I remember when I was a kid, we had this little greywater creek that flowed through the backyard from our washing machine. I used to love watching the bubbles that flowed along, and if I’m not mistaken, I think my mom had little flower beds along that side of the yard. Am I right, mom? Jeez that was like over 20 years ago.
Tonight, my random websurfing brought me many places, but when I was checking out realgoods.com, I eventually landed on this plan for using your laundry water to irrigate your garden. How fabulous is that?
Image by AIDG via flickr
When we moved into our home and installed the washing machine, we immediately rerouted the wash water out to the woods so we don’t overwhelm the septic tank, but that’s as far as it goes. On really busy laundry days, we have a little swamp that forms in the back half of the yard. I wash at least two loads of laundry per day. If I get behind, I’ve been known to wash up to six! Doing laundry for a family of six is hard work, and since we don’t use paper towels or napkins, there are always linens to wash. So got to thinking as I was checking out the greywater plan that we should plant a nifty little flower bed back there and irrigate it with our wash water.
Sounds easy enough, right? Oasisdesign.com warns us not to assume it is simple, though. Nonetheless, I think that along with our plans for backyard chickens and goats, we’ll research grey water irrigation. After all, what could it hurt?
If you want to get extra fancy, there are greywater treatment designs and equipment that you can install to save the water from all of your sinks to be used in the toilets. Or, if you want to do it the old fashioned way, simply save the water you use for washing and cooking in buckets to be taken outside later. While this sounds like a fantastic idea, I am not one to dream big and follow through. Also, with small children around, leaving buckets of water around simply isn’t safe or practical. Maybe down the road when the kids are bigger, we could afford and have time to start a major project like that. Until then, I think getting some extra tubing for a garden isn’t much of a stretch for us since we have half the system in place already.
Now all I have to do is find out which plants to get that will be able to withstand our grey water flood.