Feb/March 2014: Estimate Your Garden’s Seasonal Water Needs

How much water will your garden need this year? This handy guide from Urban Farmer Store (a Bay Area HOG distributor) breaks down the equation for you. Their sample features a 10×10 veggie garden watered with drip irrigation in zone 1. Click here or on the image below to start calculating!

And for the next question: why not install a HOG system to irrigate your garden with captured rainwater!? We’re giving out virtual good citizen awards for conserving water with a drought on…

September 2012: Ask Dr. HOG

Ask Dr. HOG

In the spirit of brainstorming and problem solving we will be sharing some of the queries that come to us about installed HOGs or planned HOG installations. Our first is from Frank Katz in New Mexico who has two HOGs installed on their sides, and buried at the back of a raised garden bed.

Potted plants and a garden make for a welcoming entrance to this Santa Fe, New Mexico home.

Two HOG tanks, discreetly covered, irrigate the Katz garden.

ISSUE: HELP! Heavy rain is causing my filter to block and my garden may wash away in the next big storm!

Frank installed his HOGs in summer 2012 to water his Santa Fe garden. The HOGs form the back of the raised garden, and a retaining wall at the front completes the installation. The water in the HOGs can go two ways: either via a spigot to a hose on the porch for watering potted plants, or via a drip system to the front garden. Ingeniously, Frank is using an RV pump to circulate the HOG-held water.

SOLUTION: Frank plans on installing a larger filter. And he’s right: a larger filter would mitigate the heavy storm water flow. A large vortex filter, which uses cyclonic separation rather than a physical mesh to filter roof water is ideally suited to the heavy rainfall and hail of the Southwest. (Watch a video of a vortex filter at work here.) It is also important, with only 100 gallons of water storage, that the overflow from the HOGs is plumbed using larger diameter pipe (the same diameter as the downspout is best) above the level of the HOGs and the vents, and is routed away from the raised garden.

Backed up debris filter? No water pressure? An unorthodox install that works like a dream? If you have questions or solutions to share, talk to Dr. HOG!



May 2012: San Francisco Magazine – The Trickle-Up Effect

Architect Geoffrey Butler’s LEED Platinum home design features state-of-the-art water reuse

Sausalito-based architect Geoffrey Butler’s $2.9 million Marin spec home brings up-to-the-moment architectural design to a water-wise home.

©Philip Harvey

Profiled in the June 2012 design issue of San Francisco Magazine, the Geoffrey Butler home, located in Mill Valley, saves up to 61,000 gallons of water per year.

A 4-HOG installation (hidden under the deck) converts showers into lawn water, and an additional 15 HOG tanks are used to flush the toilet in the 5-person home for up to 8 months out of the year.
How does the HOG modular rainwater catchment system work in this Mill Valley home?

©Philip Harvey

Toilet Flush                                                 Gray Water System
rainwater                                                   shower and bathtub water
[goes to]                                                                [goes to]
15 HOGS behind garage                              4 HOGS under deck
[goes to]                                                                [goes to]
toilets                                                                      garden

Check out the magazine in print if you’re in the San Francisco area or see it online here (we’re on page 72-73).

The Whole HOG: January 2012

                            The Whole HOG
                           Water-centric Green Design News

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”

T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” (the fourth poem of Four Quartets)

Happy New Year! We’re taking a cue from T.S. Eliot and embracing new beginnings in 2012. What better way to create the new than with the upcycled old?

“Freedom is responsibility to explore,” says Sourabh Phadke, 25-year-old architect and ecology teacher whose radical focus on upcycling trash to build schools and homes in India is the subject of our B.U.G. Design section.

Speaking of voices, we want to hear yours in our beginning of the year customer satisfaction survey. We’re offering a discount to say thanks once you’ve completed the survey. (*You must have purchased a HOG tank within the last 5 years in order to be eligible.)

Brrr, it’s cold outside. We talked with distributor Frank Koll, of GreenScapes Lawn and Garden Service, who has firsthand experience with winterizing HOG tanks. Check out his tips on preparing your HOG system for the winter season.

January 2012: HOGs in Winter

Is it snowing where you are? It is in Arlington, MA. We checked in with Frank Koll of GreenScapes Lawn and Garden Services, an irrigation contractor and  Rainwater HOG distributor. New England-based (and snow-tested) Frank gave us the lowdown on preparing water catchment systems for winter, East Coast style.

Essential for making your HOGs–and all water capture containers–winter-ready is to drain them of water before it freezes. Frozen water can make HOG tanks bulge, although unlike other rainwater tanks they won’t crack or splinter.

Frank offers his clients an annual maintenance program. This season he winterized 16 HOGs. Who knew HOGs could hibernate?

Frank Koll of GreenScapes stores his demonstration HOG tanks outside, a testament to  their weather-proof durability. Look closely to find them camouflaged in snow above. The downspout has been diverted to lead the gutter run-off at least 10 feet from the house foundation. Come summer, Frank will attach the tanks to the downspout and water his backyard edible garden with rainwater.

“Rainwater HOG tanks are a great solution for urban clients who have small spaces for water capture,” says Frank, identifying the small footprint and modular design of the tanks as additional draws for his East Coast clients.

New England weather is infamously fickle – variations can be extreme even within one season. At GreenScapes, the philosophy is to keep water cycling systematically through the landscape. Clients receive a seasonal audit to check in with the health of their lawns, gardens and irrigation systems. Irrigation and rainwater storage equipment that maximize the use of harvested rainwater for each site are implemented and maintained, along with overflow management and winter preparedness strategies.

“Winterization is a component of issues faced in the Northeast, Northwest, the Midwest, and Canada,” says Frank. Many of his clients have HOG tanks on balconies to water gardens. He prepared these HOG systems for winter simply by draining them using gravitational force. For underground HOG installations, he used an air compressor with 30 to 40 psi to remove remaining water. He uses this same forced air method (at a higher psi) for traditional in-ground systems.

Other rain barrels or units required different approaches. Wooden rain barrels, including whiskey barrels, must be relocated indoors for winter storage.  Not the HOGs, which were left outside with the diverters or downspouts redirected.

Early in the establishment of GreenScapes Lawn and Garden Services, Frank recognized that water management would be a cornerstone of his organic lawn approach. “Irrigation methods need to be dynamically managed so that plants stay healthy and water usage is optimized,” he explains.

Further questions about winterizing your HOG tanks? E-mail us at info@rainwaterhog.com.

November 2011: Expos in Mexico, New Markets in Asia

HOG international distributors are making a strong showing with conference appearances and new installations. And, one enterprising new distributor is opening up new markets for our rainwater harvesting tanks in Southeast Asia.

Mexico:  Expo CIHAC 2011

Rainwater HOG Mexico put on a stylish display at the October 18-22 Expo CIHAC 2011 in Mexico City. The conference offered the best exposure in the construction industry and aimed to promote industry best practices.

Rainwater HOG in Singapore

Singapore-based distributor Green Building Materials secured its first Rainwater HOG tank client. Eight tanks will be installed in 6 Terrace Houses on Inggu Road in Singapore. Four of the homes will have one tank each installed for watering the backyard garden. The two corner houses will have two HOGs each; one for the backyard garden, and one in the front for miscellaneous irrigation needs as well as keeping a car sparkling clean with freshly harvested rainwater.