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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Make A Rain Barrel ~ Conserving Water

Gardening season is here! Whether you’re growing edibles, flowers, or anything in between, those plants are bound to be thirsty as temperatures heat up.

A rain barrel is a great way to keep your plants hydrated in between downpours without tapping into the municipal water system.

Survival Weekly shared an awesome video showing a simple, cheap way to construct your own rain barrel out of a 55 gallon food-grade drum:

Caring for Your Rain Barrel
Once it’s built, you can pretty much set it and forget it, but rain barrels do need a little bit of maintenance from time to time.

First, you’ll want to check the screen on top occasionally to make sure it’s still secure and that it doesn’t have any holes or tears. That little piece of screen keeps rodents and insects from getting into your rain barrel. Mosquitoes in particular are attracted to all of that standing water, and you don’t want them laying eggs in there!

This isn’t so much a concern at this time of year, but you do want to make sure to drain the water from your barrel if temperatures are going to get below freezing. The expanding water can cause the plastic to crack, damaging your barrel.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to let that water sit for too long. Try to use the water you’ve collected within a week.

About once a year, it’s a good idea to clean out your barrel. Give it a good scrub with a hard bristled brush and a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar. This will help prevent your barrel from taking on a funky smell and ensure that you’re not spreading any bacteria into your garden. This is especially important if you’re using your collected water to maintain food plants.

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L.Howerter said...

We have a 500 gallon rain barrel, so it isn't that easy to clean out. And with all the rain it seems to be always full. We don't drink the water, but if it starts to smell funky we add a little 30% hydrogen peroxide to it and the smell immediately goes away. Not only that, hydrogen peroxide is good for everything it touches except for unwanted bacteria, so it won't hurt your plants if that is what you are using it for, in fact, it will probably help them.
We also use the water for bathing and laundry. Even if you do drink the water, the peroxide won't hurt you.

Denbeath said...

thank you so much for your comment. I wouldn't want to drink from a rain barrel, pretty much just for watering veggie garden although I would use it for laundry, didn't think of that. Thanks for the peroxide hint. Good Idea.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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