SEEDS is at it again with giving back to the community.
This time SEEDS (South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces, Inc.) chose a unique route with rainwater. Previous garden manager Bekah Resnick came up with a plan to recycle rainwater about five years ago.
The current barrels sit in the front of the lot next to the SEEDS entrance at 706 Gilbert St. The barrels have flowers and trees painted on them to go with the theme of the garden.
The original project plan included large barrels that would hold up to 3,000 gallons of water. Hilary Nichols, the current garden manager, says she plans to expand the project further.
“The idea is to save city water,” says Nichols, explaining that saving city water helps avoid droughts in the summer and preserves city water for more important uses like cooking and drinking. The rainwater is also healthier for the plants.
The barrels collect rainwater from the roof, which is then dispersed through a hose into SEEDS garden. When walking through the garden, you can see all the black hoses running throughout the garden. These water hoses are labeled for which part of the garden they will be used for.
Not only is the rain water used for the plants, but it’s also used to refill the new pond. Nichols says she hopes that the rainwater will help keep the pond full and provide a home to the fish — yet another resource used to provide learning for the students and their own home-grown meals.
Nichols’ expansion will include barrels that can hold up to 15,000 gallons of rainwater at a time. Nichols also wants to start a new irrigation system. This allows the water to be dispersed by sprinklers. She would like to have the irrigation system up and running within a year.
“Even regular homeowners can have tanks attached to their roof to make a huge difference,” Nichols explains.
The new expansion is in the making right now. The only obstacle Nichols is faced with is having the city approval to pave where the new tanks will go. Right now these large barrels sit to the back of the SEEDS garden next to the chicken coop until SEEDS receives approval.
The original project was funded by a grant from the Community Conservation Assistance Program awarded to SEEDS by Durham County. This grant was given to them because they planned to use the water barrels for at least 10 years.
Even though SEEDS was given a grant, they could also us volunteers and more donations on the expansion of the project, Nichols says.
To volunteer, you can sign up at http://www.seedsnc.org/volunteer-service-learning/. If you’ll like to donate to seeds projects or events you can go to this link http://www.seedsnc.org/donate/.
For homeowner information about adding your own rainwater barrel, you can stop by SEEDS in person.
With the help and donations, SEEDS will be able to finish this project faster — and hopefully have the extensions completed according to their timetable.