Are Rain Barrels part of your drought-management plan?

If you’re a gardener that has an unlimited supply of water, like access to a well, consider yourself lucky.  There are many of us who live in drought zones, especially in the past couple of years, where the watering usage rules are very restrictive to the healthy growth of garden plants.  Many people just give up when they find out they are not permitted to use enough water to keep their gardens growing, but others have just found ways to cope with less water.  Rain barrels are worth considering when dealing with this issue.

There are many ways to optimize a garden to conserve water while still keeping it green.  Some of the ways include:

  • drip irrigation, the use of a pipe or hose with small holes to gradually seep into the roots of the plant and minimize evaporation or watering a bigger area that you need to;
  • The placement of plants in groups of equal watering needs (to prevent wasting water on plants that don’t need it); and
  • using compost or mulch to insulate the water and minimize drainage.

But one of the best ways to keep your garden alive during a drought is to plan ahead and take preventative measures.  Even in areas that are experiencing a drought, there will be a few days of heavy rain.  When this occurs, you should take the opportunity to capture as much of that rain as possible by setting up several rain barrels.  Some people think this is a waste of time and not worth the effort, but it can save you hundreds of gallons of water, and requires very little work.

Getting the barrels will probably be the hardest part.  You can use garbage cans or head to your nearest home improvement store to get a few 55 gallon plastic drums.  These can be expensive and difficult to transport, so keep that in mind before you go to the store.  Of course, you can also shop online and have them delivered to you, saving you the trouble of locating and bringing them home yourself.

You will also want to cover the top of the barrel with a screen of some sort to keep out any unwanted leaves or debris that might fall off the roof of your house and keep mosquitoes away.  You can also purchase additives to treat the water and handle mosquito larvae that way.

Once you have your barrels ready, your biggest decision is where to place them.  Usually during rainfall, there is one corner or segment of the house that rain tends to run off of.  If you are taking the simplest approach to barrel placement, just place the barrel under all the places where you see large amounts of drips.  However, while this might be the easiest way to place them, you won’t get much water in the barrels.

If you want to take a more aggressive approach to placing the barrels, you should consider tweaking your gutter system a bit.   By positioning your barrels to take advantage of existing guttering and downspouts, assuming you have a gutter system, you can place a rain barrel at each corner or where ever your downspouts are..  This way, your entire house acts as a collector for the rain so you can maximize the amount of water your rain barrel will catch.

While the use of a rain catchment system is an antiquated idea, when you’re in the midst of a drought and you’re able to use those extra  gallons of water for your garden, you and your plants will be grateful for every bit of time and money you spent on collecting all that rain.  The proper use of rain barrels can be a big difference maker in the success of your garden.

Rain Barrel

Sale Price:$91.97 as of 11/19/2012

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The Algreen Cascata Rain Water Collection and Storage System combines the timeless aesthetic elegance of ceramics with the enduring durability of modern plastics. This 65-gallon rainsaver is constructed from tough, roto molded plastic able to withstand extreme temperatures and will not chip, fade, or crack over time. The environmentally friendly rain barrel comes with a 6-foot garden hose with shutoff nozzle, corrosion-proof screen guard, brass spigot, and easily removable crown planter on top.

Sale Price:$168.19 as of 11/19/2012

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Embrace nature’s solution to our emerging water shortage-collect rainwater! Our authentic oak barrel texture is molded into each barrel and will not fade, rot or risk insect infestation. The RTS Accents rain barrel has many unique features including a flat back to sit flush against a wall, linkable to other rain barrels for increased capacity, screen to keep out debris and insects, and a shut off valve for hose hook up with dual overflow. 50-Gallon capacity, brown

Sale Price:$99.98 as of 11/19/2012

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The Algreen Agua Rain Water Collection and Storage System combines the timeless aesthetic elegance of ceramics with the enduring durability of modern plastics. This 50-gallon rainsaver is constructed from tough, roto molded plastic able to withstand extreme temperatures and will not chip, fade, or crack over time. The environmentally friendly rain barrel comes with a 4-foot garden hose with shutoff nozzle and corrosion-proof screen guard. The hose hangs neatly on the attached hook. The rain barr

Sale Price:$99.99

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Rain Catcher water barrel with 54 US gallon (45 Imperial gallon) capacity. Compact enough to fit on a deck or patio. Features a debris screen with child-safe lid. Designed with an overflow tube to divert excess water away. Built-in outlet hose with convenient shut-off valve. 32″ high x 24″ diameter barrel. These barrels can also be linked together for additional capacity. Each barrel includes a linking kit.

Sale Price:$95.42 as of 11/19/2012

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The RainReserve Complete Diverter System includes custom-made wood-look barrel with automatic overflow and pleasant appearance.

Sale Price:$39.00 as of 11/19/2012

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This unique rain barrel combines the contemporary aesthetic elegance of authentic stone with the enduring longevity of plastic. The rain barrel is manufactured by rotational molding plastic process and is able to withstand extreme temperatures

Sale Price:$138.97 as of 11/19/2012

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The spice granite color and interplay between rough and highly polished surfaces create an intriguing yet understated accent for your home. The flat back minimizes dead space between the barrel and your home’s exterior. The system includes a 58 Gallon Rain Barrel with a built-in base, cover, worry-free water diverter kit and threaded spigot for easy garden hose attachment, and a detailed installation guide.

Sale Price:$144.99 as of 11/19/2012

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The worry-free downspout DiverterPro Kit has an improved capture rate during heavier rains and is easier to clean and winterize. Includes removable filter to capture debris and transparent “door” to see if cleaning is required. Couplers convert from 3 X 4 inch to 2 X 3 inch gutters.The 3X 4 inch internal diameter through the entire diverter prevents gutter overflow during heavy downpours.

Sale Price:$34.23 $25.54 as of 11/19/2012

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