wjfarm

“Just a little Raingarden…” sang Pooh

In Improvements on May 27, 2013 at 8:55 am

Harvesting up to 1,200 gallons of rain water from the roof of our outdoor classroom requires a measure of responsibility when storing more rainwater than is needed, or when some needs to be evacuated to avoid freeze damage in Winter, so we constructed a raingarden to ensure that excess water was not allowed to enter the storm water system (an already overburdened system, especially as the Farm is also located in the Combined Sewer System) but would re-enter the water cycle naturally through ground percolation and transpiration through the leaves of plants sited to “drink up” occasional floods. The species of plants selected are native to the mid-Atlantic to not only require little maintenance once established (ie. no excess watering, able to withstand periods of occasional flooding alternated with dry spells, requiring no use of fertilizer to grow healthily) but to also provide support for our native insect biodiversity.

RG1

1. after planting the red maple yesterday, the workhorse of this little project, it was time to start…

 

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2. a few more river rocks (gathered from the Anacostia River) to form the drainage channel for the cistern…

 

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3. the first native perennials ready to go ~ Eupatorium dubium (Eastern Joe-Pye weed), Panicum virgatum ‘Heavy Metal’ (switchgrass), and Carex muskingumensis (Muskingum sedge)

 

RG4

4. first the sedges…

 

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5. then the grasses…

 

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6. then finishing with the Joe-Pye weed

 

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7. so now we come to “the rock” ~ I’m sure we can fit it in somewhere!

 

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8. a perfect fit

 

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2 hours after the first big storm (June 2nd/3rd), and all seems well!

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