This one comes from my dad. When I was young, he maintained a very large garden and my mom canned most of the fruits and veggies that we ate. One year because of a water main break, all outdoor watering was banned. So he took a garden hose and attached it to the drain of the washer machine and placed out a window in such a way that the water would drain downhill once it left the house.
Every time my mom would do a load of laundry, she would move the hose end so that a new area of the garden could get watered. Because there were 6 in the family, we did a lot of laundry and our garden was able to stay watered all year.
Now I live in TX and we are having a drought. So next year when I start my garden, I am going to figure out exactly how to do this. I asked a plumber and he said buy the largest diameter garden hose you can fit in to your washer's drain hose. Take a rope of plumbers putty and slide the garden hose at lease 1 foot in to the drain hose and then wrap the plumbers putty around the garden hose to seal the drain hose.
To make sure that the putty stays in place, run some overlapping layers of duct tap from about 3 inches above the end of the drain hose, continuing down to the about 3 inches down the garden hose. This should form a water tight seal. Make sure that neither hose is kinked and test it.
Source: My Dad, Dennis and my local plumber
By Cleo1978 from Lubbock, TX
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By Debbie Jennings 08/06/2009
We have our washing machine hose (the outlet hose) ran to the garden area. We can't move it, but I want to hook onto it with another piece of PVC that has holes drilled in it so it will water the garden. (Our bath water goes out there, too.) I'm also in Texas. The eastern part.
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Q: Is it possible to water the garden with the water from your washer? Maybe just the rinse water? Mine goes into a holding tub before it goes to the drain, as my plumbing is old and the drains will not take the force of water from the washer. I could use a garden hose to drain the tub into the flower beds. Would this work or would the soap kill the plants? I would not use the water with the bleach! Got any ideas?
Hardiness Zone: 4b
PrairieLady from SD
Yes, you can use your washer water to water the garden, but keep a few things in mind. If you can rig up a way to use only the water from your rinse, that would be ideal. If you use an eco-friendly detergent, that would also be fine. If these two options are not feasible, avoid detergents (and fabric softeners) with high levels of sodium, bleach or borax. They may harm the soil and your plants. A simple system might consist of an elevated plastic garbage can (about 2' off the ground for gravity) fitted with a hose for the water to flow out of. Fit a screen across the center of the can (inside about midway down) to collect lint (using one on the hose from the washer is sure to clog). Good luck!
About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
Wishing you all the best. Julia in Orlando, FL (01/30/2006)
Happy watering-- (01/30/2006)