puzzle that we are trying to put together.
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