Friday, April 26, 2013

Dirt And Water And Sun, Oh My

I miss my garden. I have never had a great garden that would sustain me through the winter, but I like fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, etc. And I like to have flowers blooming in the yard. Usually by mid February I start my plants indoors by the window and watch them sprout. It gets me through the last legs of winter.

Well, this spring I made the decision that I am going to try and have a vegetable garden on the back of the RV. The motorcycle is off the rack, leaving a large flat surface of about 3 feet by 8 feet just sitting there waiting for something to go onto it. So, while we were getting pelted with ice and hail, and cold weather, I went into Walmart and bought the beginnings of my new garden.

The seedlings are beginning to sprout now, with the peas in the lead, followed closely by my cucumber plants. The cherry tomatoes are starting to come up, but no sign of the roma tomatoes yet. I am expecting them in the next few days.

As far as the logistics of setting them out on the back deck, I do not have any finalized plans. But that will unfold as the weather warms and the plants grow big enough to earn the right to be out there.

On a slightly different topic, I have started to build a water purifier. Since being in Ontario we have caught on that they charge a lot more for water than in the USA. We actually got used to paying $0.25 per gallon for water down there, and come up to the great white north and are getting charged 0.93 for a gallon of water. After the initial shock of the cost, I started checking out water filtering systems that we might install in the RV. I wanted one that would be able to treat the potable water we get at campgrounds, parks, and gas stations along the way. It it potable but not necessarily something we want to drink. So I want something more than just a Brita pitcher that goes in the fridge. You can get fancy osmosis systems for $500 (too expensive) or less expensive filter systems. Some have single filters, others use a double filter system, and they range in cost from $30 to $200. I started looking more closely at the basic filter systems and they are really just tubes and containers to run water through the different replacement filters available. And being cheap, I thought I could make my own filter case, and just buy the replacement filter.

Here is what I came up with:

I picked up the best filter (as far as I can see) that filters to 1 micron, and seems to take everything out of the water that these filters can. It cost me $30. Then I wanted to make sure I understood how the filter worked, so I ran water through the top, to make sure it moves slow enough through the filter. The guy at the hardware store said that was the key, the water should not be moving through the system too fast or it is not being properly filtered.

The first test worked, but I had to be very careful to not overfill the filter using the funnel. Next, I had to develop a way of pouring water into the top of the filter without having the unfiltered water pouring out the top of the filter. I had a hose adapter I picked up for a different project and never used. It was perfect for connecting to a pop bottle (using teflon tape to get a good seal), and screwing into the plastic on the top of the filter. The filter had no thread on it, so I created the thread while turning the hose adapter down into the top. It worked perfectly with just a slight leak. I need to put silicone around the edges and that should seal it up tight.

My next modification to this system is to pick up a patio pitcher with a water spout at the bottom of it. You know, like the ones people get for a lemonade stand. Then I simply have to pop the filter into the pitcher, run water through the top, and collect my clean water from the bottom spout. And I should be able to do that for free anytime I want drinkable water.

My new water filtration system has not been used yet though. I was thinking of getting the water tested, before and after, at some local company. After that, I would know for sure if the system is really working the way I think it is.

So, what do you think? Is it cabin fever or am I preparing for the apocalypse? Maybe I shouldn't tell you about the schematics I have for building my own solar panels. Oh, and my solar oven plans.

1 comment:

  1. We are just about to upgrade our water filtration. We are going with a two canister system, the first with a sediment filter and then a charcoal filter, both at 1 micron.