Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rain Barrels

I have seen on different DIY sites these rain barrels and I have to admit I was quite intrigued by them. While this might be slightly over kill for a small townhouse, I wanted to be able to water my gardens without using public water.

Below I will take you through what I did to make my rain barrels.

I found my barrels on Craigslist. Two 55 gallon barrels at $25 a piece. These are just plastic barrels with lids. Then I went to Home Depot and spent about $40 on plumbing supplies. So all total my 110 gallon rain barrel system cost me about $95 and while I was in Home Depot I saw their version of a 40 gallon system for $99. You can do the math on that one.

Mine might be different than most multi rain barrels systems. I am using a manifold system. I connected the 2 barrels from the bottom with only one pipe. The water in the two barrels flow down through the pipe and equalize with the other barrel. Enjoy. Let me know what you think.

These are the barrels. I gave them a washing before I started cutting on them.

I leveled the ground a bit to place the barrels up on the cinder blocks. The barrels will need to be elevated because the plumbing is coming from the bottom.

This is where my one down spout was in the back yard. I disconnected it from the piece that was going to the ground. I bought a piece of flexi pipe to use.

This is the threaded cap that my barrel came with. It is nice because this gave me something to tap directly into.

Example of some of the PVC stuff I had already glued together. 3/4 inch pvc pipe and all connectors were 1 inch. This is the down spot that will take the pvc to the front of the barrels.

Connector pieces I haven’t glued in yet. I don’t know the technical terms for these pieces. So here's what I call them. I have 2 valves that I used as isolators. A spigot in a T connector, 2 more elbows, and extra pvc cut to desired lengths. Oh and a cap for my overflow valve.

Spigot that is screwed into a T connector.

My overflow valve is drilled into the top of the second barrel. I used a threaded valve so I could connect a hose to it and direct the overflow to a desired area.

I don’t know what this is called. It's a 4 inch pipe piece I found in the gutter drainage section of Home Depot. It served my purpose of being slightly bigger on one side so it would sit in the barrel better.

This piece fit perfectly in the above piece and I added some type of a filter for the incoming water. This is to help minimize the mosquito’s from breeding inside my barrels. I used panty hose.

Fits right in. I cut a 4 inch hole in the top of the barrel and this goes there.

A view of where the water will enter.

I cut a 4 inch hole in the top of the barrel and placed the 4 inch pipe in. I also applied silicone around it for a better seal.

The filter is in place and fits perfectly. That square head piece was found in the gutter section also.

I placed the barrel in place to see if the flexi pipe would fit and reach. It worked just like I had hoped it would.

Connecting pvc into the T connector. This now connects into my isolator valves.

While I was letting the above step dry, I drilled out my overflow valve.

Adding on my isolator valves. This way I can drain one tank if I needed to. Just remember that they both must remain open in order for the water to equalize with the other tank.

I cut 2 longer pieces of pvc piping and I am now connecting the 2 barrels together.

All done. I put my hose in the top and added water just to check out my seals and to make sure that the water was equalizing from tank to tank.

That night we had a rain storm that lasted most of the night. The next morning I went out to check on them. I was surprised to find both tanks 75% full. That’s roughly 82.5 gallons of water in one rain storm. That is 82 of my 110 gallon capacity. I don’t know about you but I was amazed at the amount from one rain storm.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Seeding Process

This is how were are doing our seeds this year. Its a 3 step process. The main reason for doing things this way is due to our house is still on the market. This way the seed are done in smaller batches.

First Step.
Jiffy mini seed starters in a window seal

The picture is showing 3 of our 5 small Jiffy seed starters. We chose these due to there size and ability to sit in a window seal. Each one can hold 10 seed starter peat pot pellets. Once the germinate and can reach the top of the container, they are then transferred to step 2.

Second Step
The seedlings get put into a peat pot cup and placed into this container where they will continue grow. The reason for these containers is that when we want to put the lid on it we can and it will recycles the water inside. The same effect as when they where in the jiffy mini greenhouses. This helps in preventing them from drying out if we forget to check up on them. This does create a LOT of humidity inside. We have found by trial and error that continuous use of the lid is to humid for the new plants inside. Once the next group of "Step One" is done, this group of step two now move on to step three.

The Third

Waiting..... Waiting.... That's all this step is. They are actually in cookie sheets waiting for their time to be planted. The cookie sheets work nicely for use because we can just put water in the bottom of the sheet and the peat pot absorbs the water. This prevents me from have to water each individual plant.

I will be able to post up what all we have planted later, once i have check in with my planting coordinator. (aka my wife) :)

No post

Long story short.

We have been trying to sell our house so that we could move somewhere with more land. Its looking like this isnt going to happen. I havent been posting because there wasnt much to post about. The winter was harder than normal here and we didnt start our seed early this year with the hope of moving. I also had to take down our make shift green house that was in the kitchen because it wasnt what you wanted your potential buyers to see.

Eventually we finally thought to ourselves, "we should garden as if we werent thinking we are going to more." So i went and bought some little seed starters that we could put in our window seal and thats how we started this years crop.

Next we decided that in the coming days we should install 2 new raised bed gardens. 3 foot by 12 foot and 12 inches tall. Lets not forget that we live in a townhouse with around .018 of an acre. (it my actually be less than that.) We also decided to install a rain barrel system. The thought is that if we sell our house that the new buyers will get our gardens and if we dont sell our house will have been gardening as normal.