Did you know that each American uses about 88 gallons of water per day? That might seem like a lot but all of the water used to wash our clothes, our laundry, and ourselves really does add up faster that you might think. As a farm, we know that we have to use more water than most in order to grow our Magnolia trees, lemon trees, olive trees, and more. Growing these trees and turning them into our handmade magnolia wreaths and garlands is really rewarding. This is partly because of their beauty, but also because we know that growing our trees is actually good for the environment.
Magnolia trees absorb odors and pollutant gases, decrease the CO2 in the air and release oxygen. While this is all great for the environment, our trees are grown in the state of Florida, which means they require a lot of water consumption. While we love the benefits of growing trees, we couldn’t help feeling like there was something we could do to save some of the water we used.
When walking through the magnolia groves in the early morning and late evenings we are surrounded by a lot of natural beauty. Our farm is flanked by rich natural water resources and beautiful natural habitats. But, starting four or five years ago we could see how these beautiful natural areas were under siege from development all through central Florida. So when walking through the groves, it started to get hard to ignore the water emitters that provide the water our trees need to grow. We realized that if everyone in our state doesn’t take measures to protect the areas that we love, they will no longer exist.
This is when we started brainstorming how we could recycle the water we use on our farm. Since then we have redesigned the drainage on the farm and installed drain tile under the tree’s roots to collect water in a series of pipes. These pipes then flow back into a tail water recycling pond that is about three acres in size. As the water is applied onto the field any excess water is collected in this draining system and routed into the tail water pond. At that point it is then pumped back out of the pond through our irrigation system. It has taken the past 18 months to dig and construct the system, but we’re excited to announce that we’re almost done and that the system will save a lot of water.
This system will save approximately 140,000 gallons of water per day, which will be over 50 million gallons per year. This means we’re saving the same amount of water in one day that the average person uses in around four and a half years. One of the best things about this system is that it not only saves the water, but it also recycles all of the nutrients. The trees act like a living filter absorbing and reabsorbing all of our inputs to grow beautiful magnolia trees. We eventually learned by recycling this water it will be better for the trees’ health in the magnolia groves and the environment.
As soon as we started down this track of recycling and conserving water and nutrients, we soon realized that we wanted to keep conservation and natural ways of growing at the forefront of our mind. We didn’t just want to grow healthy trees, but we wanted to start implementing new management practices that will be healthy for the environment too. For example, we are really interested in recycling waste products in our soil. We feel like this is going to be a new initiative for us to grow healthy trees and benefit the environment at the same time.
To be able to work in such a beautiful and natural environment makes you aware of what a blessing our natural word is. When we see all of our pollinators visiting our farm in spring and summer, we know we want to do everything we can to protect them. About 3 years ago seeing the bees in the magnolia blooms as they gathered their nectar to bring back to their hives prompted us to eliminate insecticides during this pollinating season. Knowing that we can grow these trees without harming our pollinators has been very important to us. Who doesn’t pick up a bottle of honey and not think that a bee flying through flowers and the forest produced such a delicious sweet tasting treat?
You don’t need an elaborate water recycling system like ours to save water at home. You might already be turning the water off while you brush your teeth or taking shorter showers, but you can also install water-saving appliances on your faucets or shower heads. In the garden, consider installing a rain garden for catching stormwater runoff from your roof, driveway, and other hard surfaces or a rain barrel for outdoor watering. If you have automatic sprinklers, you can also install rain sensors on them so that they don’t spray when it’s already rained.
Finally, thank you to our community for your ongoing support. We love being able to provide handmade magnolia decor knowing that it was created with the environment in mind.