A few weeks ago Serena gathered up all the toxic chemicals and cleaners she could find so we could get rid of them and replace them with more natural products. The previous owners lived in the house for 43 years. And so you can imagine, they accumulated lots of chemical cleaners, paints, acids, gases, and who knows what else. And they kindly left them for us.

A few months ago while rummaging through the basement, I found a large compressed gas cylinder. It’s the same cylinder in some home inspection pictures of the basement (you can see it propping open the door).

cylinder holding door open

Continue reading “Bye-bye Hazardous Waste” »

According to our landscape plan, we need 2 barrels to act as a rain water collection system. I’ve seen old wine or whiskey barrels used before. But most rain barrels are made from 55-gallon food grade containers (which are more plentiful and cheaper). A couple of months ago, we bought 2 rain barrels from our local home improvement co-op.

rain barrel

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We had disconnected the outdoor spigot in fall of 2005. It wasn’t a big deal last year - we just ignored our dried out lawn and let our garden go to weeds. Aside from the occasional five gallon bucket of water hauled from the basement utility sink, we’ve been relying on on our 2-3 rain barrels for 95% of our outdoor watering. Now that we have little vegetable seedlings, Tig is carefully managing the rainwater use, trying to stretch it out and avoiding using municipal water as much as he can. He checks the weather constantly on the internet and reminds me how long it’s been between rains.

I originally thought that water conservation meant buying lots of rain barrels and installing a drip irrigation system. However, Tig stumbled upon a book called Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. The book cites examples of lush gardens in New Mexico that require minimal watering. I was fascinated by the possibilities. Here are some notes on some of the techniques listed in the book. We’re going to try a few of them and see how it works.

Continue reading “Avoiding Municipal Water - Permaculture Notes” »