Monday, January 28, 2013

Water Problems, and what to do about them?

It has turned into quite a hot summer, with days and days of settled, warm, sunny weather.

Great! you think...but, it comes at a cost.

Our new house was built with a lot of "green" issues in mind, and one was to be mindful of water.  We don't have a piped supply, we are reliant on what the council call "one Unit" which is 1800 litres per day, drip fed into our tank.  So when building this new home we put in an extra water tank, partly buried in the ground and all the downpipes from our large roof feed into it.  Therefore when it rains, the water is harvested off the roof and fills our tank.  This tank water can then be used to water the garden, and water the stock out in the paddocks.

However, one big flaw has come to light.  The plastic tank we put in the ground is not suitable for in-ground, and has folded up like a handkerchief.  Now when it does rain (which hasn't been very often) the water just pours off the roof, out of  the pipe into the ground and goes to waste.  We can't afford yet to replace the tank with a concrete one *boo hoo*

Less available water plus hot weather has equalled water problems.  We keep just about running dry.  The 40 head of stock drink so much when it is hot.  So we have had water restrictions in the house...".if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down"....keeping all water that veges are cooked in and letting it cool in a bucket for watering container plants...... 3 minute showers....and I have even started collecting all the water from our washing machine.

The first time I collected the washing machine water I could not believe it!  so much going to waste, something like 50 litres!  So I have learnt to turn our machine off after it has done the "wash" bit, pull all the clothes out and let them languish in the laundry sink, then put the next lot of clothes into the same washing water and do that lot too.  Then I let the water go out, while collecting it in some large flexi plastic tubs I have.  Which I painstakingly take to a bit 40 gallon drum in the garden for watering purposes.  I follow the same process in the rinse cycle.

I really hadn't realised what a lot of water clothes washing takes up and I wish we had come up with a grey water collection system for it.  I am thinking of getting some drums to put outside the laundry window, and letting the hose go out the window!

We are just waiting for an extra unit of water from the council to be set up, at VAST expense I might add...$6500 for a unit! per year

In the meantime I continue to lug buckets of water everywhere!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Perfect Carrot Thinning Weather

We have just returned home from our honeymoon in India!  while we were away it was stonkingly hot, and dry and there were all sorts of water related issues at this house.

But, we must have brought cooler India Winter with us, because it has been mild and not at all stifling.  Then, yesterday, RAIN.  Buckets, bathtubs and oceans of rain poured out of the sky and all over our grass, lawn, vege garden and animals.  In fact, there was no dearth of water, it was swimmingly soggy everywhere.  Perfect for carrot thinning...I thought today when the sun came out.  The soil was warm, damp and the seedlings came out easily.

Carrots don't like being moved.  As you eat the root, it has to be sown into rows where it will mature.  So the usual method is to sprinkle the seed in straight drills.  When the  carrots have reached a decent height you thin them out.  I usually try to aim for about 1 carrot per inch or so.  Then later in the year I will thin again if necessary, though in the meantime I do start thinning carrots for putting in the pot.

Thinning is a painstakingly slow task, but very necessary.  If you don't thin, the carrots won't have enough room in the soil each to make a good sized root.

Here's what I thinned out today, and we will eat them quickly heated in butter for tea.  My sister calls these "micro vegetables", but I just think they are baby carrots!