The rain barrel is making a comeback.
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, deep 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.
The Inter-Connected Rain Barrel System:
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 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 runoff.
- Make sure your barrel has no way mosquitoes can get in and breed.
Is it Illegal to Collect Rainwater?: A State by State Guide
It is illegal in a growing number of states, so know your laws!
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
LOVE that verse…He fills our hearts with joy! I could meditate on that all day.
I did see your comment, Miss J, about the berry ID. Thanks so much for trying–I do appreciate your help. Yes, do try the banana pop. Very refreshing. 😉
Thank you also for posting about rain barrels. I’ll enjoy reading it here in a while when I’ve got a spare moment. God bless you richly and bring you joy!
A lot of great information here. Thank you.
Working Kansas Homemaker
I first heard about rain barrels not too long ago from a coworker. We are looking into getting our own! During the summer months in Kansas, it can get pretty dry. Usually we have a pretty wet spring. Although the weather has been very messed up so who knows! I love the idea of preserving what the Lord gives us through rainfall and just being less wasteful.
Hurray for rain barrels! We have two large ones with one being plumbed to our outdoor shower and washing machine. The other is for the outdoor farm stuff like watering, etc., They come in handy for so many reasons! And the use of water without electricity (and $) is priceless.
That water is priceless is an understatement!! Haha!! We are experiencing a rather advanced drought as I type…we never thought it would last this long 🙁
Miss you, dear JES and can’t wait to see what you will be posting here in a few days 🙂
You inspired me! It’s raining outside right now, so I went out and put out my water buckets and a big tub, a system may be in my near future….so thanks!!!!
That is so neat! Only thought is about mosquitoes. Do cover with a screen or gauzy fabric, etc. Sorry to sound so bossy…I would hate to unwittingly bring you and yours disease. Many blessings to you, and I am so thankful you are getting rain. How much we take it for granted.
We would also hook up our rain barrel to our washing machine during drought season when there was no rain. We used the “gray” water and a natural detergent Country Save on our garden for plants like raspberries, cucumbers, squash, green beans, etc. It worked out great!
Kimberley, That is so clever! I never thought about using it for a washer! I will have to ask my husband about that one :0 You are far ahead of us!