when it rains in texas, it rains BIG.  april showers finally decided to descend upon central texas yesterday.  it rained from about 8am until 5pm, the first 15 minutes of which filled the rubbermaid tubs we have sitting under the eaves of the back roof.

impromptu rainwater harvesting system
impromptu rainwater harvesting system

looks like we’ll eventually have to install gutters (no, they don’t come standard on the houses around here) and a proper rainwater harvesting system.  this could be a good investment, not only for the savings on the plant watering bill and water resources overall, but because the city water is quite saline – not particularly pleasant if you’re a thirsty plant.  by watering with collected rain, accumulated salts can be leached from the soil profile, making for happier plant roots.

and then there’s the high alkaline clay soils.  you can see from the image below just how clay and water like to interact with each other:

see how slow the infiltration rate is here?
see how slow the infiltration rate is here?

it takes a long time for water to make its way through a clay soil profile, causing the majority of it to sit on the surface.  this ponding effect is magnified in our backyard due to the lack of adequate grading – water moves downhill, and our backyard is lower in elevation than street level, where the storm drains are located.  convenient, eh?  we’ve already installed perforated drains under the vegetable beds to provide an additional (temporary) water storage area, but are now looking into some kind of pump system to move it up toward the front yard and off the property at street level. since almost 2/3 of the back yard was completely submerged during yesterday’s storm, i guess i’d better get my grading books out… or my collection of tea cups for bailing purposes (and i’m not talking taxes here)…


11 thoughts on “soaked

    • well well well… glad to hear you’re FINALLY getting some nice weather! but looks like you may need an umbrella in the next day or so as this crazy storm system moves north…! looking forward to seeing some A2 gardens this summer…

  1. No gutters? I never thought of such a thing. I have oversized gutters and French drains that carry water down to the creek that runs behind my house. I feel badly for you.

    We do have that clay soil and I’ve spent a fortune amending it.

    • crazy, i know. but supposedly the water that drips from the roof (sans gutter) is helpful in keeping the concrete foundation from cracking, and that’s a good thing. but i bed deeply rooted beds would provide a similar, if not more aesthetically pleasing, benefit…?! the things we garden girls do…

  2. I use 5 gallon buckets. We used to have a gutter on our shed, but we had to have the walls rebuilt, and gutters were not put back on. I’m hoping to get a rain barrel and a gutter put on our garage this year. I like your efforts there!

    • thanks sue! i need to get rain barrels too – if only to keep the mosquitoes out of the open buckets we’re using now.

    • that’s just it – it only looks that way when it rains like it did the other day. even with gutters i’ll have to figure out a way to store or redirect the water. add another project to the list…!

  3. Um, I’ve never seen sustained heavy rain like I have in central TX. At least up here it spreads itself out. At least you caught some of it! Have you seen Susan at the Bicycle Garden blog’s water collection system? She used nice stock tanks where they’d be visible–holds a lotta watta. Nice looking growth in your raised bed btw 🙂 Our sweet peas JUST sprouted on Sunday. Planted them 3/29. Yes, it’s been chilly.

    • hey there – no, i haven’t seen the bicycle garden blogger’s rainwater harvesting setup, but i like what i see + read on her blog so far… will definitely check it out. btw, i nibbled on the first sweet pea today… so good, who needs candy when you can snack on those all day…

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