Thursday, June 19, 2008

Catching Rainwater















When I first started the garden, we set up one barrel for rainwater and we watered from that one 60 gallon barrel for the first year and a half, then added a second barrel. And this year I have added 3 more. The three orange barrels have the added value of having begun their lives as olive barrels and have been recycled into rainwater barrels. I really like that!
Each barrel overflows into the next. They are each outfitted with a plumbing fitting with a piece of hose attached that runs water into the top of the next barrel. Together they give me a 300 gallon capacity! The set-up for this system was easy. I did it myself! And it works. I had a great time during the first rain watching one barrel fill and then overflow into the next and so on. Better than watching TV! The lower steel barrel has a soaker hose that runs into the asparagus bed around the corner from the barrels. This soaker hose is the controlled overflow for when all of the barrels are full. And the Asparagus is happy to have some extra water.

I like not needing to use city water to water my garden. I like the honesty and connection when you water with a watering can. The attention that I get to pay to each and every plant seems important to me. I only water the beds that need watering. I use lots of mulch to hold the water and conserve as much as possible. During really hot and dry spells I need to resort to the sprinkler for overall watering.. But for the most part I water from the barrels.

How much water is it possible to catch in your barrels? Consider the following formula...
1 inch of rain on a 1000 sq ft roof yields 625 gallons of water. To calculate the yield of your roof, multiply the square footage of your roof by 625 and divide by 1000.
One good rainfall, and my 300 gallon capacity is overflowing!

Here in the East we have been in a severe drought for a few years now. Anything we can do to conserve will make a big difference to our environment and add to your sense of self-reliance. Catching rainwater and saving it for when you need it is a good first step.

5 comments:

Pam Genant said...

Looking at the picture, the two barrels that are on the right end. How did you set those up. I have a couple of the rain barrels, but also have a couple of just big barrels. What did you put on top to keep out the mosquitos, and also did you put any spigot at the bottom?

Thanks,
Pam

Beth Molaro said...

Hi Pam,
Each steel barrel has a spigot at the bottom bought from the hardware store...
Drill the right size hole in your barrel...the spigots are threaded, so get some hardware to screw on from the inside (I used a rubber gasket too) and you are good to go...
The open tops are covered with window screen held on with a bungie cord.
From the first steel barrel to the second there is an overflow pipe...
A hole cut in first barrel is fitted with a length of PVC pipe that overflows into the top of the second barrel.. works really well...
When I can, I'll get some more photos of the barrels in detail and post them...
Hope this helps..
Beth

Courtney said...

It's such a good idea to attach all your rain barrels together like that. That's something I might do in the future - I find that after one rain fall, my one rain barrel is overflowing.

herb-grower said...

What a great idea to daisy-chain them like that! Any chance of a post that explains better how you have them set up? I too have to mosquito question - they are horrid this year.

pressure washer hose said...

Great idea! We can conserve water by catching the rainwater. We also do that in province and we use it for watering plants in dry seasons.

-seff-