Ramblings About Rain-Barrels
We don’t know how much we depend on water until we don’t have it!
Collecting rainwater 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. Plants like rainwater; it’s naturally soft and free of chlorine and other chemicals. You may also find, as I do, that having a rain barrel is a handy alternative to the garden hose if placed close to your veggies.
Rain barrels are really a very old idea that have made a comeback. 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.
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.
You can collect by inter-connecting inexpensive food grade 55 gallon drums. This system was built following A Spouse’s Guide to Building the Perfect Rain Barrel System.
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 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.
“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
“Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” ~James 5: 17-18
Thanks for reading!