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Posts Tagged ‘compost tea’

The second half tonne of water is in place!

On Saturday, Geoff Tanner met me at the garden with a bike trailer load of wood, a rough tote, some strawberries and chocolate. It was raining but we started to work in the strawbale shed by opening the shutters. By the time we did our planning and first cuts, the rain had let up.

We made a wooden stand to host the rainbarrels out of scavenged wood and nails that is light, strong and multifunctional. The building part took the longest. I hit my thumb hard enough that it is cresented purple still, and learned some great building tricks.

Geoff was keen to do the rainbarrels for as cheap as we could. I encouraged him, knowing it would be great to demonstrate a cheap well-functioning version of water-catchement system. At first, Geoff bought a few things at the hardware store, but when comparing them to the prices of comparable gear available from the boating shops, he sourced mainly from the Binnacle, (yauchting equiptment and accessories ltd. 15 Purcells Cove Road, binnacle.com).

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To interconnect three barrels using hardware stone gear would total around $50. To interconnect three barrels using boating gear costs us around $40. Now $12 of this could be saved by scavenging hose clamps (from washing machines, for example), making it closer to $30).
Some thoughts on the whole thing:

When we interconnected the first three barrels, I was thinking that we could use them to make compost tea. For this reason, large plumbing is better as it is less likely to get clogged, and it would be ideal to be able to easily switch out the barrels. The problem with the idea of making compost tea in our rainbarrels is that good compost tea is made (in about 24 hours) by an aerobic process, meaning with air. If there is anywhere to plug in an extension cord, or a little solar panel, we could plug in an aquarium pump for areation. Otherwise, our other option is to stir out brew, – which frankly is my first choice: a 24 hour compost tea making party! combine it with a barndance- but stirring the three barrels as presently situated would be awkward. It would be much better to make compost tea in an area where we could form a circle around it.

I was also thinking we could drown our weeds (as a permaculture teacher of mine did this: he would drown his seedy weeds for 3-4 days, then compost them, and he bragged of good finished compost in 6 weeks in the summer) in onion sacs to accelerate our compost. But that site is too under-control to produce enough big, seedy weeds to drown!

In conclusion, I think the burly interconnection system is overkill for our site at this time, but I do think it is a great demonstration of a highly functional water catchement system for the community to observe, and it hold possibilities for future on-site usages.

(Maybe we could still plant some cattails and reeds in the them to clean the water while it waits).

May these systems be useful in the future, and may these two systems show a spectrum of interconnection methods, from the cheap-and-easy to a heavier gauge and easier maintenance. May it inspires more great water catchment systems.

If you have built one, or know anyone who has, and have any comments to add, please do. If your are now inspired to build your own then please do drop in a note too.

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