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New Greenhouse and Rainwater Collection System at ABC.
Phase I construction at Case Mill Homestead drew to an end with completion of the greenhouse. The design of the 24' x 36' structure includes Gothic-style arches with gas heating and a water-cooling circulation pump for countering hot Texas temperatures. A sophisticated "Growmate" thermostat will control the interior environment to assure optimum conditions for propagating seeds and for care of the many unusual species of plants donated to ABC by the United States Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. The greenhouse was funded by a $50,000 pledge from New Hope Natural Media of Boulder, Colorado.

Also included in this phase was completion of a Rainwater Harvesting System, partially funded by the City of Austin Water Conservation Program. The goal was to provide an educational site that can introduce the concept of collecting rainwater for irrigation purposes to visitors.

Rainwater is collected in ranch-style tanks from the existing buildings' metal roofs. This water then travels underground to a 10,000-gallon holding tank. As irrigation water is needed, the supply passes through a circulating ozone system to remove any bacteria. This water is used in the greenhouse, and to irrigate the 2.5-acre property through a perimeter watering system. The addition of two more 10,000-gallon storage tanks is planned for the future and will complete an even more efficient collection project.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Nancy Beckham