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Rain Garden – Collecting Rainwater for Plants

Guest Post by Charles Upton

Rain Garden - Collecting Rainwater for Plants

Rain Garden – Collecting Rainwater for Plants

A rain harvesting garden (a fancy ditch that is good at collecting rainwater for plants) is a small investment of energy that provides a passive and steadily growing return for years after its installation.

Nothing in the universe is static but in a constant state of change. Our Earth is located in the ‘goldilocks zone’, perfectly situated between the extreme heat of the sun at 5800 Kelvin and the cold of deep interstellar space at 3 Kelvin. Sitting between those two extremes, our planet is constantly being bombarded by light energy from the sun with only a fraction of this light energy being held on Earth. The process of light energy being converted into chemical energy is called photosynthesis and done by all the plants and trees on our planet.

The trees and plants around us are all taking atmospheric carbon from the air around us and convert it into plant matter. In very basic terms this is how plants grow. As vegetation increases, the soil below benefits from reduced temperatures and reduced evaporation, two critical components that allow the natural soil microbiology to flourish. Thriving soil microbiology helps the plant by making the necessary nutrients available, which in turn creates new niches for biodiversity to increase at all levels and a multitude of benefits for all of us.

Exposed soil due to inadequate vegetation cover creates negative feedback loops that continue to build on themselves. When water is the main limitation for growing vegetation, the simple act of digging a ditch to harvest, hold and infiltrate water is a simple and efficient method to leverage our existing natural systems towards positive feedback loops that sequester more carbon from our atmosphere, improve soil conditions and help create an environment that benefits all of us.

Thus, the simple act of digging a ditch is a one-time expenditure of energy that results in beneficial payback exponentially larger than the initial investment. 

Practice cosmic judo and dig a rain harvesting garden.

Plant the Rain
Build the Soil
Grow the Plants

Author Bio – Charles Upton

Charles Upton is a water management professional with an expertise in decentralized onsite water management solutions such as rainwater harvesting, greywater reuse, stormwater capture and water retention landscapes integrated with applied soil microbiology and agroforestry techniques. He has a background in developing community-based water conservation programs to reduce barriers for decentralized water management solutions to be implemented at scale.

Charles has dedicated his time studying traditional water management systems in deserts around the world. He has worked with Bedouin of the Arabian peninsula as well as communities in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the Southwest USA. He holds a MSc in Integrated Water Management from the International Water Centre in Australia and did his graduate fieldwork in the Thar Desert of India assessing social equity of traditional water systems. He is fascinated by cycles, specifically the water cycle, carbon cycle and nitrogen cycles. He also believes the bicycle to be the most perfect human invention.

You can learn more about land & water management at!



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