Tag Archives: jan-w briede

An Early Lesson on the Importance of Plants

When I was in my mid-20s, I accepted a job in Nepal, working on a natural resources project. We were going to live in a village without roads, electricity or running water and manage a project that partially involved reforestation. We were to set up tree nurseries, replant forests and distribute some plants to the villagers. Continue reading

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Deep Thoughts about Stormwater Runoff

I sometimes wonder why I am writing about stormwater on a website that deals with planting more plants and what else should I would write about after my previous three posts on rain barrels. Actually, there is such a strong relationship between stormwater and plants that I don't think I'll ever run out of topics. Plants are essential to reducing stormwater runoff. By reducing stormwater runoff, we reduce the chance of flooding, the chance of erosion and the impact on streams, lakes and the Chesapeake Bay. I'll explain this in my next few blog entries. Continue reading

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Perfecting The Rain Barrel, Piece By Piece

This is a continuation of Jan-W.'s rain barrel blog series. To read his other posts, click here.

After constructing my first rain barrel and talking with friends, I came to the conclusion I needed to make a few adaptations. The small spigot was OK, but it took a long time to fill a watering can. In addition, when I started to build rain barrels there was no easy way to connect a spigot to a barrel and making that connection waterproof. Friends of mine had been successful; however, somewhat frustrated by the low water pressure, they eventually connected a soaker hose to the spigot and told me it took five hours for the barrel to empty. This may actually be great if you need to water a vegetable garden, but they ended up emptying their barrel after one time. Continue reading

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Lessons Learned From The Ancient Bedouins

Harvesting rainwater has a very long history. The Bedouins practiced it in ancient Israel as was detailed by Michael Evenari in his book, "The Negev: The Challenge of a Desert." I read that book 35 years ago, and it has been one of my favorites ever since. Evenari describes the various methods the Bedouins used to harvest rainwater for domestic and agricultural use - by digging extensive canal systems on the slopes of hills to bring rainwater runoff to the cisterns that they had dug. In other cases in the Middle East, a channel system was used to divert water onto agriculture fields. The Bedouins are even one of the first people that used mulch to conserve water in their fields. Continue reading

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When It Rains, It Pours (Money into Your Wallet)

In addition to proper planting techniques, watering plants is particularly important in the early stages of establishment. Water for our garden plants is usually supplied by nature through rainstorms or from municipal water sources.

Thirty-five percent of water consumption in a household goes to irrigation and up to 26 percent of our drinking water is flushed down the toilet. Continue reading

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