Friday, August 1, 2014

Update On Water-efficient Food Growing

This summer has taken a lot of my time for food growing. I have spent most of it on a self watering system. This is because I hate wasting water even though I live in a place that has plenty of water and does not seem in danger of having water shortages soon.

It is distressing to see water problems getting worse in so much of the world. Places that already had difficulties with enough clean water to keep people healthy, are getting worse due to climate change. Places that never had water problems are now getting them due to climate change. It is obvious that these water problems will only worsen as climate change becomes worse.

My neighborhood is taking some steps to prevent future water problems. I am very proud that my neighborhood has people in it who are so aware and interested in taking care of our future and that of people who will live here after us.

One of these steps to prevent future water problems is the planning and installation of a system to melt snow and return it to our groundwater. 

The normal method of handling snow is to scoop it up with heavy machinery, load it into lots of big trucks and haul it outside the city and dump it there. 

A big advantage of the new snow melting in place system is that it will help to prevent saltwater intrusion into fresh water aquafers beneath us. We are very close to the ocean, so this could easily become a problem some day.

Not only does the snow melting system prevent saltwater intrusion into our fresh water, but it also saves a great deal on fuel for all of the snow hauling that now takes place.

They plan to dig a large hole under our recreation center parking lot and install a heater there. This system was planned by students at our local college. They did it free of charge. This is good for us because we get a system that we can more easily afford and it is good for the students, because they are gaining valuable experience that will give them jobs in the future. I expect they will get the first of those jobs designing more of these systems for the rest of the city. 

My small contribution to water efficiency with my self-watering garden is not nearly as impressive as the snow melting. I hope that more people will learn a little bit from mine and increase the good effect, however.

The self-watering system that I used outside uses rain gutters to hold water with a float valve to control the amount of water that goes to the plants.

A man from the eastern part of the USA, named Larry Hall is the one who invented this rain gutter watering system. Thousands of people are already using his system and they are very generous in sharing their experiences and the modifications and improvements they make as well. He is on facebook and on youtube as well. Here are links to get you started with his system:

The bottom one is for his channel on youtube. He has links to lots of videos about his system to show what he and others have done with it.

There is nothing like letting plants take whatever water they need, as they need it to make them healthy and beautiful. They make you the same when you eat them. YUM!

A local hydroponics store gave me a free system that I plan to keep inside. They told me that it is a $500.00 system. That is certainly a lot more than I planned to spend right off. I have not used it yet, but it is high on my list. I have to do a bit more with the Larry Hall rain gutter system first. It will be winter all too soon, so that will stop what I can do outside for a while, so I have to make use of outdoor growing while I still can for this year.

I also have plans to make several hydroponics tower systems. I have most of the supplies for some of those, but not the pumps. Those are the most expensive part of that system. Those have free plans and materials lists to make them. I already posted links for those, but will do it again, to make it easier for others to make those as well. Here is a link to that:

This last one is a link to the plans to make your own rain tower hydroponics system. He even includes templates for cutting out parts for it.

The original inventor of those used a 5 gallon bucket as the base for his towers. This means that it will not take much more room in your home than a potted plant. You can get as many as 28 plants in one tower. You replace the plants as you use them, so this will make a big dent in your food budget. You will be much healthier as well, when you eat the food that you grow in your Rain Tower hydroponics system.

The knowledge that you are making the world a better place in many ways, should make you feel even better than the personal benefits to you, when you use your Rain Tower hydroponics system.

I hope that you will go make a rain gutter self watering system or a Rain Tower hydroponics system and benefit yourself and the world by doing so.

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