Nature Photography

Photo Essay: Greywater Harvesting on the Cheap

Funny thing about those plants in the yard. Although a lot of them are native species of the low water using variety, they still get thirsty.

They get especially thirsty at this time of the year, when daytime temperatures are in the triple digits and rain is scarce.

A popular solution to the thirsty plants problem is to install an irrigation system and let ’em drink up. And drink they do. Did you know that, here in Tucson, Arizona, 45% of all residential potable water use is for outdoor plants? Heard that statistic in the greywater harvesting class I attended last Saturday.

That’s a lot of water. And a lot of money.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in giving Tucson Water any more of my money than I absolutely have to.

So, meet my bucket brigade, ready, willing and able to serve…

Photo essay - greywater harvesting buckets in Tucson, Arizona

The bucket in the background is holding the half gallon of water that I scooped out of the kitchen sink. The scooper is that recycled yogurt container next to the kitty litter buckets.

Total cost of this system: About four bucks for the organic yogurt — it was tasty — and zero for the two kitty litter buckets. I got them from a neighbor.

Since I’ve planted my yard as a xeriscape, with the thirstiest plants closest to the house, I’m not hauling buckets all over the place. And that’s a good thing. So, drink up, aloe vera in the pot next to the porch…

Photo essay - greywatered aloe vera plant in Tucson, Arizona

Speaking of good things, what do plants enjoy in their greywater cocktails? I like to treat my plants to the very best in biodegradable dish soap, so I stick with the BioPac and Oasis brands. Both can be purchased in containers or in bulk at the Food Conspiracy Co-op.

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