Collecting Rainwater for Gardens
The simplest method for harvesting rainwater is with rain barrels. Using rain barrels does not involve any special plumbing. It can be purchased and prices range from about $90 to $300 or more, depending on the aesthetics and design. Here’s a really good one with great design and functionality at a great price.
How do you collect rainwater for use in the garden?
On a basic level, there are five components which include a catchment surface which is something the water runs off such as your roof, gutters and downspouts which will help direct the flow for rainwater collection, a basket filter with a fine screen to keep debris and bugs from your rain barrel. The barrel should be wide enough and have a removable lid for easy cleaning. The last component for collecting rainwater for your garden is a spigot installed low on the barrel which will get the water to your garden. An additional spigot can be placed higher on the drum for filling watering cans.
Most importantly, there should be a stand under these barrels so you can put something under the spout to collect water for use. Otherwise the spout will be too close to the ground. Some barrels have spout further up but the water can’t be used when below spout level.
Top 9 Benefits of Rain Barrels
Did you know rain barrels have many benefits? Beyond the obvious, here are top 9 benefits of using a rain barrel in gardening:
- Rainwater is good for your garden soil and plants. Highly oxygenated, rainwater is free from salts, fluoride compounds, and inorganic ions contained in tap water which accumulates in the soil over a period of time and causes harm to the roots of your plants. Using rainwater in your garden dilutes the impact of this process and makes plants healthy, strong, and more drought-tolerant.
- In drought or restricted water flow, you will have your own water source if you collect rainwater. With this, you will be able to keep up with watering and nurturing your garden with reserves from your rain barrel.
- Rainwater harvesting reduces runoff pollution. When it rains, runoff often pushes soil, pesticides, oil, fertilizer, and other contaminants into other parts of the landscape. These contaminants can make oceans and lakes dangerous for recreational activities, alter the habitat for fishes and sea animals, and even increase algae growth in lakes. Harvesting rainwater halts this damaging flow.
- It contributes to erosion prevention. Rain runoff is also a major issue in places where land erosion is a problem. Your rainwater collection will be especially helpful in such cases.
- It will also cut down on the amount of water that has to undergo costly sewage treatments. Collecting rainwater and putting it directly to use on your garden removes the need for this processing cycle.
- Because rainwater does not have the chemicals and salt found in tap water, you will have a fresh, safe way for your pets and also to wash your cars.
- Rainwater is also an eco-friendly option that keeps compost moist. Adding tap water to your compost is unsuitable for this sustainability practice; better to use rainwater instead.
- It’ll help control the moisture levels in the foundations of your house. Collecting rainwater in barrels before it hits the ground will prevent damping, flooding and mold.
- Harvesting rainwater will reduce your water bill. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, lawn and garden watering accounts for 40% of residential water use in summer. With a rain barrel, a gardener can save up to 1,300 gallons of water during a growing season.
Harvesting rain water has numerous benefits and making use of a durable rain barrel is important for this process.