As I type this post, I’m listing to the gentle pitter patter of rain falling outside of my window. I’m thrilled because I planted seeds yesterday and I know today my seeds and my plants are getting a nice drink of pure and rich rain water. There’s nothing like rain water to perk up a plant. Not only will this rain be nourishing my plants today, but it will also be watering my plants for the weeks to come.
A few years ago we got smart and started collecting this fabulous rain water to water our garden instead of relying on the hose. We found that the hose water just basically kept them alive, while the rain water really made the plants thrive. Never in my life did I think I would be a rain collector, but it ended up being a no-brainer for us to set up a rain collection system.
Benefits of a rain water collection system
Health of plants
Rain isn’t treated with chlorine, fluoride and other ingredients like hose water. Plants thrive on the soft and pure rain water. Why mess with natural design?
It’s free. It costs nothing for me to collect rain water. Other than the collection drum itself (which was about $60), it’s a free ongoing system. My water bill doesn’t go sky high in the summer like it used to when I relied on water from my faucets.
Helps with Rain water run off
Our yard tends to flood when we get large amounts of rain. Our sewer company actually started a campaign to collect rainwater to alleviate this problem.
With water disappearing in some states, conserving water is a huge issue. Everyone collecting some water, even if it’s a little, would help the issue. Even though I live in an area that doesn’t have a water shortage, I don’t want to waste any resources that I’ve been given.
How to set up a Simple Rain Collection System
- Identify a gutter to place your rain barrel: Ours is on the side of our sunroom on the back of our house. The roof is metal and composite material so we thought it would be a better option than collecting it from the shingle roofs. It’s also on the back of our house so it isn’t a visual distraction to the front of our home.
- Obtain a rain barrel: We got ours from our sewer company. They were selling them with an incentive several years ago. Rain barrels come in many different materials so you may want to research what best suits your needs.
- Create a solid base: We used simple cinder blocks that we had from a previous project. You could use a variety of materials as long as it is sturdy. We also wanted ours raised a bit to make it easier to drain rain water.
- Line up the down spout to the barrel: This may take a bit of work and you may have to purchase an angled piece to get the right angle but it shouldn’t be too difficult.
- Do something about overflow: In case of overflow you want the water to run away from your house so you will need an overflow spout on the top to direct the water away. We simply attached an overflow spout on the top with a hose attachment. I have also seen people link barrels together for overflow. For our needs one barrel is enough and a simple hose is sufficient.
- Install a filter basket to catch debris: You don’t want debris and bugs like mosquitoes in your barrel so you will need some type of screen to catch them.
- Attach a hose to the bottom spicket: We just have a simple hose that we use to fill up our watering cans. Some people have more elaborate drip irrigation systems attached to their rain barrels, but I hand water. I don’t mind it at all, especially since we implemented a mulch gardening method and it requires much less frequent watering because the ground is covered and holds on to the moisture in the soil for longer.
That’s all there is to it! It’s easy and if you aren’t already collecting rain water, give it a try.