Collecting rainwater is a no brainer for the gardener since you can never have enough of the stuff. Harvesting the rain means you can cut down on your water bill which is always a good thing. While you can buy a rain barrel from the store, it is perfectly easy to make one yourself. I came across an article by Anna Burke over on the Dave’s Garden website which shows five ways you can make your own rain barrel.
Imagine eliminating most of your gardening water bill with a simple DIY project.
Rainwater collection is almost as old as civilization itself. Ancient peoples collected rainwater from natural rock catchments using pots, woven baskets, and pools, and it wasn’t long before man-made collection systems for drinking and agricultural purposes developed. You can make use of this technology for your garden by building a simple rain barrel to harvest runoff from your gutters.
In wetter climates, rainwater collection can significantly offset and even replace conventional water sources in your garden, and in dryer areas a rain barrel still lowers your water bill and reduces your water usage.
Basic Rain Barrel Components
At its most basic, a rain barrel is any container that collects rainwater. A bucket shoved under a downspout will collect water during a rainstorm. Ideally, your rain barrel should be a little more advanced than the bucket system. Open rain barrels allow dirt, sunlight, and mosquitoes into your rain barrel. Dirt clogs your faucet and contaminates your water. Sunlight encourages algae to grow, similarly clogging your barrel and contaminating water. Worst of all are the mosquitoes. Nobody wants to breed a mosquito swarm in their backyard.
The three basic components of a rain barrel are 1) a way for water to enter the barrel, 2) an overflow component, and 3) a faucet. Most of these designs also require a drill, caulk, and a few pieces of hardware from the store.
Laundry Detergent Rain Jug
Most of us own a small rain barrel without realizing it. Large laundry detergent jugs already come with a little spigot (where the detergent comes out) and an overflow valve (the cap). All you need to do is cut a hole in the top for the downspout, like this Reader’s Digest article illustrates, and you have a mini rain barrel for your garden. This is a good solution for rental properties where altering your downspout might irritate your landlord.