rainy days and rain barrels
rainy days and rain barrels

rainy days and rain barrels

While I’m not so happy about starting my weekend in rain after a beautifully sunny week, I’m grateful for the water to nurture our Spring crops.  Since we remodeled our house, I’ve got to figure out a new system for rainwater collection so will be taking advantage of this grey day to do a little research.  ~cameron

rainy seedlings

Oh yeah!  Finally, the rain is coming down, and the plants are slurping up ever last drop.  Little, dry seeds are sending up a chorus of “Hurrah!” Spring rain blesses each new leaf with a promise of growth, and for anyone with allergies, washes away all that sticky yellow film of pollen and leaves a clean, crisp view of the world.

But, the time will come when mornings will grow hot and afternoons will be dry.  Plants will wilt under the pressure of heavy, humid air.  So how do you keep them watered without spending a lot of money and, more importantly, while supporting the environment?  Yep, rain containers.

Barrels, buckets, bins, and bottles–they all can collect and contain the excess rain when showers become few and far between.  There are many options out there–items that can be purchased, recycled or upcycled to create simple systems for keeping your gardens producing great tasting food and stunningly beautiful flowers.

So, how to plan for what kind of water containment system you need?  Consider these issues:

1.  Do you already have items that you can use as a water container?  Large buckets make quick and easy rain catchers.

2.  Are you handy and want to build a water barrel?   Go for it!  There are plenty of great sites online with easy to understand directions.

3.  Is distance an issue?  Even though I have a little suburban farm, some of my neediest veggies would require lots and lots of hose to reach them.  For me, using smaller containers that can be transported in my wheelbarrow are more realistic.

4.  Do you have place to collect the water?  Gutters that can feed into a barrel?  Run off from a shed roof?   Get an umbrella and head outside and look around.  You may even have a neighbor who would let you borrow a gutter too!

5.  Do you have insects in your area that will breed in standing water?  In the South (USA), mosquitoes will multiply in a hot minute given a tablespoon of still water.  You may need netting or screen over openings to keep those critters from causing issues.

6.  Are you concerned about aesthetics?  If you want something with curb appeal then a recycled water cooler bottle propped up on cinder blocks may not be the greatest option at the end of your gutter.   There are some great options both to purchase or make that are beautiful and functional.

7.  How much water do you need on hand?  If you get regular rain and just need a bit here and there, then size and shape of containers will be much different than those used by folks who go weeks or months at a time without the wet stuff.

Finally, how much of the green stuff do you want to spend to collect the wet stuff?  Me, I’m an upcycling kind of girl–I’ve already found some water cooler jugs that I’m going to place under a trough that catches water from my shed.  But you, you may want to use those bucks for some rain swag.  So whether you go green or spend green, you’re doing something good for the earth while saving a bit of money (for a rainy day)!

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