Rain barrels come in various styles - this is actually one of my favorites. Photo by Ken_Mayer under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Rain barrels let you take advantage of a free, natrual resource. Photo by fireballsedai under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
Now this is a fancy rain barrel... Photo by srqpix under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
I’m sorry that I had to resort to using the “C” word, but it got your attention, am I right?
Guess what’s on my Christmas list besides garden hoses on steroids? Yup – rain barrels! I thought about asking for just one, but I really need two and it can’t hurt to ask. Aside from compost bins – which I have in spades, I can’t think of anything more useful for my gardens next season than rain barrels.
If you haven’t had a chance to check one out, here’s how they work. A cool, giant barrel (they come in many sizes and colors) are set up at the bottom of a down spout of your home. Some have screens at the water entrance to keep the water a bit cleaner as it’s captured from the roof; some don’t. In any case, the barrels have spigots attached near the bottom of the barrel for easy access to your harvested water during the warm months.
Water from the sky is naturally soft and is mineral, chlorine, and chemical-free, which is excellent stuff for watering your landscape and garden. When rain water isn’t collected, it falls from the roof and becomes storm water runoff…and why would we want to throw away this free, natural resource?
How to Build a Rain Barrel
Be sure to look around and compare the prices and features of various rain barrels. Check your local hardware stores, garden centers, as well as the bigger chains like Home Depot. Don’t forget to surf the net and flip through garden catalogs, too. If you’re the handy sort or live with a handy sort; you can even construct your own! Winter after winter I’ve watched my fellow gardener clap their hands with joy at the arrival of their new rain barrels – this year is going to be my year
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