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Is Grey-water Good For Vegetables?

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It is no surprise that many people face started using greywater for their gardens. But most of these gardeners wonder if this water suits their fruits and vegetables.

Greywater is indeed suitable for your vegetables. But if you misuse this water, it can cause more harm than good when given to edible plants like vegetables and crop plants. The misusing of water stated in this context does not mean its usage but rather its collection and treatment process.

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In short, to get all the benefits greywater can provide, one must be aware of how to collect it. But even that is not enough. You have to collect the correct type of water and then filter it. The filtration can make this greywater gold, not only for your plants but for your wallet.

What is Greywater & How to Collect It

Before you can learn all the benefits of using greywater for your plants, let us start with what it is and how to collect it.

Picture of dishes and sponges

Well, to put it simply, greywater is the water that comes from the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry.

Understand greywater for black water, which is another type that can come from residential areas, for they are entirely different.

Greywater and Blackwater, the difference

Blackwater is the water that comes out of the toilet, which is harmful when used to water plants due to its particles. It may be used when properly filtered, but with proper equipment, that may be expensive.

Aside from that specific water, all the water utilized by the house is greywater. It might contain dirt, grease, other household products, hair, etc. Bathwater can be a good source of greywater as the skin cells in the water further boost the soil’s health.

So, how can you use this water and repurpose it? The process is simple; anyone can do it at home, which will be covered in the next section.

Manual Greywater Collection

Picture of buckets full of water

You can collect water from the laundry, bathroom, and kitchen. The greywater systems can work completely automatically to entirely manually.

Manual greywater system collection definitely costs less than the automatic system, as the latter needs specific equipment for filtration.

This is an excellent option for people who have a tight budget. You will need a bucket and a jug and collect the water manually from your sources. Then you can use it for irrigation immediately, specifically within 24 hours, to prevent bacterial growth in the water.

Simple Piping and filtering system

Now, this second option strictly involves laundry water. Because the piping system here is simple, you can only collect water from one area of your house.

A simple piping water system is best for irrigating non-edible plants

This system is beneficial if the plants you are mainly looking to irrigate are nonedible and don’t come in potted form, for example, the lawns and plants in the hardier garden.

Bathwater, dishwashing water, and, most especially, washing machine water are the types best for the simple piping and filtration system.

Washing machine water can be hooked into a DIY filtering system for this process and later hooked to external irrigation systems. Making this filtering system is relatively easy with inexpensive materials. To aid you with building this, you can check this recent article of mine on saving water while using washing up water that extensively covers the benefits of using greywater and the process of making said filter system.

Benefits to using the simple piping water system

But the good point is that the whole system is automatic. So, if you get grossed out easily, this is a good option.

The laundry is piped to the landscape, and the water is transported there automatically, making the irrigation process easier. Even though the system is not as simple as the manual one, it requires low maintenance. All you have to do is ensure that the pipes are not clogged and that the water flow is consistent.

Complex Sewage & Piping System

Picture of water filtration

This third option is quite expensive. It requires an integrated Sewage and piping system where all the greywater is directly collected in one place.

The materials may be expensive, and the building process will most likely need professional help to pull off, with possible numerous maintenance checks.

The complex sewage and piping system usually connects the laundry, kitchen, and bathroom to a container, wherein the collected greywater should be used within 24 hours of collection.

Many systems also connect the greywater piping to the toilet to repurpose the greywater for flushing purposes.

Greywater Treatment for plants and vegetables

Most of the grey water collected from the laundry and kitchen has less debris. This one, especially bathwater and dishwashing, can directly water non-potted plants and crop or vegetable plants.

Why it is essential to treat greywater for vegetable plant watering usage

Picture of man watering vegetables

However, due to the still present chemical products, this water is harmful to vegetables if you use it untreated.

This is why treating the greywater is essential because, without the proper treatment, the vegetable will be inedible and dangerous to eat due to possible chemical build-up.

Treating of greywater for vegetable plants – the process

The water treatment process starts with cleaning out the solid debris from the water. For example, any food particle or hair removes from the water.

Then the decontamination happens by using chlorine. This step ensures that so the bacteria are dead.

Due to the use of chemical products, the greywater night has high amounts of certain ingredients, and this issue is solved by neutralizing the water by using different salts.

After that process, the water is safe to use for all types of vegetables and fruits. But you must maintain the filter to ensure it works properly daily. For this, we recommend cleaning the filter from the inside once a week. Stirring the water in the container is also essential so no debris can sit at the bottom of the container.

Benefits of Using Greywater for watering your plants and vegetables

Using Greywater for your plants, your wallet, and the environment has several benefits. So let’s consider what benefits you get after installing a greywater system at home.

Nutrients are present in greywater.

The greywater collected from the kitchen usually has more nutrients. It contains different roles of numerals and vitamins. These nutrients are reused when the waste is repurposed, making the vegetables healthier.

Using greywater is cost-effective.

Picture of water bills

Yes, installing a whole greywater system in the house might be expensive. The idea is that the process costs $4000 on average. But remember that this is a one-time cost, especially when done right.

You can use the same piping system repeatedly for many years, meaning that you will use less freshwater.

This is one great reason many people have reduced their water bills after using greywater for irrigation.

Utilizing greywater promotes energy efficiency.

If you are using greywater, it means freshwater consumption would go down, resulting in less energy consumption.

Freshwater comes to the house using the pumps, which consume high-wattage energy to put in our house systems. But when the house switches to greywater, there is no need for extra irrigation water. And this way you can save the electricity used on the pump.

Fresh Water Conservation can be done by using greywater

It is an obvious fact that if you are reusing wastewater, it will reduce freshwater consumption. Doing this not only saves water but saves the planet. Saving this water will help other people who need fresh water.

Lesser Water Wastage can be done by utilizing greywater

We never think about where the wastewater goes after we use it.

An average American toilet uses 6 gallons of water for one flush.

This amount is insane if we consider how many people do not have drinking water available. By reusing wastewater, we can reduce water wastage and save water resources.

Lesser Carbon Footprints can be done by using greywater

Our planet is already at a critical stage. Animal species are dying and running out of battery resources. At this time, all of us need to think about the big picture.

Using greywater is an overall good idea as it reduces carbon footprints. Lesser freshwater consumption, reduced electricity usage, and little water waste. This is the step that can lead us to a better future.


Conclusion on using greywater on your vegetables

In this article, greywater can be extremely useful during droughts and water shortages, where freshwater should be used for more critical tasks or drinking rather than watering plants. However, knowing if the water is good or not for your vegetables is extremely important because small mistakes can create many problems.

This is why it is recommended for everyone to do their research if they feel the need to on greywater usage, possible filtering and storing of said water that works for your household, and possible considerations it has for your home garden.

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