Rain Barrel How-To
Learn how to harvest the rain — right from your roof
web site: DIY Organic GardenCollecting rainwater for your garden is a smart idea, no matter what your motivation. Plants like rainwater, because it's naturally soft, and free of chlorine and other chemicals. If drought is a problem where you live, collecting rainwater is a good way to deal with watering restrictions. If you're on a municipal water system, you stand to save a considerable amount of money. You may also find, as I do, that having a rain barrel is a handy alternative to the garden hose.
Do your catch your rain water? tell us How?
If you get about 10-inches of rain over the course of the spring and summer, an average, 1,360-square-foot roof would yield 8,160 gallons of rainwater. You have to admit that whether you're in a drought situation or not, it's hard to pass up that much of a free thing.
When you look at the numbers, it's surprising how much water you can collect every time it rains. Just a half inch of rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roof will yield 300 gallons of water. To get an idea how much water the roof of your own house might yield, use the Rainfall Harvest Calculator.
Here's what you need to set up your own rain-harvesting system: 1. Gutters and a downspout. If you don't already have rain gutters on your house, this one-time investment is the biggest cost you'll face. High-quality gutters can be rather expensive, but even the least-expensive gutter system will suffice. That's all it takes to keep a 60-gallon rain barrel full to the brim almost all summer long.
2. Storage Tank. In arid parts of the country, rainwater cisterns are becoming more and more commonplace. Usually made of either plastic or concrete, they can hold hundreds or even thousands of gallons of water. If you want to start small and keep it simple, consider a wood or plastic rain barrel, which will typically hold from 40 to 80 gallons of water. If you have the space, several barrels can be set up in tandem. For more information, Gardeners Supply full line of Rain Barrels.
Do your catch your rain water? tell us How? 3. Debris Screen and Lid. A Downspout Diverter makes it easy to direct rainwater right into your storage tank. But before the water goes into your tank or rain barrel, you'll want to use some kind of debris screen to filter out leaves, pine needles and other debris. If you don't filter out this debris, it will accumulate at the bottom of the tank and may clog up the outflow. A removable wire mesh screen is all you really need, either mounted on top of the rain barrel or attached to the end of your downspout.
A well-fitting lid is also important to protect children and prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water. Another option is Mosquito Control Rings which really work and are organic, no poison or chemicals. 4. Distribution Device. For a rain barrel, you need nothing more than a standard spigot or short length of hose installed near the bottom of the barrel, with an on/off valve. Then you let gravity do the work. You can attach a longer hose to reach your garden, or just use the spigot to fill watering cans. The pressure from these spigots regardless of size will always trickle, you need a pump if you want pressure.
If you occasionally notice algae buildup or odor, you can control it with a type of bacteria and enzymes. The Clear Water Dispenser System is a refillable dispenser with two 30-day sachets of beneficial bacteria and water-cleansing enzymes — the same ones used to clean ponds, but extra strength for enclosed barrels.My own rain barrel is around the back of the building. We use two 50 gallon troughs, and cover with a screen door in the summer to prevent mosquitos. Jr. has plans to put in a pump so we can run a hose to the garden but for right now we just dip sprinkler can in and carry to garden.
Rain water is much better for your garden. City supplied water has chemical like bleach and they have removed most of the minerals so all you are getting is wet and poison. Many people have said that rain fall contains a high degree of nuclear fallout etc. But think about it, unless you are going to tunnel your garden and have massive filtering systems then your garden is going to get that anyway. Best way to deal with chemicals in the air is to support a greener way of life for everyone.
My rain barrel (left) is on a light angle so when it is full it just follows the same path is used to follow to the drain (right)..
Do your catch your rain water? tell us How?