Maypop Propagation

Maypop Propagation

Maypop propagation can be done via hardwood or softwood cuttings, layering, or by digging up rooted suckers from the mother plant.  This post is about digging up rooted suckers from the mother plant.  I posted a video on Great Escape Farms YouTube Channel that shows the steps for maypop propagation.

Maypop Propagation

Maypop Propagation

I have had a maypop, Passiflora incarnate, for three years now.  It “pops” up every May, which is how it gets its name, Maypop.  It is a vine with very showy and fragrant flowers as well as tasty fruit later in the summer or early fall.  I did a post providing Maypop Plant Information a while back.  Just click on the highlighted link for Maypop Plant Information which gives you general growing information as well as a recipe using the maypop fruit.

My vine has managed to send out roots in all directions under the ground that produce suckers.  Some of the suckers pop up more than twenty five feet away from the original planting.  Since I end up with so many suckers, I figure I might as well propagate some and move them out to the farm in West Virginia.

The way I do maypop propagation is simply by putting a shovel in the ground and make a cutting circle around the suckers about 6 inches away from the sucker.   Then I reach in with my hand and break the soil up and carefully pull the sucker and root out.  I then soak the sucker in water for about half an hour to an hour.

Once the sucker has soaked in water to keep it hydrated, I grab a pot to put it in, label the pot and then put some dirt on the bottom of the pot and then add the maypop root.  Then cover the root and water.  I also cut all leaves off except for one or two.  This will help the plant conserve water until it gets a good root system going.

Now I put the pot in an area that gets mostly shade.  I want just a little dappled sun to hit the plant for the first two weeks.  After two weeks I will move it to a spot that will give it several hours of sun and after a month to six weeks I will move it into full sun.

The YouTube video below shows how I took the suckers and put them in pots.

Thanks for visiting the Maypop propagation post.

Please give us your thoughts on the Maypop propagation post by commenting below.

maypop

maypop

Epi042 Great Escape Farms Podcast – Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia, Plant Identification Tags, Large Rainwater Harvesting System, and Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup Group

Epi042 Great Escape Farms Podcast – Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia, Plant Identification Tags, Large Rainwater Harvesting System, and Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup Group

This post covers Epi042 Great Escape Farms Podcast – Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia, Plant Identification Tags, Large Rainwater Harvesting System, and Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup Group.

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Podcast is an audio version of the blog posts from Great Escape Farms, Specializing in Unique Edible Plants, Permaculture Gardens, and Homesteading. The blog posts can be viewed at GreatEscapeFarms.com.

If you would like to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, you can do so by clicking on Great Escape Podcast.

Click on the icon below for other RSS feed options.
Great Escape Farms Podcast

We would love it and it would really help us out if you would go to iTunes or whatever podcast feed you use and rate our program. We are a new small company and the ratings will help us become more popular on the podcast feeds.

We value your feedback and want to hear from you. Tell us what you think about Epi042 Great Escape Farms Podcast – Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia, Plant Identification Tags, Large Rainwater Harvesting System, and Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup Group.

Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup

Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup

Are you interested in some free or cheap garden and permaculture training in the MD, VA, PA, WV or DC area?  Then Check Out Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup Group.

The purpose of the Chesapeake Permaculture Institute:

  • Facilitate networking and collaboration within the permaculture community in our region (Mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay Watershed).
  • Help publicize permaculture events & courses.
  • Facilitate opportunities for face to face community building/gatherings/meetings.
  • Identify our niches/unique contribution from each partnering group.
  • Offer advanced topic specific courses such as forest gardening, natural building, water irrigation, food production, transforming public landscapes and ect.
  • Support graduates of Permaculture Design Courses in continuing education and skill building.
Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup

Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup

The Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup group is basically a website and email list that connects like minded people.  You can control how much email you receive and of what type.  There are various groups that add training to the meetup group site and you can signup for the training or just ignore it.

I signed up for the meetup group 2 1/2 years ago.  I have been to a couple of meetups and have found that the meetups are great place to network with like minded people.  You learn from the class or workshop but you also learn new techniques and other information from the other students.

I just took over as coordinator for the group this past week and I’m trying to build up the training that is offered and the list of people interested in taking training.

Please consider signing up if you are interested in any of these topics.  You can sign up by going to Chesapeake Permaculture Institute.

Even if permaculture and gardening is not your thing, you can go to meetup.com and just take a look around.  They have all kinds of topics to meet like minded people.

Please give us your thoughts on Chesapeake Permaculture Institute Meetup by commenting below.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System

Large Rainwater Harvesting System

This post goes over a large rainwater harvesting system that is even bigger than the one posted last week called DIY Rainwater Collection System. This system catches and stores up to 1200 gallons of water and has multiple filtering steps to keep debris out of the tank.  You can see a video of this system being put in by going to the Great Escape Farms YouTube channel.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System

Large Rainwater Harvesting System

This system consists of four IBC totes, two LeafEater filters, two First Flush Filters and a good bit of PVC pipe.

Before the IBC totes were put into place I used a laser level to get their foundation perfectly level.  The foundation consists of cinder blocks.  Each IBC tote is sitting on six cinder blocks.  Then I put a piece of two by six on top of the cinder blocks to make sure the weight was evenly distributed.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System - Left Side

Large Rainwater Harvesting System – Left Side

With all four IBC totes being perfectly level with one another, now I can tie them together.  All four IBC Totes are tied together at the bottom with 2″ PVC pipe.  Each pair is tied together and then the pairs have a 2″ pipe going under the walkway connecting them together.  This way any water in one tote will be evenly distributed between the four totes.

Once the tanks fill up, I don’t want the water to dump out right where the totes area and flood out my garage.  So I added an overflow diversion system designed to move overflow water away from the garage area and dump off into the yard.  Eventually a swale will be put in to receive that runoff water and to keep the water on the property longer.  You can see the overflow pipe on the right hand side of the picture below titled: Large Rainwater Harvesting System – Right Side.

Large Rainwater Harvesting System - Right Side

Large Rainwater Harvesting System – Right Side

I did a post and video on a single tote system last week.  It is called DIY Rainwater Collection System. That post has part numbers and links to all of the filters that I used as well as describes how to acquire some of the other parts like the IBC totes.

I installed the system over the weekend in the rain and as you can with see the bluish color about half way up on the totes, I caught a lot of water.  That is actually water that we caught from an overnight rain.  I was very excited to wake up and find that we had captured almost 600 gallons of water overnight!

I will be doing another video and post on lessons learned and troubleshooting the system.  I had quite a few things go wrong and not work as designed and sometimes the best way to learn is through mistakes.  Why not make them my mistakes and not yours 🙂  Keep an eye out for that post in the next two weeks.

The below picture titled Large Rainwater Harvesting System is actually a YouTube video of this project being put together.  Just click on the video and it will play right in this window.

Thanks for visiting the Large Rainwater Harvesting System post!

Please give us your feedback on Large Rainwater Harvesting System by commenting below.

Plant Identification Tags

Plant Identification Tags

This post is a how-to and demonstration of how to make three different types of plant identification tags.  One variety of plant identification tags is typed on paper and then laminated, another type of plant identification tags is aluminum marking tags, and the final type of plant identification tags is written on tongue depressors.

The reason I’m using plant identification tags on everything is so I don’t have to carry a map around with me.  I have all of my plants mapped out, but it’s a pain to go retrieve a map if I need to know the exact cultivar of a certain plant.  I’m doing several types of plant identification tags because I’m expecting they will react differently to the environment on the farm and I’m trying to find the best fit.

Printed and Laminated

Plant Identification Tags - Laminated

Plant Identification Tags – Laminated

The first type of plant identification tags is printed out on the computer, cut to size, and then laminated.  On these tags I include the common name, Latin name, and the year the plant was put in the garden.  I got the idea for doing my tags this way from Lincoln Smith of forested.us.  The only thing I’m worried about with these tags is the print fading because of the sun.

After the labels are laminated, I use a very small hole punch I picked up at the craft store to put a hole in the lamination material.  Make sure not to put a hole in where the paper itself is, because that will allow water to get in and ruin the tag.

Then I take 24″ insulation hangers I picked up from Home Depot and I bend the end with a pair of pliers to make a hoop.  I then take some copper wire I picked up from the craft store and cut it to about 3″ pieces.  The copper wire threads through the laminated tags as well as the 24″ insulation hangers and is then wrapped in such a way that the tag stays on the insulation hangers.  This is depicted in the picture titled: “Plant Identification Tags – Laminated”

At this point the insulation hanger can be put in the ground near the plant that you are identifying. You can watch the a video of this process at Great Escape Farms YouTube.

Aluminum Marking Tags

The aluminum marking plant identification tags are just a rectangular aluminum piece of metal with two holes in the end.  The holes are for hanging the tag.  The product that I picked up from Grempler’s included the hanging wire as well.  The way the tag works is you simply write on the tag with a ball point pen.  The pen dents the aluminum where you write and acts as a label. These tags will not fade in the sun, but may become illegible if they are banged around in the wind a lot and we do have a lot of wind on the farm.

Once the aluminum marking tags are marked up the way you want, you use the insulation hangers that we talked about above and do the same process to allow them to be used as hangers.  You then use the wire that came with these tags to go through the two holes on the aluminum marking plant identification tags and the hole in the insulation hangers and then tie the wire together.

Tongue Depressors

Plant Identification Tags - Tongue Depressor

Plant Identification Tags – Tongue Depressor

I bought craft sticks form the craft store.  They are the size of tongue depressors giving you plenty of room to write on.  I bought a box of 200 for $5.  I know they will not last a long time, but I have high hopes that they will last through the summer.  I plan on using these plant identification tags for my annual plants.  At the end of the year, I can just leave them in the ground to rot, because they are wood.

I wrote the name of the plant on one side with a ball point pen.  Then I wrote on the other side with a Sharpe marker.  I’m guessing that the Sharpe will fade and the ball point pen will have a better chance of making it through the summer.  I did some with red and some with black Sharpe.  This is depicted in the picture titled: “Plant Identification Tags – Tongue Depressor”

More to Come

I will do another post in the fall and give an update on how well each tag fared.

Below is a YouTube video titled Plant Identification Tags, that shows how I put each of the tags together.

 

Thanks for visiting the Plant Identification Tags post!

Please give us your thoughts on Plant Identification Tags by commenting below.

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia

This past weekend I did more projects related to Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia.  These projects include more plantings, labeling the plants, adding shade to the propagation beds, and building a 1200 gallon rain water harvesting system.

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia

Look at That Garden

This past weekend was another busy one on the farm in WV.  In spite of all of the rain, I managed to plant more than a dozen perennials and shrubs and put some grass and clover seed down on the areas I added topsoil to last week.  After the seed was down, I added hay on top to keep the seeds moist.  Even though it has rained on the East Coast of the US for the last 30 days straight, next week is suppose to get sunny and hot, so I don’t want the seeds to dry out.  Many of the projects this weekend were additions to or completions of projects done last weekend.  These projects can be viewed at Farm Update – STUN Shear Total Utter Neglect.

You’ve Got to See These Labels

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia - Labels

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Labels

I went to Michael’s craft store and bought Popsicle sticks (or tongue depressors).  These were used to label the annual plants that I put in last week so I don’t have to carry a map around with me showing what is planted where.  I wrote with a sharpy marker on one side of the stick and a ball point pen on the other side of the stick.  I know the sticks won’t last a long time, I’m just wanting them to last through the summer.  Because they are wood, they can just rot in place after the summer be additional mulch and compost.  See the picture titled “Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Labels” to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

I also put labels on most plants in the food forest.  These labels are different than the laminated labels I put in the perennial garden.  These labels are aluminum that you write on with a ball point pen and make a depression on.  I will do a future video and post on that in the coming weeks.  You can see a brief overview of the labels in the YouTube video My Weekend in West Virginia

Cover Those Plants

Now with the weather predicted to change from wet and cool to hot and dry, I needed to cover and protect the propagation bed and the hardwood cuttings.  I added shade cloth to the top of the propagation beds and used wire ties to hold them in place temporarily.  Due to the high winds I get on the farm, I needed more than just wire ties, so I put two sections of four foot fence over the shade cloth to hold the shade cloth down.  It was raining for most of the weekend, so I just did a quick job and it doesn’t look too pretty, but it is functional.  I’ll come back in a few weeks and tidy things up a little.

But Wait, There’s More

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia - Rain Water Catchment

Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Rain Water Harvesting

And the biggest project for the weekend was the large rainwater harvesting system.  This system includes four 300-gallon IBC totes totaling 1200-gallons of water.  And believe it or not, I actually filled them up this weekend into Monday of this week!  We had a nor-Easter roll up the coast of the mid-Atlantic and got over an inch of rain.  Well an inch of rain on an almost 1300 sq. ft. roof, makes for a lot of water.  The picture titled “Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia – Rain Water Harvesting” shows the tanks on Saturday morning half full.  It continued to rain through Monday and filled them the rest of the way up.

I have a plumber coming in two weeks to install a pressure tank and pump for this system and then I will be using it for my intermittent mist system for the propagation beds.  I need instant-on pressure for the mist heads, so just a pump itself will not work for this system.  The other systems I’ll be putting in will be fine with just a pump and no pressure tank.

I will be posting two additional posts and videos on the rainwater catchment system in the future.  One will show how I put this system together and explain all of the parts and pieces.  The other one will go over some of the lessons learned, mistakes, and fixes for those mistakes.

And now the Video

Please check out the YouTube video below that provides a video update of the Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia.

 

Please give us your thoughts on Sustainable Homesteading in West Virginia by commenting below.

Epi041 Great Escape Farms Podcast Perennial Garden at Great Escape Farms, Suburban Homesteading in Maryland, DIY Rainwater Collection System, and Strawberry Tree

Epi041 Great Escape Farms Podcast Perennial Garden at Great Escape Farms, Suburban Homesteading in Maryland, DIY Rainwater Collection System, and Strawberry Tree

This week on episode Epi041 Great Escape Farms Podcast we cover Perennial Garden at Great Escape Farms, Suburban Homesteading in Maryland, DIY Rainwater Collection System, and Strawberry Tree.

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Farms Podcast

Great Escape Podcast is an audio version of the blog posts from Great Escape Farms, Specializing in Unique Edible Plants, Permaculture Gardens, and Homesteading. The blog posts can be viewed at GreatEscapeFarms.com.

If you would like to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes, you can do so by clicking on Great Escape Podcast.

Click on the icon below for other RSS feed options.
Great Escape Farms Podcast

We would love it and it would really help us out if you would go to iTunes or whatever podcast feed you use and rate our program. We are a new small company and the ratings will help us become more popular on the podcast feeds.

We value your feedback and want to hear from you. Tell us what you think about Epi041 Great Escape Farms Podcast Perennial Garden at Great Escape Farms, Suburban Homesteading in Maryland, DIY Rainwater Collection System, and Strawberry Tree.

Strawberry Tree

Strawberry Tree

The strawberry tree, Arbutus unedo, is an ornamental tree or shrub that produces edible fruit and is also a medicinal.  It likes well-drained soil, full sun, and is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 7-10. It is native to western Europe and grows up to 30’ tall.

Strawberry Tree

Strawberry Tree

The leaves are obovate, 4” long, dark green and are evergreen in zone 7 and higher.  I have mine planted in zone 6 and it dies back to the ground each year and then grows from the ground up.  Needless to say, mine has not fruited.

Flower

The strawberry tree flowers in the winter with little white candelabra shaped flowers.  The plant is self-fertile, so you only need to plant one.

Fruit

Strawberry Tree Fruit

Strawberry Tree Fruit

The strawberry tree fruit is a candy apple red drupe ¾ inch in diameter fruit.  Seeds are in the flesh, rather than on the outside.  The fruit takes almost a year to ripen and you usually have last year’s fruit still on the tree while it is flowering in the current year.  The fruit usually ripens in the fall and falls from the tree when fully ripened.

The Latin name ‘unedo’ means ‘I eat one (only)’ implying that the taste is not that great.  I have seen some folks say it taste like figs and others say they taste like plums or hawthorns.  I have not had the pleasure of eating one yet.

Propagation

The Strawberry Tree can be propagated by hardwood cuttings, seeds, and layering.  The hardwood cuttings usually have a low percentage of success.  The seeds should be surface sown in the winter or given six weeks of cold stratification.

Pruning

Because the fruit takes a year to ripen and is still ripening while the blooms for the next year are starting, there is no really good time to prune the strawberry tree.

Edible

The fruit of the strawberry tree can be used to make syrup, glaze, jams, jellies, added to pies and converted into wine and spirits. It is also used to make ice creams, gelatos, granitas, and sorbets.  It can also be eaten right out of hand.

Medicinal

The strawberry tree is little used in herbalism, though it does deserve modern investigation. All parts of the plant contain ethyl gallate, a substance that possesses strong antibiotic activity against the Mycobacterium bacteria. The leaves, bark and root are astringent and diuretic. They are also a renal antiseptic and so are of use in the treatment of affections of the urinary system such as cystitis and urethritis. Their astringent action makes them of use in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery and, like many other astringent plants, a gargle can be made for treating sore and irritated throats. The leaves are gathered in the summer and dried for later use. The flowers are weakly diaphoretic. *

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Recipe

Strawberry Tree Jam

Two pounds of strawberry tree fruit

A pound of sugar

Four ounces orange liquor

Slowly boil the fruit with a little water until soft. Press through a mill then reheat with the sugar and liqueur. Simmer until a drop mounds on a chilled dish.

Option: Add some cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and vanilla for added flavor.

Photo References/Sources:

Recipe Source:www.eattheweeds.com/the-strawberry-tree-curse-2/

Photo1: By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE (Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo)) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo2: Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net). [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Medicinal Source:www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/a/arbutus-unedo=strawberry-tree.php

Please give us your thoughts on Strawberry Tree by commenting below.

DIY Rainwater Collection System

DIY Rainwater Collection System

This past weekend I put together a DIY Rainwater Collection System.  It consists of an IBC tote, modifications to the downspouts and some 3” PVC.  This post will explain all of the steps that were used in putting this system together.  At the bottom of the article, I have links to the products I used in the project.

Want the Quick Version?

This is a very detailed explanation of the project including part numbers and places to buy them.  If you want the quick version just to see what was done, go to the bottom of this post and look at the YouTube video titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System”.

How Much Water Will I get?

To figure out how much water you can catch, do the following calculation:

Square footage of your roof  X  the amount of rain  X 0.623

An example is my roof on my metal garage is 1224  (51 long X 24 wide) square feet.  If we get 3/4 of one inch of rain, the calculation would be:

1224  X  .75 (or 3/4)  X 0.623  = 571.9 Gallons of water from 3/4″ of rain

What about the Down Spouts?

DIY Rainwater Collection System

DIY Rainwater Collection System

The first issue we had is the downspouts were facing the wrong way.  By that I mean they were coming down on the front side of the garage and not the back side where we needed them.  The fix for that was to to remove both gutters and downspouts completely and swap them.  The gutters originally on the left side went on the right and the gutters originally on the right side went on the left.  By making this swap, the downspouts were automatically moved to the back side of the garage.  The picture titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System” shows the downspouts now in the back and the IBC tote in and leveled.

How about that IBC Tote

Where do you get that IBC tote from?  I have found quite a few listed on Craig’s list.  Just make sure they are food grade.  Most of the Craig’s list adds don’t necessarily say food grade, so you will have to ask what was in them and make that determination for yourself.  Many of them just had sugar water or something like that in them.  What you don’t want is an IBC tote that had a bunch of weed killer in it and then go out and water your lawn with water from that tote.  You’ll end up with a garden desert that nothing will grow in.

When getting an IBC tote, note that there are two different types of threads on the IBC tote valves.  Some are fine threaded and are known as NPS female and work well with the 2” PVC threads, which is what I have.  Others have coarse threads and are known as S60X6 and will not work with the threaded PVC pipe.  See the link at the bottom of the article for different adapters.

There are different sizes as well.  I have seen 275, 300, and 330 gallon totes offered on Craig’s list.  It doesn’t really matter as long as you get a size that is good for you.  I like the 300 gallon totes because I can fit 3 of them in my 10’ long trailer when I’m transporting them to the farm.

But the Ground Isn’t Level

We wanted the IBC Tote on the backside of the garage, but the ground wasn’t level.  The solution here was to level the ground and then put some cinder blocks down and place the IBC tote on top of the cinder blocks.   After the ground was level but b­­efore the cinder blocks went down we put down some weed cloth.  Then the blocks were placed where they were going to go.  You want to make sure all four corners of the IBC tote are on something firm, like a cinder block or wood or something that can support the weight.  Then mulch was put on top of the weed cloth and around the cinder blocks.  This will keep weeds from growing under the IBC tote where you can’t mow.

What about the seasons?

DIY Rainwater Collection System Diverter In Full

DIY Rainwater Collection System Diverter In Full

DIY Rainwater Collection System Diverter In Close

DIY Rainwater Collection System Diverter In Close

The next thing I did was put a Downspout Diverter from Aquabarrel in.  The link for the product I used is at the bottom of the article.  The downspout diverter is a “Y” connection on the downspout.  In the summer I will divert the water into the DIY Rainwater Collection System. In the winter it allows me to divert the water to a normal downspout to the ground so the water will not go in the DIY Rainwater Collection System.  I need to do this up north because I go below freezing and need to empty all of the water out of the IBC tote so I don’t rupture the tote and the pipes when I go below freezing.  People in the south that don’t get that cold will not necessarily need one of these.

The Diverter is shown both from a distance and close up in the pictures titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System Diverter In”. If you are going to purchase one of these, note that there are different colors to match your downspout and there are different size downspouts.  The normal size downspouts for residences are 2×3 inch or 3×4 inch.

Keep the Leaves and Crap Out

DIY Rainwater Collection System Leaf Eater

DIY Rainwater Collection System Leaf Eater

Before I forget, you want to keep the water flowing, so you need to keep the pipes from clogging.  In the gutter system itself, we are using a gutter strainer.  It is simply a galvanized mesh that goes into the downspout up in the gutter itself and prevents large leaves and branches from getting into the plumbing.  From the downspout, or downspout diverter if you are using one, plumb/pipe over to our next filter device called a Rain Harvesting Leaf Eater.  This device filters out medium size debris that made it through the gutter strainer.  This device is shown in the picture titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System Leaf Eater”.  The 3″ pipe just open ended dumps into the top of the leaf eater.  Any medium size debris hits the screen mesh on top of the leaf eater and just rolls off of it onto the ground.  The bottom side of the leaf eater hooks up to another 3″ PVC pipe and takes the filtered water to the next step.

The last line of filtering is to filter out the pollen and any other contaminants that come off of the roof when the rain first starts.  I used a system I bought from Amazon called Rain Harvesting Downpipe First Flush Water Diverter Kit.  This is a kit that needs a 3” vertical PVC pipe to go in.  The kit consists of a “T” connection, a ball seat, a sealing ball, a screw cap, a slow release control valve and a bunch of other stuff like brackets.  The vertical PVC pipe has the “T” connection at the top with the ball seat and the screw cap and slow release control valve at the bottom of the vertical PVC pipe.  The sealing ball is free in the PVC pipe between the “T” at the top and the screw cap at the bottom allowing the ball to float in the water as the vertical PVC pipe fills up.

DIY Rainwater Collection System First Flush

DIY Rainwater Collection System First Flush

The parts that are included in the First Flush system is shown in the picture titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System First Flush”.  Not all of these parts are used, but the kit offers lots of options with the parts included.

The majority of pollution, pollen, and other crap will come into the system with the first couple of gallons of rain.  The idea is that the first couple of gallons of rainwater fills a vertical PVC pipe and traps all of the pollutants in the PVC pipe. There is a ball that floats on top of the water in the vertical PVC pipe and seals the pipe off after the vertical PVC pipe fills so the pollutants and “floaties” can’t get into your IBC tote.  Once the PVC pipe is full, any additional water is diverted out the horizontal side of the T connection at the top of the PVC pipe and goes to you IBC tote.

DIY Rainwater Collection System Extra Filter

DIY Rainwater Collection System Extra Filter

The slow release control valve at the bottom of the vertical PVC pipe is what makes the system automatic.  It slowly releases water out a hole that is very small.  It might take an hour or more to fully drain the vertical PVC pipe.  Once the vertical PVC pipe is empty, it will catch the pollutants from the next rainfall.  The bottom of the vertical PVC pipe has a screw cap so you can periodically empty the pollutants out of the pipe.

There is a small filter included with the First Flush system to keep the slow release control valve from clogging, but there is an additional option that can be purchased separately called the Stainless Steal Filter.  This is shown in the picture titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System Extra Filter”.  The other filter is still used, so you end up with two filters in the First flush system if you use this one.  Since the slow release control valve is so important for this system to operate automatically, I will be using the extra filter on all of my systems.

You use a PVC pipe in the vertical section that is long or short based on the size of your roof.  There are calculations and suggestions with the directions in the kit to help you figure out what size PVC to use.

Use What You Got

The completed systems are shown in the pictures below titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System Complete”.

DIY Rainwater Collection System Complete Right Side

DIY Rainwater Collection System Complete Right Side

DIY Rainwater Collection System Complete Left Side

DIY Rainwater Collection System Complete Left Side

Once you have water in your IBC tote, it is time to use it.  You can use gravity feed or use a pump if you need more pressure or are going uphill.  In either case, I put a ¾ in hose connection on the bottom of the system I was working on.  I need a 2” PVC adapter that had a smooth end to glue on one side and threads on the other side.  Then I used a 2” to ¾ inch spigot thread bushing, with the 2” side being smooth and the ¾ inch side being threaded.  Then I used a ¾ inch hose spigot and threaded it into the ¾ inch threaded bushing using plumbers tape.  I glued the bushing to the PVC adapter and then screwed the PVC adapter onto the IBC tote spigot, using plumbers tape.

Now that I have an IBC tote with water and a hose spigot on it, I need to push the water up hill.  In order to do that, we purchased a ½ HP pump from Amazon.  The link for the one I got is below.  There are many different types of pumps and you need to size your appropriately.  Figure out how high (vertical) you need to push it and how much (GPH) you want to push.  I made sure to get one that has standard hose fittings in and out so I can run a ¾ inch garden hose from the IBC tote to the pump and then another garden hose on the other side of the pump.

The Shopping List

IBC Tote: Craig’s List in the Farm+Garden category. (Food Grade)

The web site below seems to have a lot of different types of adapters for IBC totes, including both types of IBC tote valves.

Aquabarrel Downspout Diverter


Below is a YouTube video titled “DIY Rainwater Collection System” that shows the progress of the system described in this post.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for visiting the DIY Rainwater Collection System post.  Please give us your thoughts for DIY Rainwater Collection System by commenting below.

Suburban Homesteading in Maryland

Suburban Homesteading in Maryland

This post and accompanying video provides a look into Suburban Homesteading in Maryland.  In the video I walk around the property and show you the many edible plants that are growing, flowering, and fruiting.

Suburban Homesteading Weigela

Suburban Homesteading Weigela

The video shows blueberries plants and gives a little Blueberry Plant Information.  Hostas and rhododendrons are discussed.  Then I stroll over to the Sweet Scarlet Goumi bush and provide a little Sweet Scarlet Goumi Plant Information.  Next is Nanking Bush Cherry Plant Information followed by Weigela florida Variegata Plant Information, which are now in full bloom.  The picture above titled Suburban Homesteading Weigela shows this beautiful shrub in full bloom.

Not So Unsusuals

Then the walk takes us to the not so unusual plants.  The pear tree, peach tree, and nectarine tree.  We then go to the plum tree and finally the mulberry tree.  The mulberry is an ever-bearing type tree and is loaded with unripe fruit.  I can’t wait until they start to ripen.  I did a post on Mulberry Tree Information in January of 2016.

On to the Hugelkultur Bed

I then headed over to the Hugelkultur Permaculture Garden.  There I go over honey berry plants, goumi plants, high bush and low bush blue berries, and a black currant bush.  I took a video over the fence and showed the square foot garden, the strawberry patch, the grape vines, muscadine vines and the black berry bushes.

The Pool Area is Packed with Unique Edibles

Next I went into the pool area and started videoing.  I have quite a few unique edibles in there.  I started out by the brown turkey fig and then moved to the hardy bananas.  Around the hardy bananas I have several hundred potted plants from last years cuttings that are waiting to be sold on Craig’s List.  I also have a few plants in this area that I had purchased and have not got into the ground yet.

The pool area also has three apple trees, only one of which is fruiting this year.  This area also has a Korean bush cherry, a Rosa rugosa, and red currant.  There are 4 varieties of elderberries, sea berries, viking aronia, heritage raspberry, Ann Golden Raspberry, a sweet cherry tree, and a sour cherry tree.

 

Thanks for visiting the Suburban Homesteading in Maryland post.

Please give us your feedback on Suburban Homesteading in Maryland by commenting below.