Whether you’re looking to live a bit more earth-friendly or are just looking for ways to cut your water bill, setting up a graywater system to water your garden helps keep both your plants and your wallet full of green – it’s urban homesteading at its finest! Although a mass of pipes can make creating an in-home graywater system seem difficult, it just takes knowing the basics.
The size of your garden will mandate how much graywater you must “collect” each week to water it, and can determine how large of a graywater system you’ll want to create. According to the University of Massachusetts, a garden that spans approximately 500 square feet should need about 250 gallons of graywater every week. The size of your garden plot will determine how many urban springs (i.e. faucets and drains) you’ll want to connect to your garden.
Graywater can come from a variety of sources; it is generally considered all non-toilet-related household water. From bathtubs to dishwashers to laundry machines, largely all water sources are up for grabs when it comes to graywater! However, some food particles are not as garden-friendly as, say, eggshells or veggie rinds (read: red meat bits), and greasy hair from the bathtub, especially if it has been chemically-treated, is often a no-go. If you’re lucky enough to only have to use some of your graywater, start with the bathroom sink and the washing machine.
What can the water be “grayed” with?
There are a number of great biodegradable soaps and detergents on the market today, so why not treat your skin better and give your garden a healthier drink in the process? It’s a total win-win!
A few things to look out for when picking soaps are sodium salts, which, when in large concentrations can actively “salt” the land, as well as bleach and boron, which are particularly hard for plants to swallow.