go! Platteland - - NO-WATER GARDENS -

Rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing can pro­vide a sur­pris­ing amount of daily wa­ter, and even one or two 5 000ℓ rain­wa­ter tanks al­low you to do spot-wa­ter­ing through­out the dry sea­son. An av­er­age 200m2 house in an area with an an­nual rain­fall of 500mm can gen­er­ate 100 000ℓ of roof runoff, and even in a more sea­sonal area a use­ful amount of wa­ter can be cap­tured in tanks.

Make sure the over­flow is also re­plen­ish­ing soil wa­ter in a place that is use­ful – maybe where you want to es­tab­lish a wind­break or screen, un­der a large tree, or even in a veg­etable gar­den. A por­ta­ble over­flow pipe al­lows you to top up soil wa­ter where it makes sense. In dry areas, this can ex­tend the ac­tive grow­ing sea­son by a month.

Make all your house­hold wa­ter work at least twice. Soaps and de­ter­gents, how­ever, are hard on most plants and will even­tu­ally cause the soil to be­come ex­tremely loaded with al­ka­line salts, lock­ing away all plant nu­tri­ents. The ef­fect de­pends on the soil type, so watch plant health and move grey-wa­ter out­lets around if you need to. Milk­wood trees grow well through­out most of South Africa and seem to be ex­cep­tion­ally tol­er­ant of grey wa­ter.

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