Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Free Water

Rain is, of course, the best water source. But unfortunately it is rarely reliable.  In past postings I've talked about the minor problems caused by chlorinated city water. Chlorine kills bacteria; a good thing for your drinking water but not so good for your soil. Healthy soil is teeming with micro-organisms. Some people use rain barrels to collect runoff from their roofs but unbelievably that is illegal in some locations. Years ago when I lived in Arizona I saw an alternate method, collecting water generated by the condenser coils of their air conditioner. So I thought I would give it a try at my quarters on Fort Meade.

The air conditioning unit is outside, like usual, and the heat exchanger is in a utility room. The cold coils, that cool the air, also cause moisture in the air to condense, just like on a glass full of ice. There is a collection tray under the cooling coils to collect the water droplets, otherwise you would have a wet floor. The collected water then runs outside or down a drain. In my case, the water runs outside. I placed a three gallon jug under the outlet and believe it or not I can fill it twice a day, that is how humid the air is in Maryland.

This water is pure, with no chemicals at all. It gives me more than enough water for my container garden. 

I will say that my container garden has been disappointing. The pepper plant did very well and I got some nice peppers. The tomato plants never seemed to get pollinated and I only got one fruit. The green beans were doing fine and I got two meals from them. But then a groundhog got into my yard, which is fenced, and greatly damaged all my plants. It ate all the fruits and beans and almost all of the leaves. So my growing season was cut short. But it gave me something to do for most of the summer.

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