Friday, May 22, 2009

Free Water!

Ahhhh...rain barrels!

I've been meaning to blog about ours since we installed it a few weeks ago but I always come home & forget to take pictures! I assume tonight will be no different so the pictures shown here are from the manufacturer's website.

That's right folks: We went fancy & bought one pre-built. This was a "Mr. Radish"-task & I let him do it his way. Other options include the workshop in Arlington County (or for Fairfax residents, this one) which is a cheaper option. You could also 100% DIY. There are enough websites out there telling you how to do it.

However, these are things you need to keep in mind with the rain barrel:
-Food-grade plastic. If you've got a veggie garden, you definitely don't want anything leeching into that soil! If you don't, the stuff that lives in the soil would prefer it to be toxin-free. Recycling a food barrel is great idea.

-Spigot near the bottom. Mr. Radish couldn't quite understand the barrels that had the spigot 6 inches from the bottom of the barrel for "easier bucket filling." I mean, are you supposed to tip the barrel to get at that last 6 inches of water? Because, ya know, it's kinda attached to your drain pipe... Let's just call it a "design flaw". Also, the filling of the bucket issue is easily solved with putting the barrel on cinder blocks.

-Keep mosquitoes out! As the picture below shows, our rain barrel does not have an open top. A connection to the downspout and a pour spout are the only openings & they have caps. Other barrels with open tops have fine-mesh tops. Some with this kind put a layer of oil (oil rises to the top) to keep mosquitoes from laying larvae. But it's important if you have this kind of rain barrel to...

-...Have an overflow hose a few inches below the top of your barrel. This also prevents mosquitoes from having access to your rain water so they can lay their eggs. For those with rain barrels like mine, this is also important as the barrels fill up quickly in a rainstorm & you don't want all that water pressure to build.

So far, I'm loving ours! I only wish we could run a soaker hose on it, but I think that might be solved by a submersible pump. I'm also considering maybe getting another one. With us reclaiming our yard from wilderness (well, as "wilderness" as Arlington gets. I guess "years of neglect" would be a better term), we're going to need more water for the dry summer months. And I'd hate to have to pay for it!

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