I am always looking for creative ways to water my garden with out wasting valuable drinking water, this article has some great tips!
fireballsedai/Flickr Creative Commons
Conserving water is an important aspect of growing a "green" garden. The fewer resources we have to use, the better. And since water is an important part of most gardens (and also the most egregiously wasted — it drives me crazy to watch people put their sprinklers on and let the water all run down their driveway!) it’s a good idea to try to find alternative ways of watering than solely depending on tap water. Here are five that I’ve used for my own garden.
1. Rain Barrel
This is kind of a no-brainer, but I know that many people don’t have them because ready-made rain barrels can be pretty pricey. Luckily, there are very good instructions online for making your own, inexpensively:
- MAKE: Magazine has instructions for not only making a single barrel, but also for linking two or more together.
- Instructables shows how to make your own rain barrel with standard hardware store parts.
- Here are instructions from the city of Raleigh, NC for how to make a rain barrel from a plastic trash can.
2. Buckets Under Downspouts and Eaves
This is a good option for those who don’t want to go all out with a rain barrel, or who, for one reason or another, can’t have one where they live. If you’re an apartment dweller with a balcony or patio — you can use this tip, too. Simply set five gallon buckets or whichever watering cans you have under your downspouts, at the edges of roof eaves or overhangs, or just out in the open to collect the rain water. You won’t get as much as you would with a rain barrel, but some is better than none, right?
3. Kid-Size Swimming Pool
If you have kids and find yourself filling up a little pool for them to splash around in during hot weather, don’t just let that water flow out onto the lawn when you empty the pool! Use buckets or watering cans to get the water out, and use the water for your garden instead. Even if you don’t have kids, a small kid’s pool is another excellent way to capture rainwater as described in #2, above.
4. Buckets in the Shower
One of the easiest ways to capture water that would otherwise be wasted is to take a shower with a bucket or two. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the buckets fill (even if you do take short showers) and you can use the water for your houseplants or garden.
5. Cooking Water
If you’ve boiled a bunch of vegetables or pasta, don’t just pour that water down the drain when you’re done with it! Let it cool completely, then use it to water plants in your garden. It’s perfectly safe for them, and actually contains a bit of nutrition for your plants, especially if you’ve boiled vegetables.
These are just a few ways to gather otherwise "wasted" water and put it to use in your garden instead.
I found this online and I want one!! I know you will too!
Behold the mowercycle! Is this an awesome DIY design or what? This ingenious bicycle-lawnmower fashioned by an unknown suburban lawn owner out of an old bicycle and a broken lawnmower, is a testament to the creativity of the human spirit. Spotted in dot dream’s flickr stream, we have no idea who the original photographer was, nor do we know anything about the owner/designer of the MOWERCYCLE. All we know is that it is awesome and should be an inspiration to sustainable design fans and DIY tinkerers everywhere.
If any of you readers have any knowledge about this fabulous DIY design – please get in touch and let us know!
Thought I would share a few images from out little garden!! Everything is coming up as nice as they can, in the room that we have! Enjoying the first lettuce of the season with dinner tonight!!
These darling baby pumpkins belong to my daughter, whom was sure that they would never grow. After a failed attempt to get sunflowers to grow in our last house, she was a little hesitant to try again. But here they are, beautiful, green and ready for the yard!!!!
Gadgets are not normally my cup of tea, but this one works miracles!!!
It is so easy to use that my teeny tiny 7-year-old can use it for 2 hours straight and still think it is fun!!!! Cost me about $25.00 at our local hardware store, and its worth every penny! One quick push into the ground, a few quick turns, one pull and then you shoot the weed into the bucket, up to 10 feet away!!!! LOVE IT, 5 star rating!!
Loved this article, all the more reason for me to spend more time in the garden!!!
Breathing soil bacteria makes you smarter
Scientists have observed that ingesting or breathing in a common soil bacterium found in nature reduces anxiety and improves learning.
By Bryan Nelson
Photo: Shawn Perez/Flickr
Spending time outdoors has always offered health benefits for the body and the mind: fresh air, clean water, awe-inspiring vistas, peaceful quietude. Now, it turns out, even the dirt is good for you.
Scientists at the Sage Colleges of Troy, N.Y., have discovered that exposure to certain kinds of soil bacteria can reduce anxiety and increase learning capabilities when ingested or inhaled, reports Physorg.com. Hippies everywhere can rejoice: dirt may actually make you smarter.
The amazing bacterium in question is Mycobacterium vaccae, which occurs naturally in soil and is often breathed in innocuously when people spend time in nature. Previous studies had revealed that when the bacteria is injected into mice, it stimulates neuron growth and causes serotonin levels to increase. Because increased serotonin levels are known to decrease anxiety, researchers already suspected that the bacteria could have antidepressant benefits.
But decreased anxiety isn’t the only effect of increased serotonin, and researchers wanted to investigate further. "Since serotonin plays a role in learning, we wondered if live M. vaccae could improve learning in mice," said Dorothy Matthews, who conducted the research.
After feeding the live bacteria to a group of mice, Matthews and her colleague Susan Jenks subjected the mice to a test of wits with a control group by having them run a maze.
"We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice," said Matthews.
Two subsequent experiments revealed that the mice fed the bacteria still ran the maze slightly faster than the control group once the bacteria was withheld from their diet, but the effect did not last for long — meaning the effect was a result of the presence of M. vaccae. If the bacteria had a similar effect on humans, it could mean that spending periods of time outdoors would need to be part of a regular routine for maximum neurological benefit.
"It is interesting to speculate that creating learning environments in schools that include time in the outdoors where M. vaccae is present may decrease anxiety and improve the ability to learn new tasks," noted Matthews.
This is an article that I found to be inspiring, hope you enjoy it.
Drawing on indigenous Indian knowledge of geology, hydrology and ecology, Rajendra Singh helped to save a watershed.
Rajendra Singh, founder of Tarun Bharat Sangh, (TBS, or Young India Association), always wanted to be a farmer. Bowing to family pressure, he studied to be a doctor of traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine and after school moved to the Alwyn district in the arid state of Rajasthan. Singh was not simply practicing medicine, he wanted to test some ideas about healing ecosystems.
The local Arvari River had dried up during the 1940s when the surrounding hills were stripped of trees. It flowed only during the monsoon season. Since that time most people fled local villages to seek a livelihood elsewhere. When Singh arrived in 1985, he noticed that only the oldest and poorest people were left in the area.
Drawing on indigenous Indian knowledge of geology, hydrology and ecology, he began building tiny dams with johads (reservoirs) on streams flowing to the river in the hopes of reviving the natural water flow of both surface and underground water in the region. The local elders chuckled as they watched him do backbreaking labor with very little results for two years. Only then, he remembers with a chuckle, did they decide he was sincere in trying to help them and began offering tips on the right spots to place dams and johads.
It worked. The water captured in the johads during monsoon season slowly rejuvenated vegetation, which helped refill the aquifers (used for local drinking water) and restore the water retaining capacity of the hillsides.
The Arvari River came back to life and now runs all year as do four other once-dry rivers in the region. Groundwater levels have risen by an estimated 20 feet, and crucial forest cover, which helps to maintain the water-retaining capacity of the soil, has increased by 33 percent. People who abandoned the district are now moving back to farm and start businesses, Singh says.
In addition, The Young India Association challenged plans to privatize and deplete freshwater resources. In the Alwar area, where Singh began his work, activsts have prevented 40 water-intensive industrial companies (including bottled water and soft drink makers) from setting up factories. Villagers are creating their own “river parliaments” to sustain the water commons; each is governed by two leaders�“one who is responsible to the community, and one who is responsible solely to the water and nature.
“Water is a very emotional, spiritual thing,” Singh explains, noting that the once-lost river is now once again sacred to local people. He says that many of the older residents now ask that when they die that their ashes be sprinkled into the Arvari rather than the Ganges.