June 10, 2013

Rainwater Irrigation? Drumroll, Please!

The other day I transplanted some sweet basil and parsley seedlings I'd started indoors. They needed watering in, so I figured, why not use rainwater. It was the first time we've used our rainwater for anything.

Not that I had any doubts, but I was really curious as to water pressure and how well the water would flow, or drip, as the case may be. The only problems I had were with the soaker hose itself, in places it wanted to kink. The pressure was fantastic and I was well pleased to not pay the county for the water  for my new transplants!

In some ways, it seems ironic that I should be posting about irrigating. I planted those little guys on May 30, and since then we've had over 5 inches of rain. I'll be surprised if they don't end up floating away.

For a complete look at our rainwater collection system, click here.


  1. Leigh,

    I'm so happy for you, it's great to have another ability to water the garden and not have to pay the county.

    Will you continue to use the soaker hose if it kinks up? Or will you bypass it?

  2. LOL - I know all about l-o-n-g hosepipes from rain water tanks. So glad your pressure is good enough for your soaker hose, ours isn't :( Is your tank much higher than you veggie bed?

  3. Well a hearty congratulations. Eureka, it works!!!! :-)

  4. When you get further down the Pike, trenching and burying some schedule 40 so you don't have to use up your garden hoses. In CA, we had a valve that let us sue either rain water or city when we had run out. It was a bear to turn so we had to MEAN to switch over. Keep an eye on Craigslist for cisterns. Every so often they show up. The light colored tanks grew a lot of algae. Black cisterns grow less. I painted my plastic tanks with white house paint to block the sun. Water On, my friend!

  5. Sandy, we're very happy it works. For now I'll continue with the soaker hose. I just have to fiddle with it. Eventually we'll put irrigation plumbing in. If we ever find the time that is. :)

    Dani, yes, the rain tanks at the house are the highest point on the property. It's a gentle downhill slope, to the bottom of the garden. Since we have the two tanks stacked, I also tried to use rainwater to water down my compost pile; a gentle uphill slope. I got a trickle out of the hose. Eventually we'll put rain collection at the barn for that, whenever we build the barn that is. :)

    Theresa, good to hear from you! Thanks!

    Barb, yes, irritation plumbing is on the list. So is painting the tanks! Not only algae, but the sunlight breaks down the PVC in bad ways. I prefer white too, because black around here would heat the water up too much for my plants. I've been looking at for-plastic paints though, rather than house paint. Those paints for plastic, however, only come in dinky, expensive spray cans! Have you had much peeling with the plain house paint?

  6. My first thought was "She's posting about irrigation?" LOL

    We've had 6 inches this week alone and it's raining (again) while I type this. Glad you've got your systems in place. Nice to NOT need it isn't it!

  7. Well done! So glad to see what you set up is meeting the need. I hear ya on the rain, we got about 4 inches, and we could see another 2 today.

  8. Leigh, that's great! We have been talking about doing something similar, even though we have our own well, but mother nature is best! ;)

  9. We were just discussing illegal rain water harvesting on my homeschooling board. They sell rain collection barrels in the stores here, so apparently folks are doing it.

    Glad your system is working out for you.

  10. How exciting! I guess you really wouldn't need a lot of water pressure for the drip system, not like a sprinkler.
    Free in a very good price! xo

  11. We've been soaked with rain lately too. After enduring a drought last year, this spring it seems it hasn't stopped raining since March!

  12. Glad to hear yours works as well! We have enough pressure from our stacked tote to water the entire garden (that's 20 4x8 beds! Now I realized I've not blogged about it yet! This calls for a video.... once it stops raining!

  13. Tami, I confess, it would have been easier to water them in with a pitcher of water, But I had to try the rainwater! I hear you about the rain. We're almost flooded out it seems.

    Stephanie, it's crazy, isn't it? I can't even get into the garden!

    Pam, we'd love to have a well too! Both would be best.

    Renee, you may want to check into that. Cloud, from The Stay At Home Gardener, recently bought land in Colorado and researched rain catchment for the state. Apparently the laws were changed in 2010. The link he gave is here.

    Sherri, I should try a sprinkler. I think I'd have enough pressure for my small stationary one. I admit I rather use a soaker hose though; less evaporation.

    Bill, it's amazing how it can change like that, isn't it? We had years of drought here too, but now it won't stop raining. Go figure.

    Kaat, that's good news! Congratulations. Yes, you do need to blog about it. :)

  14. I would like to say that I didn't, but I didn't live there long enough to give a real report. My husband was more keen on boxing them in with wood for looks. I just felt it gave the rats another place to hide. California has a LOT of rats. The weather is nice!

  15. Isn't it geeky fun to use it for the first time? (And frankly every time...) I remember using mine for the first time, and how PROUD of I was of myself! Ohhh dork.

    Nicely done. I loved the photos of all the lengths of hose! LOL

  16. Cute posting with the artsy photographs trailing along to the end. :)

  17. PS. Couldn't you just have him build a nice wooden silo to clad those cisterns in so you would not need to paint them. ;)

  18. Oh, Leigh and Renee, I believe that rain collection is legal, however, it may fall under use with a 'well permit'. Whether your home is allowed to have a well permit is... hmm. I learned that my 3 acre plot is in a 'subdivision' created prior to 1972 so is grandfathered into being allowed to apply for one.

    Now they are only supposed to be used for house-hold usage. Not irrigation.

    Legal schmegal.... :)

  19. Barb, maybe something is better than nothing. :) Dan talked about boxing ours in, I talk about using them as trellises for something like hops or grapes!

    BA Norrgard, it was great fun. It's great fun just getting them put in. :)

    Cloud, a silo is Dan's dream structure. :) Eventually he'd like to possibly make a bigger tank with ferrocement. Art Ludwig gives details in his water storage book. We talked about housing that in the bottom of a silo!

    That probably explains why Renee mentions the rain collection as not permitted. I believe they are in a suburb. Hopefully she's following the comments and can clarify.

  20. Congrats! I would feel so environmentally unresponsible if I had a garden and was using tap water. Fortunately I haven't yet got the garden built at the new place. Perhaps by the time I get it built, I can have a system similar to yours so that I can have some good environmental feelings to go with the fresh veggies!


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