Collecting rainwater with a rain barrel or two for your garden is a wise idea, no matter what your motivation. If you’re on a municipal water system, you stand to save a considerable amount of money. If drought is a problem where you live, collecting rainwater is a good way to deal with watering restrictions.
We don’t know how much we depend on water until we don’t have it!
Plants prefer rainwater to other sources of water; it’s naturally soft and free of chlorine and other chemicals. So you may find, as I do, that having a rain barrel is a handy alternative to the garden hose if placed close to your veggies.
The use of a rain barrel is really a very old idea. There are as many ways to set up a water collection system as there are people with ideas, whether it is a single barrel or many connecting barrels – just peruse the internet.
The Rain Barrel Helper
A gravity drip irrigation system like the one below makes so much sense for veggies that appreciate consistent water such as cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, celery, lettuces, and most berry plants which need an inch/week when setting fruit.
Or attach a hose for regular watering:
To give you an idea: Just a half inch of rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roof will yield 300 gallons of water. That’s pretty amazing! Here’s a nifty calculator to measure what you could collect.
Having a rain barrel system is also a water supply back-up should we lose the electrical grid for any length of time for any reason. Without electricity our well pumps will not pump water. One way would be to use a portable Berkey system (which we now use to filter our everyday well water) and then filter rain barrel water for drinking.
- Look locally for a rain-barrel that suits your need. Ordering online will have added freight costs.
- Sometimes the bigger, the better (within reason) for rain collection. If you have frequent rainfall, you can get by with a smaller rain barrel. The bigger the garden, the more water you will go through, and because you don’t have lots of pressure with a smaller barrel, the more the gallons you have the better the pressure and the faster you can water.
- You need to have the barrel elevated above your target watering area.
- Anything over the capacity of the barrel will spill over and run off.
- Make sure your barrel has no way mosquitoes can get in and breed.
Happy rain barrel watering!!
“He [the Living God] has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” ~Acts 14: 17
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