Thursday, April 1, 2010

Rain Barrels At The Ready

225 gallons. That's how much rain water these barrels can hold at one time. I'm betting we're past any long term deep freezes for our area so I've readied the rain barrels. They live in the same place over the winter. I give them a quick cleaning, and flip them over so they don't hold any water and the hoses drain completely. Now, they're back in business. We've had a rain barrel of some kind or another ever since we moved here in 1998. It started with one plastic trash can and a bucket to bale out the water. My wonderful husband rigged up an overflow hose and we added a second plastic trash can. Then, the first plastic trash can started to leak and I found these barrels advertised. 75 gallons! Wow! More than our two plastic trash cans together. We ordered one and were hooked. These barrels are durable and come with nice features. When the remaining plastic trash can sprang a leak, we bought another barrel and the connector kit.

After a year or so, we bought two new plastic trash cans at a bargain price and would siphon water to them from the barrels and hope for another rain. The plastic trash cans did good for about two years and then both started leaking. So, we bought the third barrel. The last connector kit was easier to install and doesn't have ribs to get dirty like the first one.

Each barrel has a screen to keep out debris.

We put them up on concrete blocks for a little water pressure.

I fill watering cans and buckets from the barrells. They don't have enough pressure to send water through a hose. Each barrel has an over flow tube inside and there is an extension you can put on the tube to take water from your foundation but our barrels set away from the garage.

Most of our roof drains to these barrels. If we get half an inch of rain, we can fill all three of them in one shot. If we get into a long dry spell, I have to resort to using our water faucets, but these barrels sure do stretch the water budget and the plants love the water. There is a little slot at the top of each barrel to hold the hose but I've never had luck keeping it in there.

I tie jute twine hangers (two for insurance) at the end of each watering hose and hang them from hooks on the fence.

The first barrel gets a good amount of sludge at the bottom by the end of summer. The second barrel gets a little overflow sludge. The third barrel stays pretty clean. I put mosquito donuts in them so they don't become breeding grounds. Otherwise, it's simple. Rain in, water out, happy plants, happy gardener! Until recently, I didn't know anyone else with a rain barrel. Now, our local watershed protection agency is offering workshops for people to make their own and some of the garden centers in town are selling them. My friends are like, "we're getting a rain barrel this year!" I'm such a trend setter. Actually, I remember a great aunt and great uncle who had a horse tank catching water off their roof. They were great gardeners. I think the idea started when I was young. My wonderful husband keeps saying, "if only we could put in a cistern!" Bring on the rain. I'm ready!


  1. If we had gutters on our house, we may invest in a Rain Barrel. For some reason gutters in this are seem rare. I think maybe due to all the Pine Trees and mess the needles can make in gutters. We have been looking at the Rain barrels though and contemplating where we could have one work. We probably should have gutters installed...

  2. Great information on the rain barrels. I like the overflow hoses which connect them. I have one Fiskars barrel that I have in my rose garden on the side of the house.~~Dee

  3. What a great post! We've been talking about using rain barrels for years, we even have a wine barrel to use. It was great to see how yours is all set up.

  4. I've been enjoying your blog...I started at the beginning. I just had a give-away of a Fiskar's rain barrel for Earth day. We don't even own one ourselves, but have wanted to. After seeing your three I'm thinking we had better get on the ball and add at least one.


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