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  1. #1
    maggiethomas is offline Germinator
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    Default Ground water harvesting on allotment

    My LO's nursery has just taken on an allotment, nice & close to the nursery but but there is no piped water to the site.

    No shed this year (unless Freecycle comes up trumps) so we can't harvest water off a roof. However the site is very soggy at the moment (we are near the bottom of the slope - south facing).

    I dug a 12" (approx) deep drainage channel - only the width of a border fork - along the soggiest half of the bottom edge of the site. A few days later this was half-filled with water. So this got me thinking:

    a) We need to dig out a self-seeded tree, which will leave a big hole
    b) We could fill the hole with a mostly-buried plastic water butt
    c) If I first drill holes a few inches below the soil level of said butt, will it fill with ground water?

    Do you think it will work? What might be the drawbacks of this kind of water collection? I'm guessing I'll need some kind of filter over the holes, to prevent the butt filling with soil, and it will need a very robust lid, as the kids will climb on it if it is near the ground. Has anyone done anything similar?

    Thanks in advance for any answers/suggestions!
    Maggie

  2. #2
    fevvers is offline Germinator
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    Bristol
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    Default

    How do you plan to extract the water? If you use a pump siphon , you can have a closed barrel, with a nice strong lid - maybe one of the blue barrels every allotment seems to breed. Siphons are available easily off ebay for recycling bath water etc HAND ACTIVATED SIPHON FOR WATER BUTT OTHER USES syphon on eBay (end time 28-Feb-11 22:49:44 GMT)

    Getting water into this in a cleanish state might be achieved by digging a trench up to it on a gentle gradient, putting a porous, but tightly woven landscape fabric in the bottom, filling it with gravel and wrapping the fabric over the top. The last stretch to feed the water in could be channeled by a bit of gutter in the bottom of the gravel tench. Half french drain, half big filter.

  3. #3
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
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    Quote Originally Posted by maggiethomas View Post
    the site is very soggy at the moment
    But is it all year round? My lawn is saturated at the moment after months of rain, but in summer it's as dry as dust
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

  4. #4
    maggiethomas is offline Germinator
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    Thanks for the drain channel & siphon suggestion - a sealed container sounds like a useful option. Where can I get blue barrels in the Leeds area?

    I'm not sure it would work all year round: in Leeds there is usually abundant summer rainfall, but I have no idea how to accumulate water onto the site without some kind of harvesting, and with no shed I have limited options. We're starting the plants off in modules (on nursery windowsills ATM!) but will of course need water when planting out if not afterwards.

    Another idea I had - still using mostly-buried butts - was to have a kind of awning over the seating/play area (around 8m square) and harvest from that. The seating area is mostly under some established apple trees, though, and I won't want to deprive them of too much water...

    I'm thinking when we get a shed, maybe we could still use this butt as additional storage?

    Thanks for answers so far!

    Maggie

  5. #5
    Two_Sheds's Avatar
    Two_Sheds is offline Compost Everything...
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    Quote Originally Posted by maggiethomas View Post
    Where can I get blue barrels in the Leeds area?
    eBay? Freegle?


    Quote Originally Posted by maggiethomas View Post
    I have no idea how to accumulate water onto the site without some kind of harvesting
    Mulch, mulch, mulch.

    If you're interested, have a look into desert gardening. This is a great book, see if you can get it from a library?

    Quote Originally Posted by maggiethomas View Post
    when we get a shed, maybe we could still use this butt as additional storage?
    More than one, link them together like this: 4butts-400 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    All gardeners know better than other gardeners." -- Chinese Proverb.

  6. #6
    Shadylane's Avatar
    Shadylane is offline Cropper
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    My father in law built us a water collection thingy. We used some wood and an old door that had been left on our plot. It's basically a door covered in lino held about 6 ft high at an angle with four posts at each corner, kind of like a sloping roof. Guttering is attached at the bottom leading into a water butt. We have two more butts underneath the contraption all linked with a bit of pipe.

  7. #7
    maggiethomas is offline Germinator
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    Thanks Shadylane, I'm definitely thinking that above ground water collection is the way to go, even without a shed. Basically a shelter-type thing in the 'sitting area', with guttering & one or more linked water butts (thanks again twosheds).

    I'll still have mini-drainage-'ditches' to mark the edges of the beds, to help keep them drained in wetter months, and to protect against couch grass encroaching on the site. They only have to be 6" (15cm) deep or so.

    Now to find blue barrels. I've found them on Ebay, but too far away (Manchester). Not tried Freecycle yet. We have one water butt, so there's no great rush to get another one straight away.

    Cheers!
    Maggie

  8. #8
    Kristen is offline Early Fruiter
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    You might like to be on the lookout for for IBC's too. They are 1 cu.m = 1,000 litres = 220 gallons
    K's Garden blog the story of the creation of our garden

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