Thursday, June 19, 2008
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.