Raindrop makes rainwater harvesting at home beautiful and easy

September 19, 2017 by  
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Traditional rain barrels are often clunky eyesores, which is why Studio Bas van der Veer designed a beautiful modern alternative that we love. Meet Raindrop, a stylish drop-shaped rain barrel with a built-in watering can. The award-winning design was recently unveiled during the three-day spoga+gafa 2017 fair in Cologne and will be ready for sale by 2018. Eight years ago, Van der Veer introduced his stylish drop-shaped design as ‘A Drop of Water’ as part of his thesis for the Design Academy Eindhoven . Several iterations and awards later, Raindrop was created. This sleek and polished design complements a wide variety of homes and comes in a variety of sizes and functionalities. His current collection includes the Raindrop Mini, a smaller rain barrel for limited spaces like balconies, as well as the larger Pure Rain model that even includes a birdbath. Raindrop is expected to be available for sale early next year and will be produced by pottery label Elho . Related: 3 ways to capture water for your backyard garden (that won’t break the bank) Since Van der Veer traded size for style, Raindrop won’t hold as much as a traditional rain barrel of the same height. The modern drop shape is “a symbolical reference to what the design contains: water ,” says Van der Veer. The Raindrop models can be easily attached to drainpipes with diameters up to 50 to 80 millimeters. A convenient watering can integrated into the design collects water directly from the pipe. There is also a faucet at the bottom of the barrel. + Studio Bas van der Veer Via ArchDaily

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Raindrop makes rainwater harvesting at home beautiful and easy

3 ways to capture water for your backyard garden (that wont break the bank)

September 14, 2017 by  
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One major issue a lot of backyard farmers have to contend with is water . All plants need water in order to thrive, and that generally means people have to hose down their gardens twice a day to ensure a healthy, generous harvest. With droughts and water shortages becoming more frequent, we need to be innovative when it comes to harvesting and using this precious resource: read on to find out how you can capture water around your own home, for startlingly less cost than you might have guessed. Trashcan Barrels For about $20, you can make a rainwater collection barrel from a simple trash can. What you’ll need and how to make it: A 20-gallon plastic garbage can—make sure to get one with a domed lid Mosquito netting A drill with a small hole saw bit 1 valve spigot that has a bulkhead fitting Waterproof duct tape or plumbing tape Teflon tape to secure the spigot Step 1 : Use your drill to create several drainage holes in the center of the garbage can’s lid. Then drill an overflow hole into the side of the barrel, about 3 inches down from the top. Step 2 : Cut a piece of mosquito netting large enough to cover those holes, and use the duct or plumber’s tape to secure it on the convex side. You’ll be tipping the lid upside-down to create a bowl, so you want the netting facing downwards, into the barrel. Step 3 : Drill a hole about 3 inches from the barrel’s bottom, get your bulkhead into place, and then insert the spigot. It’s a good idea to use the teflon tape around the spigot first to make sure it’s watertight, and then twist it firmly into place to secure it. Step 4 : Secure that upside-down lid onto the barrel, and seal with duct tape. You’ll need to prop your barrel a foot or two above the ground, so stack up some cement masonry blocks or random bricks as a stand for it. Voila! It’ll catch rainwater when it falls, and the netting will prevent leaf detritus from falling into the water below. Related: Bowl-shaped roofs harvest rainwater and promote natural cooling in arid environments Earth Mounds Got a shovel? Then you can make these. Basically, this technique just involves moving soil around in your yard to create channels that direct rainwater to where you want it to collect. Pretty much every bit of land has naturally occurring microclimates : these are areas that are either higher or lower than the rest of the soil around them, or get more light (or more shade), or have different clay/sand/loam ratios. You can determine where the wetter microclimates in your own land are by doing a quick, heavy watering with your garden hose, and watching where the water runs. You can use your shovel to dig shallow trenches to divert water to where you want it to go, and use the soil you’ve removed to build up shallow walls on either side of that trench for reinforcement. You’re essentially creating mini streams that will flow towards the plants that require the most moisture, and away from those that prefer drier feet. Ideal areas that will benefit from this kind of diversion system are: Trees, especially those that produce fruit or nuts, as they require a lot of water Brassica beds: dedicated areas where you’ll grow kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and so on Lettuce beds: those greens are thirsty Corn rows: its shallow roots don’t hold water well, so it needs to drink often Legume patches: peas, snow peas, beans Related: DIY hugelkultur – how to build raised garden beds Mulch Say it out loud, just for fun: “mmmulch”. Satisfying little word, isn’t it? It’s also a tremendously effective way to collect (and keep) moisture in your garden. A lot of people end up watering their food gardens far more often than should be necessary because so much moisture is lost through evaporation, so the best way to combat that is with mulch . Grass clippings, trimmed leaves from plants like squash and comfrey, and bits of bark can all be lain atop your garden’s soil—just make sure to keep it about half an inch away from vegetable stems so that it doesn’t cause root rot. Here’s a tip: lay strips of copper coil around these mulchy mounds to keep slugs away, since they won’t cross the metal barrier. Those slugs may love moist mulch, but the copper will keep them away from your vegetables. As an aside, don’t be too overzealous with your weeding: those inedible plants may be “unsightly” as far as a traditional garden goes, but they help to keep water in the soil and prevent erosion. Additionally, if you let your chickens roam around freely, they can feed on those weeds instead of on your vegetables. Unless the unwanted plants are causing real harm, let them be. Photos via Pixabay, Unsplash and Wikimedia Creative Commons

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3 ways to capture water for your backyard garden (that wont break the bank)

Scientists discover five new species of the beautiful Peacock spider

September 14, 2017 by  
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Even those who despise arachnids can’t help but admire the gorgeous peacock spider . And now there are even more of them to admire. Researchers from Australia have just announced the discovery of four new species and one subspecies, bringing the total number of peacock spider varieties to 65. Dr. Jurgen Otto in Western Australia has been studying peacock spiders for about a decade. Reportedly, four of the species are completely new to science and one is believed to a be a sub-species. “Each new species is a complete surprise — the patterns and colours of each species are so different and so unpredictable, you never know what the next one and its display and courtship dance will look like,” Otto told ABC News . Otto and Hill named 39 of the species and sub-species that have been discovered. Reportedly, the latest species were found in Western Australia , but the peacock spiders are more native to the southern part of the continent. Related: First spider-silk garment to hit the market is this necktie from Bolt Threads To help people easily identify the spiders, Otto has shared incredibly detailed photographs on his YouTube channel . “In most peacock spider species — and the new ones are no exception — the males are strikingly coloured, and the patterns and colours are very distinctive, making it easy to distinguish one from another,” said Otto. “Cristatus has a pattern on its back that resembles the Union Jack and in addition has eight plumes of white setae (hairs) at its back that no other peacock spider has.” “Electricus stands out by its striking pattern of parallel red lines that make it look like a circuit board, and trigonus can be easily recognised by the white crown at the tip of its abdomen that is not present in any known species ,” Otto added. “One could think that the novelty of this would all have worn off by now, but people still get excited when they see them.” These findings were published in the journal Peckhamia . + Peckhamia Via ABC News Images via Dr. Jurgen Otto

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Scientists discover five new species of the beautiful Peacock spider

Make an Upcycled Rain Barrel

July 9, 2013 by  
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If you have a fair amount of plants in your yard that need to be watered, using a rain barrel to collect rainwater can be a great way to save both water and money. A rain barrel system allows you …

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Make an Upcycled Rain Barrel

Feel-Good Fashion: Fair Trade Accessories with Stories Worth Sharing

July 9, 2013 by  
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Hearts, an online retailer of jewelry, bags and other accessories, offers products that are not only sustainable, but also have a story. Hearts sells products that support people and the environment, so you can feel good knowing your style…

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Feel-Good Fashion: Fair Trade Accessories with Stories Worth Sharing

California Bill Brings Rainwater to Your Toilet

February 18, 2011 by  
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Photo by Ladycliff via Flickr Creative Commons While rainwater collection is a contentious issue in some areas, California is looking to make it a little easier to use your rain barrels as a water source. This week, AB 275, the Rainwater Capture Act of 2011 was introduced into the California State Assembly, a bill that would allow la… Read the full story on TreeHugger

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California Bill Brings Rainwater to Your Toilet

Rain Barrel Art Raises Water Awareness in Chicago

August 23, 2010 by  
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A collection of artfully-decorated rain barrels landed at the Chicago Center for Green Technology after traveling to different eco events around the city last year. Named Recycle the Raindrops , the exhibit aims to raise awareness about how collecting rain water can relieve stress on water treatment facilities, reduce water consumption, and help to control flooding.

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Rain Barrel Art Raises Water Awareness in Chicago

Smart Thinking for Summer – Homemade Automatic Rain Barrel Watering System

March 29, 2010 by  
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Photo via Hack A Day Spring rains are still flowing and hopefully you’re able to catch plenty in rain barrels for later in the summer when there isn’t a cloud in the sky. The only thing that makes a rain barrel storage system cooler is when it’s set up to water your yard for you automatically.

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Smart Thinking for Summer – Homemade Automatic Rain Barrel Watering System

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