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With the water shortages and hose pipe bans of last year (which was hard to believe when it turned out to be one of the wettest years on record) it is important that we make the most of this natural resource. Without it we would not exist and the garden depends on this water to enable it to thrive and grow. Many people nowadays are using the garden for growing vegetables, fruit and flowers which helps to save on the household budget. Beside the money saved the taste of fruit and vegetables from your garden is second to none. And knowing you have grown this lovely produce can give you a satisfying feel.
Even if you don’t use the garden for growing the garden lawn always looks so much better when it looks lush and green. This is where water plays a part so you need to ensure you make the most of what we get even though we complain when it is raining.
The garden shed, summerhouse or garage, even as small as a 12×4 shed, can play a part in helping with this problem by the simple addition of gutters, down pipes and a water barrel or two. This will catch the rain which falls on the shed roof and will then be channelled down the gutters and into the barrels. From there you can spread this water over the vegetables, fruit, flowers and garden and this will help it to grow and flourish.
This in itself is a relatively easy job to do. All you need to do is to screw the gutter brackets onto your garden shed, ensuring that each one is a little lower than the next one. This will ensure that the water will flow off your shed roof, along the gutters and into the down pipes before discharging into the water barrel. This barrel can often be put alongside the shed so it is out of the way however many people like the barrel to be next to the shed door. It’s your choice.
An even easier option is the RainSaver gutter system and will fit most of their garden sheds and summerhouses. With this you don’t even have to screw brackets onto your building as it utilises special brackets which just screw on by hand. The 3 inch gutters then clip into place before adding your own pipes into your water barrel. Could not be any easier. And the great thing is than even on a 12ft x 4ft garden shed you can collect over 1800 litres of water per year on each side. That’s over 400 gallons available free and not being charged through your water meter.
Over in the States Concordai College had created a special water saving garden called the Cornucopia Garden. In this garden they have a garden shed which collects and harvests rainwater and this helps to demonstrate self-sufficiency in the garden. This is part of a larger scheme of how to grow food in a sustainable manner.
They have shown that their skinny garden shed with a barrel which collects the rainwater will collect 50 gallons of water which can be used in the garden. The co-president, Shane Sessions, declared that the students have established a self sustain system and was being used to grow tomatoes, onions and other crops which are then sold at farmers markets. They have also grown beans, corn and squash in the traditional Native American way. They have also be keeping a blog about the progress in the garden called ‘Fresh Dirt’.
Clearly there are only positives from collecting rainwater both for the environment and also for smaller water bills.