DIY Home + Garden Can you irrigate your garden with diaper water?

Published on July 15th, 2014 | by Julie Finn

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Can You Irrigate Your Garden with Diaper Water? Greywater Resources

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Can you irrigate your garden with diaper water?

We over-use clean water.

We take purified water that’s been sent to and from a water treatment plant and use it to flush our toilets, to water our gardens, to wash our cars. We send water that’s perfectly able to flush toilets and irrigate landscaping out the bottom end of our sinks and washing machines and out to that same water treatment plant, only to have it treated and sent back to us so that we can flush toilets and irrigate landscaping with it, paying and paying and paying for the privilege to waste clean water the whole time.

But what if we didn’t do that? What if we diverted our greywater out of our sinks and washing machines, away from the sewer system and into our gardens? Would you eat persimmons from a tree that has been irrigated with greywater from the washing machine where you wash poopy cloth diapers? Would you sunbathe on a lawn that’s been irrigated with the water that you used to wash your hands?

Greywater gardening, and humanure composting, are regaining the popularity they once had before modern plumbing, and as more experts and average citizens write about their experiences and offer tutorials, they’re becoming ever more viable ways of maintaining our water resources, saving money, and gardening more efficiently.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of using greywater, check out this short list of resources:

laundry to landscapeHere’s a system that will divert washing machine greywater (including all that poopy diaper fertilizer!) into an underground irrigation web that can support trees and other permanent landscaping.

simple laundry greywater systemThis method collects laundry greywater in a barrel, so that you can use it where you’d like.

using greywaterIt can be as basic as keeping a bucket in the tub while you’re showering. Read through these do’s and don’ts to see if greywater would be a good fit for your gardening needs.

The Wastewater GardenerThis book, by one of the scientists who lived in Biosphere 2, is a comprehensive introduction to gardening with human waste and greywater.

As for me, I’m *really* tempted to add a greywater bypass for the washing machine to my DIY to-do list…

[diaper change image via Shutterstock]

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.



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