Rain Barrels Save Water!

Artwork by Joy Stewart

Rain barrels Connected To Downspouts

The following is a guest blog from Joy Stewart, a good friend who gardens in Bristol, Tennessee. Photos taken at her garden.

Regional droughts and potential water shortages are causing people to turn to a centuries old practice of collecting rain as an alternative source of water.   By collecting rainwater from your home’s roof, you have an additional supply that doesn’t tax the groundwater or shoot up your water bill.

Better yet, rainwater is oxygenated, non-chlorinated and warmer than tap water; all of these factors make it a superior source of water for your garden plants. Rain barrels are one of the simplest, cheapest means of providing water for the plants in your yard.

You will be surprised at the amount of water generated by even a brief downpour.  One inch of rain on one square foot of ground surface produces .623 gallons of water.  That means if you live in a smaller 1,000 square foot home and have a downspout from collects water from one quarter of the roof area, one-half inch of rain will give you almost 100 gallons of water for your rain barrel.

Rain barrels are available commercially, ranging from 50 up to 850 gallons and costing between $70 and $600.  However, you can easily make your own barrel for as low as $30, depending on where you obtain your barrel.  With a little searching, you can often find a used 55-gallon barrel, one formerly used to ship soda syrup, cooking oil, soap for car washes and even jalapeno peppers (although that smell is hard to remove) for about $10.

All other parts for construction are available at your local home construction supplier.  A wide range of “how-to” instructions for construction and installation are available on the Internet.  Once built, you can even use a good quality house paint to decorate them.

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