As I am feeling the gardening itch with spring here I couldn’t help but notice the rain. Here in the PNW it has been raining quite a bit and that is right on target with the Farmer’s Almanac. Also mentioned in the Almanac besides an unusually wet spring, is an unusually dry and hot summer. So this got me to thinking how I can use this abundant rain for the summer when we are going to have watering restrictions. This is where my train of thought went to rain barrels. Not only are rain barrels good for having water when you need it but it’s a good choice for a self sustainable yard or garden without tapping more community resources. And it’s free!
Rain barrels are the easiest thing for any gardener to set up, I never knew how in the past until I took a master gardening course. It could be as simple as a big empty barrel, poke a hole, collect rain. Adding a screen could make it less full of plant matter and debris. Adding a spigot can make it easier to access for watering your garden with, doing dishes or washing the dog. Adding the barrel to a downspout is even better as you can collect a lot more per square footage of rain, but you have to keep those gutters clean! Again, optional filter and spigot for better results. Check out Pinterest and search rain barrels, there are some really clever and easy ideas out there. Try more than one. For example I have the downspout thing going, and I also have a garbage can where weather cracked the lid in so I just inverted the lid, added a screen and wallah I have a rain barrel. This one I have to dip a bucket into but that works fine too and since it already had wheels I rolled it behind the chicken coop (before it filled with water) so I didn’t have to look at it.
If you use rain water, and it doesn’t have debris in it, you can use it for human drinking although I would strongly suggest filtering it, like a Berkey home filtering system. You can pinterest or google genius and simple ideas on filtering water as well. Never drink from an open bucket or barrel unless you know the bucket history (ie food grade plastic, what contents were held in it before being repurposed, etc.)
Other ways you can conserve water is to keep a pitcher in your bathtub to collect the cold water you might run before getting in the hot shower. This works awesome for watering houseplants too. and since it is from the city water system it is safe to drink.
Anyway, happy SPRING and enjoy the rain while we have it!