Garden Beds & Graywater


Lucky Penny & Planter It was gorgeous on Saturday and rainy all day Sunday, which worked out perfectly for my weekend projects. On Saturday Karin, Isha, and I picked up a yard of white lightning compost and soil mix from Dean Innovations and a couple big blocks of coconut coir from Portland Nursery to fill up our raised garden beds at Simply Home Community. Karin also snagged a few fragile little pea plants, too, so it was quite an adventure getting all this garden goodness back home in Karin's lil red truck!

Karin and Isha filled up their garden beds with this rich, black soil mix then helped me fill up my two raised garden beds as well as my raised planter. My raised planter is a shipping crate that Isha and I found on the side of the road when we were on a run a few weeks ago.

I had been envisioning a raised bed like this next to The Lucky Penny because it seemed the perfect way to create an elegant solution to address multiple issues (hello, permaculture!)

  • The planter will be pretty with plants growing in it.
  • Tall plants like sunflowers may grow tall enough help to provide a little summertime shade at my kitchen window from the hot western sunsets.
  • The planter helps create a wind-block to prevent chilly air from blowing under my house.
  • It hides the otherwise unsightly storage under my house, and
  • It is now part of my graywater system!

my new graywater dispersal system

On Saturday I connected my kitchen sink and shower drains to ABS pipe that flows towards the raised bed then drilled two holes through the planter and used spare plumbing parts to disperse the water inside the planter. I then lined the planter with cardboard and tested the water flow to make sure it would distribute well. Then we filled the planter up with coconut coir (which is relatively light and friable as well as being good at holding moisture) and the white lighting soil mix.

This spring I'll be planting food and flowers in the planter box. I'd love to do carrots because it's nice and deep, but I understand it's better to not do root veggies in a graywater system. After living in my Home, Sweet Yurt with no running water, I've figured out how to be meticulous about graywater. I learned to wipe out my dishes with an unbleached paper towel and pop that into the compost and THEN wash my dishes with a biodegradable soap. At Simply Home Community our Community Living Agreements provide a very short list of approved biodegradable cleaning products and soaps. (Please note, too, that I DO NOT have any blackwater in my water system!)

Planter Box & Graywater

So I plan to do sunflowers because they are beautiful and get tall enough that I may be able to enjoy them even from inside! I'll also probably do tomatoes here because they send down deep roots and prefer being watered low (they HATE having their leaves wet!) And it seems I'll be doing peas, too. Yesterday when it rained the water dripped right off my metal roof into the planter in a nice little line so that's where I planted the pea seeds I'd been inoculating. I know it's a little late to be starting peas, but I hope that the ability to drink up spring rain gives them a boost! Perhaps they'll be able to climb the sunflowers, too...

I also did a few tiny house remodeling projects involving my kitchen counters and my mini-fridge because everything seemed to be coming together time-wise. You can read more about that in an upcoming post this week. Stay tuned! Until then, enjoy this spring rain!