Friday, June 09, 2006

Rain Barrel

It's raining outside so I'm going to talk about my new rain barrel.
I hated gardening when I was back in Kansas. Just a big area of dirt/mud full of weeds and bugs out in the heat and the sun. Now that I'm in the city I have all sorts of plants. I keep planting whatever seeds I get from apples, pears, lemons, and some select things I want from the hardware store. I have a prickly pear that I got as a gift a few years back and had to be expanded into a new pot this year. I have spearment that I transplanted from my old apartment. And my non-edible item is some hen and chicks I got from Grandma's yard.
I think the key is that everything is in a pot so I can move it around and don't actually have to get in the dirt. But, being in pots they run out of water faster than they would in the soil. And around July-August they're gonna BAKE. Last year I'd come home every day and have to throw around a few gallons of water so the leaves would uncurl.

This year I installed a rain barrel in the back yard. You can go for the professional varieties shown here ( ) but I'm cheap so I built my own.
I got a 44 gallon trash can from Home Depot, got a garden hose... thingy (goes on the side of the house to attach a hose to), something to screw on the back of the attachment, and a bunch of caulk. A few inches from the bottom of the barrel, as low as possible but high enough to get a pitcher under it, I cut a hole and put the hose attachermabob through. Put on a generous amount of caulk and attach the bit that screws on to make sure the spout can't be pulled out. Then cut a hole in the lid and reroute the drainpipe into the top of the barrel. For mine the hole and the rerouting tube are a perfect fit. Others put a screen over the hole and just let the water run in. This helps catch debris and keep out bugs. My primary concern is the bugs. I've got enough mosquitos without giving them a breeding pond.
The barrel filled up fast with my tiny little roof. I really should have 2 or 3 daisy chained together so the runoff from one fills the next.

But now I have free water for my plants and take some pressure off the residential water filtration system.

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