Archive for July, 2012

Rainwater Collection in the News

A man in Oregon found out what his city and state would do to him if he collected rain and snow melt run-off on three ponds on his property:

A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.

“The government is bullying,” Harrington told in an interview Thursday.

“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies. So, we as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said.

Harrington said he applied for three permits to legally house reservoirs for storm and snow water runoff on his property. One of the “reservoirs” had been on his property for 37 years, he said.

Though the state Water Resources Department initially approved his permits in 2003, the state – and a state court — ultimately reversed the decision.

Mistake number 1)Applying for a permit: A permit is permission to do something that would otherwise be illegal, a tort, or a tresspass. By applying for a permit, you are agreeing to the government conditions

Mistake number 2) Believing the state government would keep its approval valid. They want power over people and more importantly, over the available resources.

Recommendation to Mr. Harrington: Change the dam into a giant swale structure with the excess water following the normal path of water off of his property. He will not hold the water in a reservoir, he will hold it in the ground. There will be no visible water on his property after a rain.


Five Reasons to have a Pond in your Garden

Ponds are an incredible addition to any garden. They don’t just add beauty, but they add incredible life to your garden.


1. Attracts wildlife

Ponds attract a huge amound of wildlife that would otherwise not be in the garden. Birds, Frogs/Toads, Dragonflies, Raccoons, Possums, Deer (if they have access), Crawfish, and many others. The life that is in a pond will attract many others. Herons will see the water from miles away and come visit to appreciate (and eat) your fish.

2. Controls mosquitos

Yes, Ponds can reduce mosquitos in your garden. Any pond that you add to the garden should have fish. Some people just put in little “Mosquito Fish” which look like little Minnows. Other load up their ponds with beautiful Koi. One thing they all have in common is they love Mosquito larva. Your pond will actually reduce mosquitos!

3. Attracts birds

Birds are naturally attracted to water. When you add a pond to your garden, birds will seek out the water to drink and take a bath. Another great benefit is that the birds love to eat bugs.

 4. Pond Beauty

Ponds bring visual, auditory, and tactile experiences. A pond can add serenity to any garden landscape. You will want to spend more time in your garden just to enjoy the sound of moving water and to watch the fish glide effortlessly through the water.

5. A pond is a micro-climate

Ponds have many functions including to create an area where the climate can be quite different than elsewhere in your garden. You can plant different types of plants near the water which will enjoy additional sun due to the reflection from the water. The water acts also to stabilize temperature and, depending on the size of the pond, can help protect some of your plants from frost. The increase in humidity near a pond will also provide benefits to some of your plants close to the pond.

Ponds contribute what is called a stacking function. This means that a pond feature contributes more than one thing. This is also called an element with multiple functions. This means that a pond multiplies your benefits.

I have built many ponds and I would encourage you to start small and to build the beauty and variety in your garden!


Gardening in the News

There is lots of gardening news this week. Here are some of the more interesting stories:

Gardening in Church: Churches are introducing gardening all around the country and the world. In Virginia, this church started gardening for fellowship, teaching, and for learning life skils.

“I’d like to see churches all over the place do a little something with gardening,” said Anthony G. Hankins, an education support specialist at the cooperative extension’s Virginia State University office. “There’s great fellowship in gardening. There’s time to laugh and have fun and enjoy the food.”

I recently also saw pictures of a raised bed garden at a Dripping Springs church.

 – Heat Wave – Big parts of the USA are under a heat wave. Most people know about the cold zones across the US. Did you know there is a heat zone map as well. Days over 86 degrees are counted across different zone. Lesser known is the American Horticultural Society’s heat zone map, which delineates zones based on the annual number of “heat days,” those above 86 degrees.

 – Free class coming up in Austin on Rainwater Harvesting. I am crazy about rain water harvesting. Free water, fresh, natural, and ready for your thirsty garden. Come learn how!

Rainwater Harvesting in a Thirsty World
Saturday, August 11, 2012, 10am-12pm
Zilker Botanical Garden

Turn water scarcity into water abundance! New filtration and treatment technologies make rainwater harvesting relatively easy. Rainwater harvesting systems can be installed in existing buildings or incorporated into new construction. Master Gardener Ed Parken will discuss how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home and landscape.

 – Healing in the garden – Trouble teens are finding rest and peace in a garden in Missouri!