Is It Raining? Get Outside and Do THIS!

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Those of you who know me know I love to play outside in the rain … barefoot, preferably. 😉

But there’s another reason rain draws me outside.

Beyond just irrigation, rainstorms serve another incredibly valuable purpose on the homestead: They show you where the water flows on your property—and where you might be having some problems.

In this new edition of Homesteading Basics, watch as I walk my property during a storm (after making sure all the hatches were battened down first, of course!) and glean some really valuable information—from clogged gutters to the best natural location for a new pond.

You’ll also see a little part of my property that’s almost magical. When my kids were young, we built a gabion with rocks and chicken wire to help slow the flow of water in an eroded spot. We never did anything else to that area, but we still had something pretty cool happen there. You’ll see what I’m talking about when you watch the video.

Then, I’d love to know: What’s your favorite way to slow the flow of water on your property? Share your tips in the comments!


The post Is It Raining? Get Outside and Do THIS! appeared first on The Grow Network.

6 Clever Ways To Save Money When Watering Your Garden

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6 Clever Ways To Save Money When Watering Your Garden

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There’s no way around it. We just can’t control nature. If the forecast calls for an extended hot, dry period, our gardens may end up experiencing drought conditions. If we’re fortunate, we can just turn on our irrigation systems. But there may be limited water for irrigation, water conservation may be important to you, or perhaps you just don’t want to see your water bill balloon. If you want to minimize your garden’s water consumption — either by necessity or choice — check out these tips.

1. Water only when needed

There’s a lot of different advice out there about how often to water your garden. How do you know which advice to follow?

Your plants will let you know when they need water. All plants tend to wilt during extreme heat, regardless of how much moisture they have. However, if your plants are drooping during the cooler morning or evening hours, they need water. Big-leaved plants (like melons and squash) are the ones to watch, since they are more susceptible to wilting. If you spot a wilter in the morning or evening, it’s time to water the entire garden.

You also can test your soil, and you don’t need complicated equipment to do so. Just stick your finger into the soil. It’s normal for the top 2-3 inches to be dry; but if that dryness goes deeper than 3 inches, break out the watering cans.

2. Use greywater, wastewater and/or rainwater

Greywater can be difficult and costly to gather unless you already have a greywater recycling system installed. If you do, you’re good to go. I don’t; however, I do re-use the water from my family’s kiddie pools in my garden.

The All-Natural Fertilizer That Can Double Your Garden Yield!

I also collect rainwater, and I’m hoping that most committed gardeners do, too. Rainwater always should be your first choice for watering. It doesn’t have the salt, minerals or chemicals that treated city water, groundwater and surface water all have. Rainwater is slightly acidic, which can help neutralize the alkalinity of municipal water and greywater, if you use those on occasion. Also, it has nitrates (aka nitrogen, which is crucial to plant growth) and some organic matter for extra nutrients. Don’t just collect rainwater in case of drought; collect and use it throughout your growing season.

3. Water in the early morning or late afternoon

6 Clever Ways To Save Money When Watering Your Garden

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Cool early morning hours are best for watering because soil — and plants — will have a chance to absorb the moisture before it evaporates in the heat. If you’re not up with the birds (I’m a night owl myself), then invest in a timer for your outdoor faucet, or water in the late afternoon instead. It will start to cool down by then, minimizing evaporation, but it also will give the foliage a chance to dry before night falls, which is important for disease management.

4. Avoid sprinklers

Sprinklers are fairly inefficient devices, spraying water indiscriminately within their reaches. That said, hand-watering can be a chore in a large garden. An easier option is a soaker hose; even better is a drip irrigation line. Since soaker hoses spray water over a smaller area than sprinklers, there’s less waste. However, unless you can find a hose that is the exact length of your row or bed, there will be some inefficiency, since water is emitted from the entire length of the hose. Drip irrigation systems are more expensive to buy and more complicated to set up, but their emitters can be directed over plant roots for the highest efficiency.

5. Water deeply and infrequently

Watering deeply will help your plants develop a large, strong root system as the roots seek water deep beneath the surface. Deep roots have access to more moisture, meaning you won’t need to water as frequently.

How much water does your garden need? Start with a guideline of 1 inch of water per week, but you will need more in hotter temperatures. For every 10-degree increment over 60 degrees Fahrenheit, add an extra ½ inch of water. For example, today’s daily average temperature in my part of the world was 72 degrees (a high of 86 + a low of 58 divided by 2 to get the average). Since this is representative of the week, I should assume my garden needs 1 ½ inches of moisture this week.

It’s best to get watering done in one go so that it soaks deeply into the soil. You may even want to water right after a rain. Using the above example, if I got half an inch of rain overnight, it would be best to give my garden an additional inch of rain in the morning. Then I wouldn’t need to water again until my big-leaved plants droop or my soil feels dry at a depth greater than 3 inches.

6. Make trenches or reservoirs

Shallow trenches between rows or reservoirs around the bases of plants can help collect runoff water. Trenches also can serve much the same purpose as soaker hoses. If water is slowly trickled into a trench, and let run until the trench is saturated, roots near the trench will have access to that water.

Do you have any other tips for minimizing the amount of water used in your garden? If so, let us know in the comments below.

How To Build A Drip Irrigation System For Under $100

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How To Build A Drip Irrigation System For Under $100 A drip irrigation system can save you time, money and conserve water. This drip irrigation system can be turned on and left to do its job without you having to stand over it to monitor its progress. Using water wisely with a drip irrigation system …

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How To Build Your Own Irrigation System

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Survivopedia diy irrigation system

In the summer time, when the weather is hot (actually scorching hot in some places), what can be more important than knowing how to build your own irrigation system for your garden?

DIY irrigation systems will save you some of your hard-earned dollars, and they also make for an interesting learning experience. They help you with acquire new skills and that’s a big part of a prepper’s way of life, isn’t it?

Now, irrigation systems are essential whether you’re growing roses in your back yard for winning prizes or what not, or, more importantly, for your survival garden. Hose-watering your plants is quite a chore. You’ll have to move the hose around every 30 minutes or so and then store the hose in your yard afterward etc.; basically it’s a waste of time and resources.

Today’s article is built around a few ideas about DIY drip irrigation systems, as they’re very efficient and simple. As a matter of fact, their beauty is their simplicity, like a Swiss watch. Oh, and they’re also dirt cheap and easy to build using readily-available materials. That’s a huge plus in my book.

Soaker Hose vs. Drip Irrigation System

Taking into account that not all irrigation methods are created equal and obviously, there are quite a few systems of irrigation available, let’s begin with the basics.

While soaker hoses are the most common irrigation method for “amateurs”, i.e. home gardeners, they’re rarely used in commercial gardening for several reasons. One of the reasons is they will end up costing quite a lot. They’ll also cause you more problems than they solve.

The biggest problem with soaker hoses is that they don’t water your garden evenly. Due to their intrinsic design, i.e. they seep water all along the hose’s length, the water delivered at the beginning of the hose will always be considerably more than the quantity delivered at the end of the line; that’s a law of physics folks. Basically, there’s no way of delivering the optimal amount of water for all of your plants using soaker hoses.

Long story short, that’s inconsistent watering and it’s a big no-no for your survival garden, as it leads to rotting in some places (too much water) and your plants dying of thirst in others. Also, soaker hoses don’t function properly on slopes because they’re not pressure-compensating. The maximum length of such a system is less than 200 ft.

Another disadvantage of soaker hoses is that they’re prone to clogging easily and that leads to even more inconsistency over time. When left in the sun, soaker hoses are also prone to damage, as they’ll harden (rubber doesn’t cope too well with UV light) and get brittle in time, breaking over when you’ll need them most.

To make things worse, the soaker hoses are also prone to bursting, making a huge mess and leaking large amounts of water. And yes, a burst soaker hose is pretty hard and expensive to repair if needed, especially if it’s hardened and brittle from sun exposure.

Just check out this cool video about soaker hoses vs drip irrigation; you’ll see with your own eyes what I’m talking about. On the good side, soaker hoses are cheap and fairly easy to install compared to drip irrigation systems.

Video first seen on CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY.

Now, talking about drip irrigation, these babies are built using flexible plastic tubing that features tiny emitters (holes basically) that allow water to drip slowly into the soil.

There are a few advantages of using drip emitters over soaker hoses: they are not wasting as much water as the latter, they’re totally fixable when they break, and even if they require some maintenance, many of the parts are re-usable. They’re one hundred percent repairable, which is very important in my book.

Besides the almost–zero waste of water, a drip emitter puts the water directly where it’s needed, with pinpoint accuracy so to speak. For example, you will be able to space them (the drippers) so the water drips exactly over the root zone of your plant.

How to DIY The Drip Irrigation System

Project #1

Now, let’s see about how to DIY a PVC-made drip irrigation system. Here’s an extremely interesting video depicting the advantages of a homemade drip irrigation system compared to regular flood irrigation.

Video first seen on Utah State University Extension.

This PVC-made drip irrigation system will help you save money, time, and water. A fabulous advantage of using this design is that you’ll be able to reduce water use by up to 75%, and that’s quite a lot, especially in a survival situation. All you’ll have to do is turn it on and forget about it, as it doesn’t require monitoring or supervision.

This system uses water wisely and you’ll end up with a beautiful garden that will provide you with fresh veggies for you and your family all summer long. Also, this project is not expensive: the estimated cost for a 15ftx15ft garden is under $50 and the time to build it is approximately 5 hours. You’ll only need ¾-inch PVC pipe, a drilling machine, and connectors/fittings. These are intuitive to use, user friendly, easy to set up, and lots of fun.

Project #2

The next project is about a small-scale DIY gravity-fed drip irrigation system. The complete plans for the project can be downloaded from here. Here’s a video tutorial depicting the system working and most of the DIY details.

Video first seen on Ross Lukeman.

The materials required for this project are dirt cheap and readily available; you probably already have them lying around your property somewhere. You’ll need a 5 gallon bucket for the reservoir, a drill, garden hose fittings, irrigation tubing, some planks of wood for building the structure that holds the bucket in place (you’ll have to cut them), and that’s about it.

For added precision, you can throw in a digital irrigation timer, which gives you a lot of flexibility because it allows you to do whatever you want. For example, if you want to water your plants every morning at 8 AM with a predetermined amount of water and so on and so forth, you can arrange it; just take a look at the video.

Project #3

Now, let’s talk about the easiest way to DIY a rain-drip watering system for keeping alive a relatively large garden. This DIY project is very efficient. It uses an electronic timer, a back-flow system, and a water filter to prevent clogging. It will help you with your bills and also with conserving water if you’re living in a remote area.

Thanks to the electronic timer, this irrigation system will save you a lot of physical labor, as it will basically automate the whole process and you’ll not have to water every plant by yourself. Also, this system is expandable, adaptable and relatively cheap, and it can be used with basically anything: flowers, veggies or hanging baskets. Take a look at this video and start working.

Video first seen on RedneckResponder.

Project #4

Last but not least, here’s an interesting idea about DIY-ing a self-watering container garden. The main benefit of a container garden is its efficiency, as the plants will draw the exact amount of water required from a reservoir placed below the soil; no more, no less. Also, there’s no loss of water through evaporation.

Video first seen on XoletteLife.

This project will provide you with better-tasting veggies and fruits, as the plants are free to use as much water as needed for optimum growth. The main benefit of a self-watering container garden is its relative self-sufficiency, i.e. you can go on vacation for extended periods of time. As long as you set the hose on a timer, the plants will take care of themselves.

The total cost of this project is about $50, so you’ll not have to break the piggy bank either. Materials required:

  • Commander 27-Gallon Tote
  • 10′ Orbit Polyethylene Riser Flex Pipe,
  • FLEX-Drain Corrugated Pipe with Filter Sock 4″ x 25′
  • Apollo 3/4″ Polyethylene Drip Irrigation elbow
  • Miracle-Gro 64 qt. Moisture Control Potting Mix
  • Apollo 3/4″ PVC Drip Irrigation Female Adapter

The rest is up to you.

I hope the article helped. If you have any other ideas or questions, feel free to comment in the dedicated section below. And click on the banner below to discover one amazing tool that any prepper should have for building what he needs for survival!


This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

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Rainwater Harvesting: Global Storming – Bring it on

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Water harvestingInstalling a Rainwater Harvesting System (RHS) could be a major step in achieving your ideal, eco-friendly home. You could be collecting your own water through the beauty of nature rather than seeing the bills pile up on the doormat from the Utility Company. By installing a run-off system from your roof that leads to a storage area, pumps and purifiers, rainwater can be used across your home.
Even if you are already connected to the water supply, there are advantages to harvesting rainwater. If you are on a meter, your water bill will be reduced as the collected water can be put to use for non-drinking purposes such as showers, baths, flushing toilets, washing dishes. Drinking water is not easily renewable and if you wish to use your collected water for things that don’t require purification, harvesting is cost effective and requires little maintenance. It is also beneficial in terms of reducing wastage.
If you are cultivating your own crops and living off your plot of land, the collected water can be funnelled into an irrigation system. On an environmental level, the collection of rainwater will vastly improve the levels of groundwater. With a rise in population, groundwater levels have decreased and therefore increased the strife in parts of the world where water is scarce. Rainwater harvesting also reduces the level of surface water and lessens the chance of flooding, soil erosion and river contamination brought about by rainwater running through pesticides and other agricultural chemicals.

The disadvantages of rainwater harvesting are two-fold. Firstly, the initial cost of installing a storage system, purification methods and pumping can, according to YouGen, cost between $3000-$5000 (£2000-£3000 )and then running the pump will cost 5-10c a week. However you can now have your RHS plumbed straight into your existing piping and according to the Rainwater Harvesting Association can reduce your water consumption by as much as 40%. The use of a cistern to obtain drinking water in a city can be a tricky business. Shingled roofs, rather than clay or metal are less clean and liable to allow pollution to seep into the water. A pre-filtering system would have to be set up on the shingled roof prior to deposition in the tank to achieve drinkable water.

With water remaining in storage for a considerable degree of time, it is prone to stagnation, algal blooms and rodents spreading water-borne disease. Your harvesting system therefore has to be regularly maintained. Then of course, you are at the mercy of the clouds. Rainfall can be unpredictable and your levels of water will be affected by your geographical location.

The legal and red tape processes one has go through in order to begin to harvest your own water vary wildly. In 2012 a RHS case went viral when 64 year old Gary Harrington from Oregon was sentenced to 30 days in prison for illegal collection of rainwater Oregon Water Resources Department stated that Harrington had dammed up artificial water channels across his property without obtaining the correct water permit. The amount of water he collected had the potential to fill 20 Olympic size swimming pools.
Confusion lies when public water, which includes rainwater, is not obtained from an artificial run-off such as a roof or car park. Set outlines have to be adhered to when collecting rainwater in this manner and a tax credit system has been set up in the USA for those investing in RHS

At present in the UK, about 400 Rainwater Harvesting Systems are installed every year. Progress was made initially through the government’s use of the Code for Sustainable Homes. The cost of achieving a Level 1 home was relatively inexpensive. Use of compost and recycling bins achieved Level 1 status. However, building to Level 3 could cost up to £3000 with an additional £2000 code assessment for even a small build. Oddly, a zero-carbon home could only achieve Level 1 and groups such as The Construction Products Association and the Sustainable Development Commission critiqued the Code and called for its redesign. In March 2015 the Code was withdrawn for further developments
The government needs to start putting eco-friendly homes higher up on their agenda if we want to see Rainwater Harvesting Systems being employed more and more in new builds.

Further details on the process of harvesting water and sewage can be found here:

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