It’s always best to conserve water when watering your outdoor plants. I live in an area with abundant water and have not had a problem with our well, even in drought years, but I try to make the best use of water. A rain barrel will save you a lot of water and the water is full of natural nutrients. If you are on public water your will drastically reduce your water bill.
First determine the proper size of rain barrel for your needs. Most barrels range from 50 to 80 gallons and will fill up quickly. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain, you may need several rain barrels to capture the overflow.
You can pick up rain barrels at garden supply stores, auctions, salvage yards or order one online.
After you select the barrel, put the barrel under the downspout and connect any spouts and hoses.
It wise to raise the barrel off the ground with stacked cinder blocks or rocks to create space for the spigot and your watering can. This will make watering easier on your back.
Attach a 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″ hose to the barrel’s overflow port. Make sure to divert the water overflow at least 6 feet away from your foundation.
You can attach a soaker hose to the rain barrel hose to water your flowerbeds or vegetable garden. This way, you won’t have to empty the barrel immediately after a big storm. A soaker hose has small holes throughout the length of the hose for slow release of water. A benefit of a soaker hose is that it waters plants slowly so that the water soaks deep into the ground to encourage strong roots.
- Clean your rain barrel once a year using 3/4 cup of bleach per gallon of water. I check my barrel every two weeks to make sure it’s working well and not clogged. I also will empty the barrel before a big storm so that it will not overflow.
- I also have a screen over the barrel top to catch leaves and other debris. Its will also keep children out of the barrel.
- One drop of olive oil will discourage mosquitoes from lingering around the barrel.
- And at the end of the season remember to disconnect your rain barrel from the downspout before the first hard freeze of winter.
A rain barrel adds charm to your yard and helps out with watering. I would not be without one.
Tags: using a rain barrel, conserving watering, making watering the garden easier, setting up a rain barrel