Rain Gutter Grow Systems 101

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In Progress Hybrid RGGS for Small Scale Gardening

In Progress Hybrid RGGS for Small Scale Gardening

As I have done more and more research about various ways to garden, I really like the innovation and results that are coming from Larry Hall’s Rain Gutter Grow Systems (RGGS).  I mentioned this system in a recent post about ways to conserve water in drought conditions since plants take as much water as they need as water wicks up through the containers.

So what is this system all about?

Larry Hall developed the RGGS after he used his garden to grow tobacco and as he looked for different ways to grow vegetables in self-watering containers.  He got tired of constantly watering these containers in our hot Minnesota summers, and developed the system through trial and error.  He talks about the inspiration of his system here.

Benefits for a RGGS

Benefits for using this system include:

  1. Reduced watering; these are self-watering systems (you can “fire and forget” or go on vacation for a while)
  2. Reduced weeding; you are creating the soil in the containers
  3. Flexibility in materials and systems allows you to be very creative
  4. Ease of construction; you are using 2″x4″x10′ boards, vinyl rain gutters and containers.  Easy!
  5. Relatively low cost and maintenance 

To see how to make a simple RGGS using 2″x4″ and vinyl rain gutters that you would install on your house.  Here is a great video on how to install a simple RGGS. 

A word of caution….once you see how easy this system is to put together and how effective it is, you just might get hooked.

http://youtu.be/GRQzhFBCot4

Next Steps and Future Posts

I am trying out a Hybrid RGGS this year (see the photo at the start of the post), and I will have an update here early next week.  I will walk you through through my design process and construction.

As we roll into Independence Day, you might consider taking a look at Larry Hall’s Rain Gutter Grow Systems on YouTube,  Facebook and Pinterest.  There are a ton of variations of this system.  You know, as you wait for the brats and dogs to cook on the grill and before you wander off to yell “oooooh” and “ahhhhh” as the fireworks boom overhead!

Have a very happy 4th of July!

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3 Comments on "Rain Gutter Grow Systems 101"

  1. It will be much easier to teach this subject matter!

  2. Maria Coster | July 6, 2014 at 7:09 PM | Reply

    We have implemented your method, but cant get the watering system right!

    • Tom Tom Garette | July 8, 2014 at 6:25 PM | Reply

      What system did you try: a standard rain gutter, a hybrid system (pipe) or kiddie pool? Please describe your system and issue.

      I am not using a float system to recharge the pipe this year. I wanted to see if it would work and experiement with the system first; however, I have plans for a truly automatic system next year.

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