Wednesday, May 27, 2015

My Greywater Oasis: Two Years Later


Check out that lush spectacle.

Back in January of 2013, I launched an experiment in which I ran the drain from my kitchen sink out into a bed of mulch planted with bananas, malanga and papyrus. It's along my south wall at the end of my impossibly tropical Miami Garden.

It looked like this two years ago:


That image is from this update I posted almost exactly two years ago.

The bananas are incredible now. Last year they bore us six hands of bananas - and I expect at least that many this year.

The book that inspired me was this one:



Definitely worth buying if you'd like to reuse some of the water in your house rather than letting it go to waste (If you buy a copy, use one of my links and I'll make a buck or two).

I do have to make sure we don't dump anything too crazy down the kitchen sink, like salty pickle brine or heavy water from the reactor; but, that small limitation aside, pretty much everything else including bits of food scraps and a limited amount of dish soap seems to have no ill effect on the trees.

In fact, they're flying. I mean, look again!


We've got two hands of bananas forming right now - here's one of them:


They're Orinoco bananas, a cold-hardier type with fruit that functions excellently as a cooked plantain and decently as a fresh eating banana when fully ripe.

Last week I set up a little cast iron table and two chairs out there on the patio I built from reclaimed bricks. My wife and I have lately been enjoying our breakfast beneath the towering bananas.

Food and beauty from a sink drain... who would have thought it?

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6 Comments:

At May 27, 2015 at 9:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did those bananas die back from the hard freezes you had this winter? If not, do you think they could handle zone 8 in Texas with a similar south facing wall planting?

 
At May 27, 2015 at 9:57 PM , Anonymous David The Good said...

It killed some of the leaves but they recovered. The trick is NOT to chop them back in the spring - just let them regrow out of the trunks. They count a certain number of leaves, then they fruit. Pruning the trunks back resets them.

I would try Raja Puri bananas in your area. Very fast producer and more cold hardy than most. I'm sure you could get some fruit, particularly by a south wall. Tuck 'em in tight and give them lots of water and nitrogen.

 
At May 28, 2015 at 3:42 PM , Anonymous Andi | Greenbasket.me said...

How did you reroute your sink? Did you cut a hole in the wall? I'm in a block house with a shallow crawlspace underneath. The house doesn't belong to us so we can't go cutting holes in the walls but I would *love* to find a way to channel the graywater from our washing machine out to the garden.

 
At May 29, 2015 at 11:29 AM , Anonymous Sunshine said...

Neat! I've been considering lately if there might be a not-too-expensive way to reclaim some of our grey water, which would also ease up on our septic system a bit.

 
At May 29, 2015 at 11:45 AM , Blogger David The Good from FloridaSurvivalGardening.com said...

Cut right through the wall and ran a PVC pipe out. A raised foundation home would be much easier to do. My place has a slab, unfortunately, so almost all of the greywater is totally inaccessible... which kills me. Stupid construction.

 
At May 29, 2015 at 11:45 AM , Blogger David The Good from FloridaSurvivalGardening.com said...

Yes. It's very, very easy to use, particularly if you have sandy soil and some bananas. ;)

 

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