.It was my husband’s idea to title this post ‘Water, water everywhere … but not a drop to spare’, as he said it rhymed. And then he said I would be known as the ‘Poetic Garden Blogger’! To which I replied that I was going to call it ‘Water, water everywhere but definitely not a drop to drink’
Sorry. I digress. The reason for this post is to tell you how we harvest rain water here at Dovewood, and use it.
Where’s the water when you need it?
As I have already revealed on LFMG, the water feature here has from time to time, sprung a leak, as you can read in this post. Which has meant the necessity of re-filling it, and that has proved costly for the household water bill. So I put my thinking cap on and looked at the garden, and the internet, for solutions.
We have the outbuilding roofs as well as the property roof, all with gutters and down-pipes, so plenty of access to rainwater. Obviously storing rain water (a free resource) makes sense. It is the where and how that has been interesting. Water butts are all well and good but capacity is limited, and they can be pricey. There are links on Pinterest to some fantabulous ideas of multiple blue barrels all linked together. We don’t have the space for that. However, I did a search on eBay for a cost effective alternative to purpose made barrels and tanks and found the answer.
IBCs or Industrial Bulk Containers!
These containers are used for storing and transporting liquids to various industries but they are non-returnable and non-recyclable. Basically they are huge white ‘plastic’ sealed cubes within a metal framework, with a filler cap on top, and an outlet tap to one side. (As long as they haven’t been used for any petrochemical storage they should be fine. Ours had been used for a water based medium). Brilliant! Added to which a container with a foot print of 1.2m x 1m holds 1000litres. The downside? They are not the most elegant of garden features.
Our next problem was where to site the IBC without it looking ugly. Thankfully there was a gap at the end of the green shed by our boundary fence which was just big enough. As ‘Old Tim’ is a Plumber and therefore knows about these things, he suggested building a platform for it for two reasons
- to be able to get a watering can under the spout
- to get a head of pressure to run a hose, albeit slowly, to the pond
So from the back of the Shed we ran a length of hose pipe along the fence to the point nearest to the pond. It is buried in the soil within another piece of tubing to prevent me putting a fork through it! Tim then attached a stop-end to the hose to prevent nesting creatures entering it. I simply remove that and attach a normal Hoselock fitting to connect a hose to top-up the pond.
Please Sir, can I have some…more?
But what about a water supply on the north side of Dovewood? And again with an assessment of possible locations I found the answer, beside MY Tool Shed (NB the ‘MY’ there – I really will explain this soon!) The only drawback was the footprint needed to be a bit smaller. However that would mean less storage for a bigger area of demand, the Fruit and Veg gardens are on the north side. The answer? To stack two smaller IBC’s (1.2m x 0.8m), each holding 600 litres =1200 litres. And as these are fed by the main roof – easily filled. These are screened from the garden side by a trellis (Which I have yet to paint… another job for the Summer, sigh)
However the piece de résistance of this set up is what my dear husband built next……
Tim made a triangular shaped table, and then set an unwanted but useful-sized, frost resistant, pot into it to make a garden sink! Also brilliant! He enlarged the drainage hole enough to set a standard Basin plug into it. Then cemented the inside of the base of the pot to make sure the water did drain out of the ‘plug-hole. Water sitting in a ceramic pot is a sure way to crack it when it freezes.
We ‘painted’ the table and the interior of the pot with a water-proofer to help maintain them. The sink can be filled via a short length of hose attached to the tap on the upper IBC. I can also attach a longer length of hose to ‘feed’ the pond if necessary. The lower IBC is connected to an ordinary Garden tap mounted to the side of the Table, where I can also attach a hose if necessary.
The third Rain water harvest system is just an ordinary Water butt but a big one! It is discreetly positioned behind the Mangle and somewhat hidden by a large Skimmia. I have some Hedera planted at the foot of it which will eventually cover the base. I have also planted a Kerria which will help to screen the Butt from view too. However placing a Water butt there means access to the water is a tad difficult! The solution? Again ‘Old Tim’ applied his plumbing skills, and attached a permanent length of hose to a strategically placed tap, at the end of the bed by the path to the Parlour and the Greenhouse. Did I mention he’s a Plumber?! Or how brilliant all my ideas are?!
……Now if I could just workout how to fit a decent guttering system to our second-hand greenhouse. I am sure we could get another water butt in there too!