Monday, June 17, 2013

Gully Washer!

Today we had what we Texans call a gully washer. LOL! Rainfall was nearly .75 inches in about 2 hours.  Most of it came in about a 45-minute period.  This had me in a panic. You see, I had sown grass seed in my game lawn area. It hasn't sprouted yet, so I worried that the seed would wash away, and it would be $75 literally flushed. God guarded those seed for me, though! They are still there. Some washed away, but many remain.

God also showed me a serious problem in my garden area: storm water runoff pools. The wind blew back a tarp that I had placed to cover the grass to kill it. Had this tarp not blown back, I would not have seen this problem.

Here the tarp is back. Water is standing, not draining.
Rivulet of water runoff coming from the above "pond."

Now I have to figure out how to manage this runoff. It seems God has me on an express track for learning all things gardening. Last summer, I followed His lead every day. I wondered sometimes what in the world He had me doing. I will do the same this summer. So, He has prioritized storm water runoff management. 

I drove past this dry river rock bed today. It was flowing with storm water runoff. I drive past this house every day. I have never noticed this bed before today. Thank you for giving me eyes, God! This is a great idea to base my plan around.

Next I asked on a local homesteading group for ideas on what to do. One person gave me the idea of a rain garden. I had never heard of a rain garden, so I googled it. I found several interesting articles, which I will link to at the end of this post.

I discovered that rain gardens are flower/garden beds that are designed using plants that will tolerate both standing water and drought. They have deep roots in order to survive these conditions. Important information! The area I will need to work with will skirt the perimeter of our septic leach field. I will have to plant the rain garden away from that since I cannot plant deep rooted plants over a leach field. 

The picture above does not seem to utilize a rain garden. It is merely a dry rock bed edged by grass. Ours will need to terminate near the game lawn. So, we will have that "look" also. 

OR! I could terminate it near the chicken coop and make it duck friendly. My daughter would love to get ducks! I need to investigate good rain garden plants that chickens like to eat. May be a good forage area for them as well. I imagine all sorts of insects will like this area.

First is an article on dry stream beds:

Second are articles on rain gardens:  (This is a great how-to booklet.)

Third is an article from Washington on the safety of collecting toxic runoff.

Fourth is the permit requirements for our city building code. Note: no permit required for retaining walls shorter than 4 ft. 


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