In the excitement to share photos of my huge tomato plants I realized I neglected to show how we get the rainwater.
It’s quite simple. We have four 1,000 litre tanks under the deck. We put on a new roof last year – metal – and put up new gutters at the same time. A simple diverter on the downspout feeds water into the tanks in the warmer months or out on to the lawn during winter.
We rigged up a bunch of 4″ PVC pipe under the deck from the downspout and into one of the tanks.
To equalize all the rainwater in the tanks, we just ran hose off the valves on the front. It took a few hours to get all the tanks at the same level after the first rains but it doesn’t affect the operation.
At my house we eat a lot of tomatoes. We’ve been growing our own for years now and each spring we forget how a few small plants morph into a jungle of leaves and stems in a few short weeks. A downside to growing plants and gardens is the amount of water and time spent watering to get a decent yield.
This year we’ve finally got our watering system figured out. We purchased four rain totes from Dusty Williams and set them up under the deck. From there we have two pumps; one for a solar powered automatic waterer and the other is a remote controlled pump that moves water from the front of the property to the back so we can water the rest of the garden.
Our four rain totes.
We have the tomatoes on a timer and lines running from the totes and up to the plants on the deck above. Each plant gets a dripper head all of its own. No more watering by hand morning and night, the plants get a steady drip, drip, drip of water whenever the timer in the solar powered pump kicks on. The beauty of a timed release of water is the soil remains moist, allowing less water to be used than if it dried out completely. Kind of like a dry sponge will take a lot of water to get it wet as opposed to a damp sponge that will easily soak up any water with which it comes in contact. There is a name for this phenomenon but it escapes me, it’s something like capillarity or capillary action. Feel free to correct me.
Close up of a dripper.
This year our tomatoes are ridiculous. We bought nine plants back in May and planted them in a raised bed on our south facing deck. They are now so big they threaten to cover the kitchen window. I highly recommend this automatic watering system. Last year it was a huge job keeping up with the plants’ water needs and this year we are just sitting back and watching them grow.
Tomato babies; May 23rd.
Monster tomato plants, nine weeks later.
On Council’s agenda for July 18th is a draft of a new bylaw concerning Water Use and Water Conservation; Bylaw 18-06. I’m sharing our set up to hopefully educate and inspire you to design your own water harvesting and automatic watering system. It really wasn’t too hard; I just had my husband do it.
Jokes aside, the system works and all the parts were easily purchased through Lee Valley. I would love to hear from others about how they’ve designed their watering systems.
The solar pump.