Monday, March 21, 2011

Now We Are Getting Serious

This drylands farming thing is no joke! We are stepping it up with the purchase of this 1650 gallon cistern.

This gigantic cistern is replacing our two linked fifty-five gallon barrels. We are going to use one rain barrel for catchment down at the chicken coop and the other to make compost tea in large batches. The compost tea will feed our gardens and houseplants. If we have excess it can be traded. The proposed rain catchment system at the coop will make hauling water down there a thing of the past, as well as keeping the hens' feet that much drier.

 The water we can collect off our roof from both snowmelt and the heavy summer monsoons is enough to easily sustain our whole operation. We will irrigate all the gardens from this tank. Now it just needs to fill up with water.

Overflow on top 1 1/2"

Outlet at the bottom 2"


  1. Wow. We're getting rain gutters sometime before the monsoons and I'm trying to persuade my hubby that we should just have the company install a cistern at the same time. Sure, we can spend less on an alternative but it would be very time-consuming to collect the multiple containers, link them together (without leaks), and get it all set up. We never have enough time for the millions of projects we need to get done!

    Where'd you score this cistern?

  2. Wow! Hopefully it will precipitate again someday. In Burque, we've had absolutely zero precipitation since I got back three months ago. But I'm digging in the manure this week anyway!

  3. Wow- that's impressive. Wonder if you can get any gov't rebate or grant for your water conservation techniques?

  4. Chile- one big container is better in so many ways...we have just been putting it off until now. We got this off Craigslist from a very nice older couple from Trinidad, Colorado (mike & ann) The price was reasonable and I only paid a little extra for their gas. And at around 40 cents per gallon it was worth it. Let me know and I will give you their #. They might even meet you half-way.

    Michael- We need to chill soon. I am glad to hear you are gardening again. We just planted some old cabbage seed you have given us. Also, it snowed this morning here.

    Pat- No, since we are leasing we cant get shit. If we owned there are all sorts of solar incentives (like an entire system for $60/ month) as well as federal agricultural grants for new farmers. The county had a rebate for people on municipal water that purchased rain barrels but they stopped it due to lack of funding. But you know what they say, don't buy the farm.

  5. Dang, I wish. There's no place we can put a big round cistern like that. What I want is one of the vertical tanks that would fit in our available space and not stand out too much.

    Give me arguments to use for 1 container over multiple, please!

  6. It is a larger mass of water giving it great thermal properties. In the past we would drain our barrels in the fall and not start collecting until april or so (due to frost freezing the water inside and brusting gaskets) . We have been slowly shifting our growing season from the normal last frost to first frost to the entire year and need more water storage to responsibly do so. We have a well and the water from it is included in our rent, but we would like to be self-sustaining so that when shit does hit the fan we are not making major life changes. We want to grow most if not all of our own food and this is one major piece in doing so especially at 7,200 ft. elev. here in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.