I took something called the Radical Urban Sustainability Training here in Albany a few months back. It focused on working within the urban landscape (hence the title) and taught methods and tricks for growing food, remediating toxic soil, catching rain water and cleaning grey water, a whole bunch of great stuff. I’m going to do a few entries highlighting some of my favorite things that I hope to implement when I get off campus.

Today:
Rainwater catch system.
Why? It is best to water plants with rain water as opposed to public water. Clorine and flouride make plants very unhappy.
Where? In any environment there are access points to run-off. Examples include your apartment building in a urban setting or your own gutters at your house. If you live in a college setting, simply put a bucket in a place that can retrieve water when it rains.
How?
There are a few basic materials needed, but ALL can be collected from found materials or used materials collectives. I’ve posted here on those before.
You need:
~some gutters
~some clean barrels (such as the blue plastic barrels used for corn and grain at feed stores)
~some very fine grate, such as screen from a window to keep sticks, leaves and other debris out of your water barrel

Or you can build your own water collection out of cob (definition: a mixture of hay, sand and clay that is stronger than concrete and totally easy to mix yourself.)

Here’s a great website too with lots of information, called Rain Barrel Guide

* Disclaimer: While rain water is significantly more healthy for you than tap water (even in urban areas) it is best to boil water that runs off your roof. Why? Because there can be debris, bird poop, chemicals from the shingles and tar, and bacteria or organisms that multiply on your roof or in your storage bin.
Water your plants? No problem. Water to drink? Boil it!

* Do not use barrels that previously contained chemicals. It completely defeats the purpose. Look for FOOD GRADE BARREL labels

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