Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Collecting rain water

We've had LOTS of rain lately. Many streets in town flooded and a school south of us had to close classes due to floods. Having those raised beds meant that our plants got a good soaking, but it drained right through without us having to worry about them drowning. Pshew!

But that rainwater is precious! The plants just love it compared to the water from the shower and the backyard spigot, which is a bit on the salty side. So when it rains, we try to save as much as we can.

Now, the plan is to eventually get a 150 gallon stock tank, but we're obviously not quite there yet. In the meantime, the old kitty little buckets work GREAT. That happens to be a spot in front of the kitchen window where the gutter is broken and it just pours down off the house - a perfect place for collection!

We originally only had 4 buckets out there, but the rain just wouldn't stop. I ended up spending two days  last week, running all over the house, in and out of the backyard, getting soaked in the process, pulling everything from the house that could possibly hold water - trash cans, watering can, mop bucket... Every time one of the buckets would fill, I'd move it and put an empty one in it's place. 

Sure, it's ain't pretty, and I spent two days looking like a drowned rat, but those buckets saved us several days worth of water, water we won't need from the city. And I really do believe it's all the little things we do that add up to make a big difference in the world.

What about you? Do you collect rainwater for your garden? Have you designed your own barrels? Bought them? Or are you making due like me?


Anonymous said...

You are so right "every little bit does count".

We collect rain water in two bladder tanks (rain reviva) that are hidden under our floor. We installed the system when extending our house. We had the rainwater tanks plumbed into our toilet and laundry so that we can wash clothes, flush the toilet and water the garden without feeling guilty about using drinking-quality town water. I love it. The tank does run dry a few time a year during extended periods of dry - and I sometimes let my garden die as I cannot bring myself to water the garden with drinking water :-(

Hope you have dried out....


Glenda said...

We don't get a lot of rain in our part of Texas, so my hubby has made us three rain barrels so we can capture what we can when it does rain.

He made them himself using garbage cans and a few supplies that can be had from any hardware store, and they work great. The last two he made, he set up so that one overflows into the other (we don't have gutters on our houses, so the rain is caught in areas where the roof forms a "V").

If you and your hubby want to make some yourself, I think the pics I posted on my blog should help you out, but you can always post a question if you have one and I'll get DH to answer it :).

Here's the link:

Holly said...

the city of austin sells rain barrels at a discounted price to austin home owners. usually cost over $150 but they sell them for $65. so i bought one a few years ago. it has an over flow hose and comes with it's own hose and spigot. it even has one of those wire mesh lids to keep leaves, debris out. when it fills up, it provides a lot of water for my potted plants and veggies. now that our new house has gutters all the way around, we will redirect a downspout to go right into the barrel. so glad i got one. had to get on a waiting list. as soon as they get some in, they are gone.

sharli said...

I tried the same method. It worked great until Bryce decided to pour them all out in my driveway!

Wendy said...

We just finished setting up two of our three 55-gal barrels for rain collection. They even have spigots on them. It rained today, and one of the buckets is half full. We're using it to give water to our animals, and when it's not raining, we'll use it to water the garden.

Heather @ SGF said...

Tricia - That's awesome! Is that a standard thing to do for your area or did you have to work with someone special to install it?

Glenda - Thanks for the link. Dave had been looking at videos on-line that made something very similar. It seems WAY cheaper to make them yourself.

Holly - I know the head of the city Green Program here. I might just be able to talk her into something like this. Thanks for the heads up! What a deal!

Sharli - Oops :) But he must have looked so cute doing it...

Wendy - perfect! I don't know why we were saving rain water before. I guess because before the garden, we just didn't need it much. It's sure coming in hand now though. The barrels seem to be popular.

Lisa Sharp said...

I really wish I had a rain barrel with all this rain! I'm sure it would be very full! My flowers are a bit yellow from to much water but my veggies are coming up! The green beans look great already!

I do keep my watering can out in the rain, haven't looked but I bet it's full.

Heather @ SGF said...

Lisa - good luck with those green beans! We'll have to share stories :)

Queens personal injury lawyer said...

This is a great idea. Thanks for reminding me.