Water Collecting for Your Garden

While waiting for my son to get his haircut I read another short book on my Kindle.  This time I’ll mention the name and author: “Dad what are you making now?” How-To-Series by T.E. Carsley.  He was making rain barrels.  Something I’ve been wanting to do for a while…where does the time go?

I have two sections of roof that form a great area for rain runoff.  Without rain gutters, the rain pours from this area with gusto onto the corner of my brick patio.  Thankfully, the patio was made to soak up the water.  The highest the rain has ever collected there was an inch from the top of the one-step-up porch during a tropical storm.  It’s a great place to put a rain barrel although it’s in a major walkway from the back door.  Up until now, I’ve used a bright orange Home Depot paint bucket to collect water which gets used up within days of a heavy rain.  It fills up in less than 10 minutes.  I’ve been wanting to do something greater so I did…today.

The book goes over how to make a rain barrel watering system.  Now why do you need one?  Simply put…because!  Because your water might be out for a while after a storm and you’ll have water to boil (although its better to keep fresh water stored inside the house).  Because  you might go through a drought and it would be nice to keep your vegetable garden alive so you can keep your food budget in check.  Because obviously all of that water can be used for good.

T.E. explains carefully the supplies you need, and step by step how to put the system together.  The resulting barrel is one that has a spigot and clean-out at the bottom.  You can also make one with a run-off to another barrel and so on.  He recognized the various needs for this type of water collection and explains them each carefully so you can make the one you need or make all of them.  My rain barrel doesn’t collect rain from a gutter so what I got from the reading was that it made a lot of sense to put a screen over top of the barrel to keep junk from the roof and leaves out.  Most of what the author does describe, though, is water from a gutter where you can make the downspout go right into the top of the barrel.  His other instructions were for placing the barrel under a central part of the gutter, put a hole in the gutter and attach a chain which will help the flow of water straight down into the barrel.

For my needs, I simply found a 30 gallon plastic garbage can at Home Depot today (on sale for $9.99) and placed it where the small, ugly, orange bucket had been.  I’ll repurpose that bucket later after a good cleaning.  The garbage can is black and while it is larger seems to fit the area just fine.  I moved the furniture on the patio to accommodate a wider walk space and put a tropical plant on the patio side of the “barrel” to minimize the visual.  Then I attached screening that I had from an old porch door and clipped it over the top of the barrel to catch leaves and pine needles and hopefully keep mosquitos out (there is a chapter on this issue). 

Since we’re expecting rain these next few days I’ll just leave the barrel as is, but when it passes I’ll replace the screen with the lid to keep mosquitoes away. 

I didn’t do the spigot at the bottom mainly because I didn’t feel like it.  I’m into easy stuff, but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever do it…maybe later. For now, when I need to water my garden I’ll just have to fill a watering can and water things that way.  Not a big deal.  It allows me to spend time examining my plants and talking to them. 

Yes, I talk to my plants, but that’s not what this story is about.

The book is available through Amazon and I’m sure other places, but that’s where I got my copy.

Will you be making a rain barrel this weekend?

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