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Rain barrels - Rain collection

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Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  sistabelle on 3/24/2011, 1:35 am

JUst make sure the barrels you use have been used for food grade materials.  YOu can't use barrels that have had chemicals in them.  If you go online and put rain barrel in the search engine you will also find instructions on how to make them for very little cost.  Of course you can buy the fancy dancy ones in garden centers for around $100.00.    
Rain barrels  do more than conserve, they make good sense!  WE never know what type of season we're going to have and if we have one of the dry drought type summers you will kick yourself for not building one! :cat:

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Rain Barrels

Post  westie42 on 3/24/2011, 2:04 am

Thanks for the post I just saw one for over $200 in a fancy garden center, WOW I almost didn't go any farther in that store. Someone posted to look at Craigs list for your area and I found several food grade ones there for $5 to $20 each in the 55 gal size. Hotels, hospitals and collages that have large laundries mite also be an option, not dangerous chemicals but a good rinse should clean them out. I like real food barrels better though.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/24/2011, 8:43 am

I'm was about to buy four rain barrels after the awesome idea to try craigslist but got intrigued by the 275 gallon totes. Depends on your home config but I can easily divert 3 downspouts to pour into one of these. You can find food grade ones also and they will run around $75-125. Another idea if you really want to protect your summer plants from the inevitable drought with a larger garden. Our water here is a plant unfriendly hard type (not to mention all those processed chemicals) and maybe look into that than buying a few barrels if you need more water for less money. They already come with spouts on also.

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Re: rain barrels

Post  ribarr4 on 3/24/2011, 11:07 am

If you buy totes or barrels another thing to think about is algae. You will need to paint the lighter colored barrels (white) a dark color or cover your tote with a black tarp. If you don't, depending on where you live, you could have a tote full of algae.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/24/2011, 11:10 am

Haha....my very own algae farm. Didn't think of that. Thanks. The totes are usually white but it will be in a shaded location all day. I might stick with it for now but paint black if needed. Thanks for the heads up.

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Re: rain barrels

Post  ribarr4 on 3/24/2011, 11:18 am

You might consider using a tarp. I just had a friend who started painting his and after a couple of cans only covered a small area he went and bought a small tarp. I think he cut a hole in the middle for the opening and used bungee chord to strap it down.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/24/2011, 11:28 am

Will do. I have a tarp and bungees already. free is always better !

Appreciate the advice Smile

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/24/2011, 1:06 pm

I hadn't thought of algae! The ones I have are white, but underneath my screened porch, so they are hidden from the sun. But I plan to expand this year and 1 will be hidden behind some bushes and the other will get a lot of sun. So I guess the one in the sun will have to be painted or tarped, but what do you think of the one behind the bushes? They are tall viburnum, so very leafy.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  sistabelle on 3/24/2011, 3:02 pm

I painted mine a burgundy color to blend in with my brick home. There is no reason why rain barrels need to be ugly or unsightly. I try to keep mine as attractive as possible for me AND my neighbors or guest. Just need to make sure and use it even if you get rain so you can refresh the water.

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Re: rain barrels

Post  ribarr4 on 3/25/2011, 10:36 am

I know. Black really doesn't blend with much except at night. I just noticed some of ya'll are north. In the south algae grows everywhere it gets a little light, but I don't know about shade in the north. I do know that if it gets full sun it will grow quite a lot no matter where you are. I have green and blue barrels and white totes and I get algae in all of them.

How long have you had the white ones under shade?

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Glendale-gardener on 3/25/2011, 1:18 pm

We just started with rain barrels pretty recently so I'm not sure how well they'll do in August. I don't get as hot up here in Ohio as you do but but we do get into the low 90's and we have a ton of humidity. But under my screened porch is almost 8 feet high and we have it blocked off with lattice, so it's almost like being in a shady but airy shed. We'll see how those do but I guess I should def paint the new ones going in the front. I was going to go pick them up this morning but our house got hit with a stomach bug, so I have to wait til tomorrow! There's always something!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  bullfrogbabe on 3/25/2011, 5:47 pm

It is also good to have a screened lid on top of them to keep out debris and to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in them. We don't need anymore of those! ESPECIALLY now that they can carry west nile virus and several other virus' or parasites that we don't want!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/25/2011, 9:05 pm

Well guys, yesterday checked the thread and the suggestion of craigslist got me searching. What do ya know, a local guy where I live buys them bulk and makes them for a living. We met in a mutual town today and I took two home for $50 each. I saw the same ones in out local health food store (who his company has the contract for) for $80 each.

I will probably have to shade them with something to stop them from boiling the water...LOL. Perhaps a shrub / tarp or something but went for black to try to negate the algae problem. They are food grade and were from a pickling plant.

Here they are....







Just in time for a rainy weekend !!!!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  sistabelle on 3/25/2011, 9:20 pm

MAN ! you got a good deal and beautiful barrels!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  boffer on 3/25/2011, 9:31 pm

I don't know what to do.

When you think of Seattle, do you think of rain? Truth is, Seattle gets about the same amount as Cleveland or NYC. It just takes 10x longer to come down! With so little rain coming down in July and August, any guesses whether or not rain barrels would be worthwhile? I'm on a well with high iron content, and have about 700 sf to water. Thanks.

Here is a rainfall graph for Seattle. We don't get much rain in the summer when we need it most.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Old Hippie on 3/25/2011, 11:47 pm

Boffer, I would try one anyway, especially if you can find one for cheap. It is amazing how much water you can collect during one or two rainfalls. Our house is 868 sqft. with a roof that has a four/twelve pitch. So it is not very big. But it does not take very long to fill a 45 gal. barrel. Even if you don't get enough to water your garden for the whole summer, some is better than nothing. Maybe just try a large garbage can for this summer and see how it goes.

Old hippie that I am, I just hate to see it going to waste.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/25/2011, 11:53 pm

Thanks Sista !

I used acetone cleaner (only on the outside) to clean them first and then smeared vegetable oil all over with a rag as he recommended. It helps protect the plastic somehow and also gives that new glossy shine.

I'm very happy with them and you can build off them to expand the system as needed.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/26/2011, 12:16 am

Boffer,

Sorry for the double post here, I just saw your post as I posted. As hippie said, apparently, these things are very surprising in how much they catch and how fast by all accounts. However, I am surprised by how little rainfall you get during the summer months in Stl, WA.

Trying to think outside the box here. Do you have a friend / neighbor with some additional roof space who could help out with rain catchment? and who would split the cost: win win perhaps. Also, these barrels were selling plain for only $25 each ($22 for 3 or more and $20 each for over 10 etc which made me wonder what he got them for when he buys them in bulk) without being converted for a rain barrel use (spigots, mesh catchment top etc). You are so creative and talented, I'm sure you do it for a fraction of the cost and perhaps make some money as a side job to offset gardening costs?....which are seriously denting my budget..

Craigslist has these types of operations going on all over the country it seems. I'm just not that way inclined i'm sad to report. If anyone can make this work, you can. Good luck !!

I'll do a rain dance for you this summer Very Happy

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  boffer on 3/26/2011, 1:05 am

Thank you. I have four barrels already; they're currently filled with MM. I guess I'm trying to get an idea of how long 50 gallons would last me. I have visions of them sitting there empty waiting for rain during a dry spell. I know I have plenty of roof for collection.

I might have to fill a barrel with the hose, jerry-rig a pump and hose, and try it.

I had to laugh at myself a couple times this year when I realized I was standing in the rain and watering the plants in my hoop houses!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/26/2011, 1:39 am

@boffer wrote: I guess I'm trying to get an idea of how long 50 gallons would last me.

Well I'm pretty wasteful with water which is something I really want to change, hence barrel purchase. I've tried the saucer depression in MM from sun-warmed water can etc but still, in the end, I usually just douse it with the hose ..... SIGH

If you really went by the book, cupful right at the base, I'm sure those few barrels you had would really be able to get through through ANY lean spell for a substantial length of time.....Algae farm in standing water notwithstanding hopefully.

While I'm on the subject, how many algae do I plant per SF ? didn't see that in Mel's book. I was guessing at 10 million but might thin out to just the one million after a few days Wink

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RE: rain barrels

Post  Goosegirl on 3/26/2011, 7:15 am

@staf74 wrote:.....Algae farm in standing water notwithstanding hopefully.

While I'm on the subject, how many algae do I plant per SF ? didn't see that in Mel's book. I was guessing at 10 million but might thin out to just the one million after a few days Wink

I was thinking...throw a couple of those little algae-eating sucker catfish in the barrel and let them add fish pee and fish poo to the water!

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/26/2011, 9:36 am

Also check with local soda manufacturing places, sometimes one in our area lets the barrels go for $5 each, that's a 55 gal barrel. Boffer keep your eyes open, you are resourcefull enough to find something, and some water collected is cheaper than no water collected. It's kinda like when I see someone leave their car running, I remind them the get 0 miles per gallon that way. Free is always good, free water is even better, you'll find something.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Old Hippie on 3/26/2011, 10:42 am

@Goosegirl wrote:
@staf74 wrote:.....Algae farm in standing water notwithstanding hopefully.

While I'm on the subject, how many algae do I plant per SF ? didn't see that in Mel's book. I was guessing at 10 million but might thin out to just the one million after a few days Wink

I was thinking...throw a couple of those little algae-eating sucker catfish in the barrel and let them add fish pee and fish poo to the water!

hey I like that idea!

Gwynn

ps. g girl, I love the little poem in your signature line.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  Goosegirl on 3/26/2011, 11:25 am

@Old Hippie wrote:
@Goosegirl wrote:
@staf74 wrote:.....Algae farm in standing water notwithstanding hopefully.

While I'm on the subject, how many algae do I plant per SF ? didn't see that in Mel's book. I was guessing at 10 million but might thin out to just the one million after a few days Wink

I was thinking...throw a couple of those little algae-eating sucker catfish in the barrel and let them add fish pee and fish poo to the water!

hey I like that idea!

Gwynn

ps. g girl, I love the little poem in your signature line.


to the ps Gwynn - The first part of the poem is part of a longer poem I memorized in elementary school, unknown author. The 2 weeks of summer? Well, that is just where I live! Since you are z-3b, do you get both weeks of summer or only one? (or less? Rolling Eyes )

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

Post  staf74 on 3/26/2011, 1:49 pm

Did I say a rainy weekend ??

It hasn't stopped. Both barrels were full to the brim in no time. The overflow valve is working overtime. If I had more, they'd be full too. Alas, budget won't allow. I'll build on more in the fall.

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Re: Rain barrels - Rain collection

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