Blanco County News
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Rainwater Harvesting
Why is it called Harvesting?
Texas Master Gardener, Blanco County
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 • Posted August 18, 2009

I always thought it was called Rainwater Collection. There are many people who collect rain and use it in their homes and or for garden irrigation. So what is this harvesting all about?

The definition of collection is an accumulation of gathering together in a mass or pile and harvesting is to gather in a crop for use. Therefore, the rainwater is similar to a crop. OK, so maybe we do not freeze it, can it, keep it in a dark cellar, or granary but it is used to sustain life; therefore, it is both collected and harvested.

Rainwater Harvesting becomes most useful to those who want to have the best water for themselves, their property, and wildlife. Collecting it can become very addictive. Just ask anyone after a big rain and they will tell you “When I see water from my overflow just spilling out, I wish I had another tank to catch it”.

In keeping with the rainwater use, my attention has turned to Raingardens. This is the easiest way to harvest rainwater. A Raingarden can be utilized without the storage tanks, piping, pumps, etc., that are necessary for storage and then distribution to home and / or gardens.

We have all watched heavy downpours create a lot of water runoff. This is an ideal situation for creating a Raingarden. A Raingarden is a created depression in the path of runoff to collect and temporally store water so it can be slowly returned to the earth. It should be planted with native grasses and flowers. This aids in the effort for the water to be slowed down and returned to earth and be aesthetically pleasing. To clarify any confusion, a Raingarden is not a pond.

A series of small Raingardens (300sq.ft to 500 sq.ft.) can be cascaded to accommodate all the runoff. Doing this would make them easier to install, reduce maintenance, and pleasant for observation. They serve as a wonderful habitat for birds, bees, butterflies, and insects and those who watch them. Creating a Raingarden does consist of some planning and work.

If you are interested in creating your own Raingarden, to solve a runoff problem and create a habitat for wildlife (including yourself), please contact the AgriLife Book Store at toll free number 888-900-2577 and ask for the publication # L-5482. If you are computer-savvy and wish to look on-line, go to http://agrilifebookstore.org/. Any publications you find starting with the letter E are free downloads. For more plant and Rainwater Harvesting information, call the Blanco County AgriLife extension office at 830-868-7167.

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