Using a rain barrel is a great way to conserve water and keep your garden watered for free. 

 It saves one of our most important resources and making a rain barrel is really not that difficult.  With just a couple of simple steps you can make your own.

You will need

 a plastic barrel

 a drill, a hole bit (the size of your spigot)

 2 spigots

 a short length of flexible downspout

 2 hoses

pvc glue

and a jigsaw.

First you need to find a plastic barrel.  (We were lucky enough to be given a large plastic barrel that is used to store milk on a farm.)

Drill a hole about 6 inches from the bottom, (bring your spigots to the hardware store and find a drill bit to match the size of it)

Insert the spigot and seal it with PVC glue.

We also suggest installing a second spigot about 6 inches from the top – that way any overflow can go into a hose directed away from the house. Rain barrels fill up surprisingly fast.

If you like, put a coat or two of paint on your barrel (suitable for plastic).  Choose a color that makes it blend in well to your background.  Then you will hardly notice it while it works for you.

After you select the site for your rain barrel, cut your house downspout  about two to three feet higher than the height of the rainbarrel.     (plus the hight of the cinderblocks.)

Cut a hole in the top of the rain barrel that fits the flexible downspout.

 (*You could of course place your house downspout straight into the rain barrel if you can fit it in without being flexed a bit)

Place the rain barrel on top of a couple of cinder blocks to enhance the power of gravity for hose pressure.

 Insert the flexible downspout into the barrel and then fit the flexible downspout onto your  house downspout.

Next connect your hoses.  (We chose to put a soaker hose on the bottom spigot  so it automatically waters an area under our pine trees that is often untouched by rain.  We also added a regular hose to the top of the rain barrel spigot that will direct any water that overfills the barrel to another location that hardly gets any water.)  Or you can choose to let it fill up and use the water when you need it with a watering can or attaching a regular hose when you need it.

Now sit back and get ready to collect that free run off water that usually ends up washing away down the sewer.

This is really an easy project but if you are not a do it yourself type of person, there are many rain barrels on the market that aren’t very expensive and you can set up easily.

“Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.”  ~Roger Miller

Going green always makes me think about Kermit the frog singing” it’s not easy being green”.  kermit-the-frog

The truth is, it is easy.   It reminds me of how my mother in law and grandmother did things.  There was little waste in those households.  My mother in law kept a cut open milk carton on the counter where she kept all the food scraps.    At the time, I had no idea what the heck she saved it for.  I thought she didn’t want to clog her sink.  Talk about oblivious…hey I was young.  Now I realize she was composting.  Living in the city with neighbors all around I always hesitated because I thought putting it at the back of the yard, they would mind.  I don’t have the ten acres to keep it far away from my house and theirs but it doesn’t have to be the nasty business people  imagine and there is nothing better for your garden than the “liquid gold” it will produce.   I also worried, as I am sure many gardeners do, that  my dog would have a field day rolling around in the decomposing muck.  There are such great composters you can get now that seal it up where dogs and all the other earthly creatures I have imagined lurking around can’t get to it.  rain-barrel1

 Last year my husband and I put in a rain barrel.  We built it ourselves from a plastic milk barrel.  I painted it the color of my house and it is barely visible.  It was easy to do  and I loved having water on the other side of my house.  Huge pine trees that hover over my front yard make it impossible for rain to really soak into my shrubs and flowers planted below.  Now a soaker hose running from my rain-barrel keeps them watered well.  It doesn’t take much rain at all to fill it up when you consider it’s from the roof of the house.  That’s all the less water I have to supply and pay for.  We will be adding another rain barrel this spring since we are so happy with the results of the first one.  I really like having it.rain-barrel-hidden

Having a vegetable garden has been a joy to us since we moved here 3 years ago.  Where we used to live, shade gardening was all I could do.  An enormous sugar maple umbrella protected my entire yard from the sun.  Needless to say my attempts at growing tomatoes were fruitless…literally.  It has been an experience to have this garden because now my husband has stepped up and is having more fun than I am growing yummy vegetables.  The extra help with the harvesting and care has been great.  He loves to be out there which gives us something else we do together. It’s so nice to be able to share gardening with him~ as well as the work.  He treats those vegetables as if he bore them himself.  The proud father of some delicious produce. We garden organically and have really enjoyed producing food for our family as well as friends with vegetables that are healthier.  It’s so nice to go out to the garden and pick the food that’s for dinner.  In my flower beds I also keep away from all poisons to the earth.  We have been pretty lucky as far as bug control.  The worse are the slugs and the Japanese beetles.  But even they are manageable with a bit of perseverance and a tray of beer for the slugs. 

All in all I am trying to become more Earth conscious in everything I do~ from picking products with less waste in their packaging to  being diligent  at recycling and considering the effects of our choices.  I am hoping my kids will learn from example how to treat this wonderful planet we live on.  So, Kermit, being green can be easy if we just use our common sense and maybe a bit more conscience and effort.

~”It’s not that easy being green…It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?  Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!  And I think it’s what I want to be.” ~Kermit the Frog

 

Going green always makes me think about Kermit the frog singing” it’s not easy being green”.  kermit-the-frog

The truth is, it is easy.   It reminds me of how my mother in law and grandmother did things.  There was little waste in those households.  My mother in law kept a cut open milk carton on the counter where she kept all the food scraps.    At the time, I had no idea what the heck she saved it for.  I thought she didn’t want to clog her sink.  Talk about oblivious…hey I was young.  Now I realize she was composting.  Living in the city with neighbors all around I always hesitated because I thought putting it at the back of the yard, they would mind.  I don’t have the ten acres to keep it far away from my house and theirs but it doesn’t have to be the nasty business people  imagine and there is nothing better for your garden than the “liquid gold” it will produce.   I also worried, as I am sure many gardeners do, that  my dog would have a field day rolling around in the decomposing muck.  There are such great composters you can get now that seal it up where dogs and all the other earthly creatures I have imagined lurking around can’t get to it.  rain-barrel1

 Last year my husband and I put in a rain barrel.  We built it ourselves from a plastic milk barrel.  I painted it the color of my house and it is barely visible.  It was easy to do  and I loved having water on the other side of my house.  Huge pine trees that hover over my front yard make it impossible for rain to really soak into my shrubs and flowers planted below.  Now a soaker hose running from my rain-barrel keeps them watered well.  It doesn’t take much rain at all to fill it up when you consider it’s from the roof of the house.  That’s all the less water I have to supply and pay for.  We will be adding another rain barrel this spring since we are so happy with the results of the first one.  I really like having it.rain-barrel-hidden

Having a vegetable garden has been a joy to us since we moved here 3 years ago.  Where we used to live, shade gardening was all I could do.  An enormous sugar maple umbrella protected my entire yard from the sun.  Needless to say my attempts at growing tomatoes were fruitless…literally.  It has been an experience to have this garden because now my husband has stepped up and is having more fun than I am growing yummy vegetables.  The extra help with the harvesting and care has been great.  He loves to be out there which gives us something else we do together. It’s so nice to be able to share gardening with him~ as well as the work.  He treats those vegetables as if he bore them himself.  The proud father of some delicious produce. We garden organically and have really enjoyed producing food for our family as well as friends with vegetables that are healthier.  It’s so nice to go out to the garden and pick the food that’s for dinner.  In my flower beds I also keep away from all poisons to the earth.  We have been pretty lucky as far as bug control.  The worse are the slugs and the Japanese beetles.  But even they are manageable with a bit of perseverance and a tray of beer for the slugs. 

All in all I am trying to become more Earth conscious in everything I do~ from picking products with less waste in their packaging to  being diligent  at recycling and considering the effects of our choices.  I am hoping my kids will learn from example how to treat this wonderful planet we live on.  So, Kermit, being green can be easy if we just use our common sense and maybe a bit more conscience and effort.

~”It’s not that easy being green…It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why?  Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful!  And I think it’s what I want to be.” ~Kermit the Frog

Earth Day is  April 22, 2010.

Visit Jan at Thanks for Today to read other posts on sustainable living. 

   Although we have had so much rain that I have hardly had to water so far this year, I am anxious to do my part in conserving our precious resource while preventing excess water runoff into our water supplies. Not to mention my water bill arrived this month and it is outrageous.  Also I have a couple of huge pine trees that hover over the front of our house that make it impossible for any rain to get to my garden that lies beneath them, especially right next to the house.  We decided to put a rain barrel  there to keep that front watered.  I  welcome a hose right there since it is on the opposite side of my house from the regular hoserain-barrelMy friend Debbie was looking into getting a rain barrel, but after researching and finding out just how expensive they were – we both decided we would take her Dad up on his offer of getting us a couple of used barrels.  He got the blue plastic milk barrels from his neighbor who has a dairy farm.

After getting mine, my husband was able to do a couple of simple alterations, and we were on our way to having our own home- made rain barrel. We rinsed it out to get rid of any milk residue, then drilled a hole about 6 inches from the bottom, inserted the spigot and sealed it with PVC glue.  He installed a second spigot about 6 inches from the top – that way any overflow can go into a hose directed away from the house. Next, a coat or two of paint (suitable for plastic), and a hole in the top that fits the downspout we are putting it under. We installed it on a couple of stone blocks to enhance the power of gravity to run the hose.   rain-barrel-with-overflow-hook-up

The color makes it blends in well to the background so you can hardly see it.  Now we are ready to collect that free run off water that usually ends up flooding my basement. 

rain-barrel-hidden Click here for a terrific video that shows you how to make a rain barrel

 

dahlia-watermark

 

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.  ~Roger Miller