Thursday, September 1, 2011

Rain garden in Farmingdale

Last fall I was invited to attend an outreach event in the Manasquan Watershed. The event was the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Groundwater Festival. I had been requested to bring information about rain gardens. Little did I know at the time, a few months later, we would be planning a rain garden and getting one installed!

Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 68 in Toms River had begun working on their Silver Award project--to design and install a rain garden. In March, we met with Rutgers Water Resources Program to determine the best site, and in April the planning had really begun. The girls worked hard through the spring to secure plant donations from local nurseries. 

In July, we planned for the installation. Staff from the Girl Scouts prepared the site, which was to be a 550-square foot rain garden, which drained a 1200-square foot section of roof from a downspout. The garden was oversized--the steep slope of the roof meant that the roof area being drained was actually much larger than 1200 square feet. 

The area was dug out, and the night before our planting it poured. When I arrived at the site, the 550-square foot x 1 foot deep hole was completely filled with water. Between two pumps and the scouts acting as the bucket brigade, all of the water was out in less than 2 hours. 

We moved on to prepping the rain garden with the help of the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County. We added topsoil and compost and leveled out the garden. We created a berm with additional material. It doesn't sound like much, and took a lot of work over the next few hours. Everyone was beat, so we called it a day, and met back the following day.

On Sunday, we planted. And planted and planted. We had laid landscape fabric along the berm to prevent weeds from coming through, and put landscape fabric in the trench that would feed the rain garden. Troop 68 had designed the rain garden, which included: Butterfly Milkweed, Turtlehead, Purple Coneflower, Cinnamon Fern, and Witchhazel, to name a few. 

For all photos, visit our photo album.

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this project!

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore
Cadette Troop 68
Rutgers Water Resources Program
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Monmouth County

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