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Watering from rain barrels

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Watering from rain barrels

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/22/2011, 9:24 pm

I was just wondering if anyone else uses rain barrels. Of course, using rain barrels works just fine for the Mel method of dippering the water under each plant, but from reading this forum, I'm guessing very few people do that! I'm starting out with only 3 beds at 3'x6' each and I have a lot of pots and large containers for the more bushy plants I don't want to waste bed space with. So with this amount of bed space, I figure I can handle the watering by hand this year but I would love to figure out a way to use drip irrgation from my rain barrel. I found some website that sells irrigation supplies that sells a kit for "low-flow" situations but I didn't want to spend the $ on it not knowing how well it performed. I guess I could also look more closely at a pump for it but I'd have to get my engineer husband and some of his frinds to figure out how to make it kick on at the same time as a hose timer to water stuff, then turn off when it's supposed to. It's all very confusing!

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Timers

Post  barmstr on 3/22/2011, 9:28 pm

Have a timer for the pump only if it is just watering the beds. No need for a hose timer. Post some pictures of your setup. Sounds great.
Bruce

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/22/2011, 10:49 pm

If I have a hose coming out of the rain barrel, wouldn't the water just run out if it wasn't timed to open the hose? :scratch:

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  nancy on 3/23/2011, 10:17 am

You are going to think I'm crazy (and you may very well be right). I have one 55-gal. rain barrel on my back porch. My garden is a mile away at the community garden. So I fill 6-7 milk jugs every evening and put them in the car. On my way home from work I stop at the garden and water. Then repeat for the next day. I don't use the faucet on the barrel, I just reach right in and fill the jugs. It's a lot of work but there is no water source down there. Well, there is a creek, but getting to it involves a steep hill and I'm just not graceful enough and it's on the far other side of the garden. My goal for this year was to get one or two more barrels to keep at the garden. They won't have a gutter to fill them, but with no lid I think they would fill fine. Many other gardeners do this down there. I found mine through craigslist 2 years ago and ended up buying it from a lady in Colerain Township for $45. I had a few mishaps last year - when the car got really hot, the lids wouldn't stay tight. I had a wet trunk several times. I think I needed to replace the jugs on a regular basis. And I run out of water after 10 days. Another good reason for more! When I think of all the water I could have collected so far this year, it makes me want to cry! But I love not paying GCWW for the water!

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  florenceq on 3/23/2011, 11:10 am

@nancy wrote:snip.....You are going to think I'm crazy (and you may very well be right). I have one 55-gal. rain barrel on my back porch. My garden is a mile away at the community garden. So I fill 6-7 milk jugs every evening and put them in the car.

Nancy,
Your post reminded me of my great grandma and aunt. Every year my mom would send us to South Texas to stay with them for the summer (free daycare for a single mom). When it rained we would put out 5 - 6 empty trash cans all around the yard to collect rains for watering plants. When the rain stopped or the cans were full, it was our job (my sister and I) to dip old milk jugs in and fill them up. We would race to see who could fill the most! Ah......the simple days!

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  CindiLou on 3/23/2011, 11:25 am

I have three rain barrels for my watering needs. My hubby sacrificed his wooden wine barrels for them after he found out how potent his rhubarb wine was lol! Two come off downspouts of the house. These I use for my herb bed and will use for my 2 2x4 salad beds and many many potted plants. My hubby also uses them for his plants in the garden railroad. The third barrel he set up from the downspout on the large shed by my veggie garden. This is for 3 4x4 beds and several potted veggies. I use 5-gal buckets for tomatoes, luffa, zucchini, and squash. This year I am going to grow the luffa and zucchini on an old swing frame. Hubby does not want them on his buildings rofl...

I do the bucket/dipper method. This is easy to do and helps me keep better track of what the garden is up to!

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  madnicmom on 3/23/2011, 11:38 am

I guess I'm Mrs. El Cheapo. LOL!! I literally cut the downspout off the back downspout and have a 32 gal trashcan collecting my water. Yeah, when its full it runs over. I'm ok with that for now. Next year will be the year to officially get rain barrels but until then I don't have to pay City of Trenton for water on my garden. I also picked up a sump pump at Menards to pump the water out for me. LOL. I hand watered last year from the trashcan and it's too time consuming with 3 kids, work and now a dog to take care off.

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/23/2011, 3:25 pm

Great to hear there are some rain collectors! I'm thinking of expanding and getting a couple more now that I'll be using more water for gardening. It seems silly to pay the City of Glendale for water used outside when so much is delivered for free! I could put one near my compost bin and another hidden behind some front bushes. That one would also solve a water problem because that is the only downspout that doesn't go to an underground thing to get the water away from the house. It just dumps the water 2 feet from the house, not good. I guess this year I'll see how it goes with buckets dipped in. I'm just concerned about watering if we are away for a few days. Luckily, we don't have any trips planned this year for the dry period of hot summer, no where at all until September. How long can you be away in that weather without watering?

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rain barrels

Post  sistabelle on 3/23/2011, 6:25 pm

WE've been using rain barrels for several years. You can determine the flow of your water by how high you put it. If it is ground level the water will come out very slowly. If you want any water pressure you need to raise the barrel by putting bricks or cinder blocks under it. You can also determine the flow by raising or lowering the hose. Or, as someone else stated, you can just fill up watering cans. Hooking up a dripper hose along the rows and letting gravity do it's thing is also so low tech! THe flow would be determined by the height of the barrel.

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/23/2011, 6:34 pm

SistaBelle


Very glad to "meet" you and so glad you found us.

In another post you stated you have garden for some time. Are you currently using the Square Foot Gardening Method? We find it to be very user friendly.

Please let us know how your garden is progressing, and just so you know, we I love you photos.

Again, Welcome!

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  sistabelle on 3/23/2011, 6:41 pm

YEs, this will be my first year using the SFG method. I've used raised beds before but not with Mel's mix or the a barrier on the bottom. I'm hoping for a bumper crop and to never turn back!
thanks! Laughing

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/23/2011, 7:26 pm

@SistaBelle wrote:I'm hoping for a bumper crop and to never turn back!

I like your attitude!

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Dunkinjean on 3/23/2011, 9:17 pm

I have been wanting to get a rain barrel for the past year. I even put it on my Christmas list! LOL Very Happy

My husband thinks I am crazy, but I feel there is so much water waste if we don't use one.

We also pay for our water so that is another reason to get a rain barrel for my garden.

Has anyone found a rain barrel that was a reasonable cost?

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/23/2011, 9:29 pm

if you have Craigslist in your city, check there first. i got mine through a guy I found on there for $12 each. There is also a winery in my city that sells off their used plastic drums for $10 a piece so you might try calling wineries, or any other place that would require large quantities of fruit, like pickle plants, factories of pie filling, etc..

just make sure the drums were previously used for food or soap only. some were filled with oil or even chemicals

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Dunkinjean on 3/23/2011, 9:55 pm

Thank you Glendale-gardener!

I will check craigslist and call some wineries!! Laughing

Dunkinjean

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  CindiLou on 3/23/2011, 10:33 pm

You can't see much of the barrel under the cover but you can see the bricks hubby raised it up on. Each of my three barrels are raised this way.

The ice was how our weather was in December 2009! Gotta love winter.



Last edited by CindiLou on 3/23/2011, 10:35 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : forgot the darn picture rofl...)

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Rain Water

Post  westie42 on 3/23/2011, 11:05 pm

This is my first year doing SFG but have gardened for 40+ years. At 70 it is time to cut back the big garden space and try to simplify wherever possible. I plan on three 55 gal barrels on my long back roof and two on the front roof it will be about 60 feet to the garden so may bury PEX lines out there to a hydrant and blow them dry in the fall with my air compressor. Not sure yet about a pump or using drip lines. On YOUTUBE there are numerous good videos about hooking up multiple barrels to fill from a single down spout or whatever and how to make roof debris traps as well as making overflow arrangements. They are worth looking up as are also many SFG videos. Sewer charges in most places are based on water consumption and are actually higher per gallon than the water is so it always feels good to deny any utility a chance to billin me.

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Old Hippie on 3/23/2011, 11:17 pm

I use rain barrels too. We started off with two 45-gal barrels but doubled that last year and hope to add more this year. They are plastic barrels that had laundry soap in them at the hospital. We rescued them from going to the landfill. A local hobby brew place sells food grade ones for $25.00 each. If I was into paying for them I would get them there.

I water by hand with a watering can from my barrels. We put a tap in the bottom of each one. One of them we have a soaker hose connected to and it is dedicated to watering the cedar hedge. I have another one out front so it is handy for the tomato planter and front flower beds. The other double barrels are beside the garden. This summer we want to add some to the garage. It seems such a shame to let all that water just go down the storm drain. I don't pay for water yet, but it is something our city is talking about.

The warm, non-chlorinated water is so much better for the plants. All last summer, rain water was all I used. Rain barrels....I love them.


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RE: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Goosegirl on 3/24/2011, 7:43 am

For the last two years I used a rain barrel for some of my watering, until the barrel died. It was actually just an extra 30 gallon trash can that I conveniently located under the gutter where the seam sealant had failed and it always POURED a steady stream of water straight down onto our back patio. Used the 'dip & dump' method and it supplied water for a good portion of my garden. This year I want to put a few barrels behind our storage shed and attach rain chains to fill them.

I was also toying with adding some extra PVC pipes and a valve onto our plumbing system to make a mini graywater system from the shower to the garden, but I have since read that graywater should not be used on vegetables so I have shelved the idea for now - but I have to say that for much of the last 2 seasons I did the 'dip & dump' from bathwater to tomatoes with no ill effects, and I had absolutely NO insect problems with my 'maters!

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/24/2011, 8:48 am

I think those who say don't use graywater say so becaue of the soaps and chemicals in our cleaners. My husband and I have considered soing something similar to what the 3 tank septic systems with a sprinkler on the end to. 3 burried tanks (or 55 gallon drums) connected so that any heavy particles fall to the bottom of the first and second tank. They have tested the water that comes out of the sprinkler on those septic systems, the water that comes out is as cleans as or in some cases cleaner then, the water that comes from the tap. Generations have used bath and dish water to water their food and survivied. One concern I have is one of my home made cleaners (kinda like a comet cleaner) contains salt, that would be a problem with veggies, so we may install a filter. Switching to more natural products may be something to consider. Also keep in mind some of those who tell you not to use graywater also tell you chemicals in and on your food is fine.

I have read that if you have shingles on your roof you should not collect water for food, there is asphalt in those shingles.

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  Goosegirl on 3/24/2011, 9:53 am

That is basically what I figured. I use homemade cleaners almost exclusively, and none of them contain anything that wouldn't be found in shower, bath, or dish water.

As far as asphalt, the water from my house roof and the roof of my shed all basically drain into or thru the garden area anyway, so I am already asphalt paved! I may just go ahead with the gray water piping later on this spring 9or next year - that may be a bit more than Hubby can wrap his mind around this year! I am starting to understand how Mom always felt when Dad would come home from the lumber yard. He gets that same glazed look when I come home with assorted building paraphernalia!

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/24/2011, 10:02 am

Just a word of caution, check into zoning laws if you are inside city limits, my husband told me that even where we are in the country using graywater was one of those things that they don't really inforce, but you are not supposed to use it for food, even if you don't take them to market, which we do not do, but want to eventually. We have some improvements to make before we do that, the health department comes out, inspects your place, and says yes you can sell eggs and go to market to sell produce. I'm thinking just using word of mouth and letting the neighbors that don't grow their own stop buy and get what they want.

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  ashort on 3/24/2011, 10:10 am

I haven't heard any concern from anyone about chemicals coming from their composition asphalt shingles... Is this a real concern or just balderdash?

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/24/2011, 10:16 am

It's more of a concern that is worth looking into. Little pieces of the shingles break off and get in the water. It is supposed to be fine for watering your lawn, but not a great idea for your food, which is why we are looking into a filter for it, we live in a mobile home, but it has a shingle roof. Most of us here use untreated lumber (I'm not yet in that group, using what we had, landscape timbers) so it makes sense to look into pouring water that may have asphalt in it, into our garden. I'm not saying don't do it, or stop if you are doing it, just saying you may want to look into it a bit more.

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

Post  ribarr4 on 3/24/2011, 10:59 am

You know quite a while back I tried to find info. about any ill-effects of shingle water, but could never find anything that convinced me either way. We used it for 10 years and when we had kids they took over the "water tower" that I had built to collect rain water off of the roof to use as a fort. Now they are older and never use it so today I am hoisting a 275 gallon tank back up there and reclaim it. We have used city water for the last 8 years and when we water with city water we get marginal growth, but the day after a good rain the plants really respond and pop right up.

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Re: Watering from rain barrels

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