Last summer Bret hauled a lot of recycled water. His front yard was lush and green while his neighbors’ yards were brown. Given the mandatory water rationing California experienced due to drought, he had to find new ways to water his vegetable garden. If recycled water made his grass really green, what would it do to tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, sunflowers, kale, or romaine lettuce?
“I was nervous at first, but decided to use recycled water anyway due to the city watering rations. I read about other places that used it on crops so I figured I would give it a shot,” said Bret G., recycled water hauler and friend of the blog.
“We didn’t notice any difference in taste. Everything we ate tasted way better than vegetables we bought at the store and I would say they were the same, if not better, than produce we bought at farmers markets.”
Bret built a couple of planter boxes in his backyard and setup a few large pots for his tomatoes.
“This year my parents grew tomatoes from the same batch of seeds (both mine and their plants were started together),” Bret wrote in an email to RecycledH2O.
“The tomatoes that were watered with recycled water thrived compared to tomatoes watered with city water. Even the tomatoes watered with city water were being irrigated every day during the hot spells we had last summer and they never seemed to green up or produce very much fruit.”
Each treatment plant has various quantities of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) available in recycled water. Think of it as water soluble fertilizer.
Bret kept an extra 275 gallon IBC tote in his side yard and temporarily stored recycled water in that. “When I needed to water I would just open the bottom drain and filled up a watering pail. It was time consuming, but I enjoyed being out in the warm sun and getting to appreciate each plant as I watered them.”
Will Bret continue to haul recycled water for watering his vegetable plants this summer? “Absolutely! I have already built four more raised garden boxes and plan to fill them with fresh produce plants and will water all of it with recycled water.”