|Fig trees with water breaks for slowing down water runoff|
I'm doing a lot of long-term planning for our homestead these days. One of the things I have been thinking about is how to best use the greywater from our washing machine. In the past I have used it to water a little row of boxwoods and a patch of purple heart at the back of the house, as well as the grass (ahem, weeds) in the dog run. We have a small fenced dog run at the back of the house that contains a water barrel, a sage bush, some honeysuckle, and a sad little fig tree under too much oak canopy. I never bothered watering the fig tree too often because I thought it was dying anyway. Then a couple of weeks ago I realized that it had FRUIT on it! There were a couple of ripe figs and a large number of green, unripe ones. So I decided that we could salvage our only fruit tree. I cut back all the thorny vines that were choking it and really cleaned things up in there. The dog run, like the rest of our property, is on a slope so I relocated the greywater drain hose just uphill of the fig tree and have left it there all week. We have poor, rocky soil that has a hard time absorbing water quickly. So today I rummaged around in my materials pile and pulled out a few curved concrete garden border pieces. I placed them just downhill from the fig tree (a single tree that actually has two rooted sections, which makes it look like two trees). I want the little concrete wall to slow the water down so it has time to trickle down deeper and water those fig tree roots well. Afterwards I ran a load of laundry to see how the water would flow and pool. It looks like the little wall, which I think of as a water break, will work fine.
|Washing machine greywater discharging at base of fig tree|
My next plan is to add several more fruit trees to the dog run and water all of them with the greywater. I have never had fruit trees before so this is totally new territory for me. I don't even know what is appropriate for our climate so I need to research that. (Any advice is more than welcome!) It isn't recommended that you water vegetable gardens with greywater (and my vegetable garden is too far away anyway) but fruit trees are a great way to put that valuable waste water to use.