All Things Gardening forum: Rainwater Collection

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Name: Stephanie Gonzales
Texas (Zone 8a)
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StephGTx
Nov 12, 2011 4:24 PM CST
I really want to set one of these systems up. Watched many videos on you tube. Now I would like to get the advice of friends.

1. How many barrels do you have?
2. Do you have yours standing up or lying on their sides?
3. What kind of filter do you use?
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Name: Lee Anne Stark
Brockville, Ontario, Canada (Zone 5a)
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threegardeners
Nov 12, 2011 4:26 PM CST
We have 4 barrels.
Standing up.
No filter, just a hunk of window screen covering the top so birds can't fall in and drown.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Nov 13, 2011 4:18 AM CST
We had one standing,A 50 gallon waste can with a faucet at the bottom.
The can stood on a cinderblock.
We had to move it out because heavy rain overflow went into the basement closet and we had mold.
I have seen several barrel systems on graduated blocks .These had holes at the top for overflow. Not enough room here for a set up like that.
Name: Carole
Clarksville, TN (Zone 6b)
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SongofJoy
Nov 13, 2011 4:52 AM CST
Mine is free-standing, 75 gallons, and I covered the top hole with fine mesh screen beneath its cover piece to act as the filter. It has a cap at the bottom that unscrews for draining and cleaning when necessary as well as the spigot, of course. It sits on asphalt and catches the runoff from the double carport. I've had no problems with it.
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Nov 13, 2011 6:08 AM CST
I would add that setting up the barrels at a distance from the house is important. Even a few feet on the end of an extended downspout would be better that the setup we had.
It was handy on the deck tho. We have about 13 planters there.Water all summer is needed.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 13, 2011 7:23 AM CST
Here's a photo of our setup, 4 of the square 50-gallon Rubbermaid barrels, set up on cement blocks and planks. We found some PVC parts to use to link them -- you can buy linking kits, but the tube seemed too small to handle the water flow -- and can easily disassemble them for winter storage. There's a runoff pipe on the 4th (right-side) barrel that empties into a runoff drain. (In the photo there's a piece of board sitting on top of the drain, everything wasn't quite finished when I took this pic.)

The tops have a window-screen type of insert that keeps most debris and such from getting into the barrels, although the granules from our roof shingles can get through. There are short hoses coming off the bottom of each barrel, which make it easy to fill watering cans; for direct watering on the garden we've been using a small pump, which is kind of a hassle and I think we might try adding an extra row of the cement blocks for a little more height next year, in hopes of being able to use the soaker hoses directly from the barrels.


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Name: leaflady
planet earth
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leaflady
Nov 22, 2011 9:13 PM CST
Mine are free standing plastic barrels - about 40 -50 gal. I think.They set on concrete blocks. I got them from my DD who had a good collection set up going. I don't cover the tops and often throw in weeds and grasses, without the seeds of course. Sometimes it gets the kitchen scraps instead of the composter. That way I have kind of a tea to use on the plants. I have them at various places in the yarden. At least most of them have spigots at the bottom. .Some potash and phosphate in the middle of the summer helps make it a more complete fertilizer as does some epsom salts solution. The longer they set and get stuff thrown into them the richer the tea will be. Of course then they need to be cleaned once a year or so. The material that is in them can be used as mulch or tilled into the soil.
Name: Thom Foote
Colbert, WA (Zone 6a)
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thomfoote
Jan 17, 2012 11:18 AM CST
I set up our system in Fairbanks, Alaska. We had a downspout on each corner of the house leading to a separate blue plastic barrel and a wooden whiskey barrel. On each downspout I installed a manual diverter that I could open and close by tilting up or down a portion of the downspout itself. ou can buy these online. When the barrels were full, I closed the diverter. The rainwater then flowed out into the yard AWAY FROM THE FOUNDATION. I installed in each barrel two things: 1. an overflow port about 3 inches down from the top that I attached a short garden hose to and 2: a regular water spigot that I screwed into the bottom about 2 inches from the bottom. This was for emptying at the end of the summer and for gravity feed watering of my garden. On top of each barrel I had a piece of screen to keep junk and bugs out. Each barrel sat on a treated 4'x4' base made of treated 2"x4" lumber. Also, purely for aesthetics, I built a cedar box around the blue plastic barrels. At the end of summer I would drain each blue barrel and turn it upside down. The wooden barrel I just left it upright. The system worked very well. Hope this helps.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Jan 21, 2012 9:10 PM CST
Thom, how far off the ground do you have your barrels for gravity-feed watering? Ours are about 1' up but this does not seem to be high enough to water using soaker hoses, which is what I would like to do. Thanks -- and I hope your winter, and ours, is short!
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Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
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chelle
Jan 22, 2012 8:39 AM CST
I use $5.00 each re-purposed plastic barrels and dip the water out with a couple of 2.5 gallon buckets. This water is reserved for my potted plants so this method works fine for me. I got tired of fighting with the removal of accumulated debris on top of my screen cover so last year I experimented with using .12 each fish for mosquito larvae control. It worked great!

Here they are; inside for the winter. Big Grin


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Name: Thom Foote
Colbert, WA (Zone 6a)
Organic herb farmers
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thomfoote
Jan 23, 2012 11:27 AM CST
I was unable to put our barrels very high above the level of our garden boxes so the gravity feed worked only the lower level garden and I was only able to use the top half of each barrel in the garden boxes. I too used 5 gallon buckets mostly. Each was raised only about 6" on their individual wood bases. On the 10 acres I just moved to near Spokane, I am building small (20'wx10'lx4'deep) rainwater cachement basins that will be fed by buried 6" pipe from the gutters to the basins and by diverting my grey water into the same pipes. I live on a hillside so have engineered basins using existing swales and cut banks. My shop, chicken coop and guest house will also have gutters to feed basins. These will be about 5'-6' hijgher than the level of our hugelkultur beds so I can use gravity.
Name: Thom Foote
Colbert, WA (Zone 6a)
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thomfoote
Jan 23, 2012 11:30 AM CST
You can watch the progress of our grand adventure with our farmette either on Facebook at "Old fart-a-muit" or on our webpage (under construciton) at [url=www.oldfartamuit.com]www.oldfartamuit.com[/url]. Facebook has pictures, etc. We will begin in March to dig the basins, build the hugel beds, and start on the new house.
Name: Linda
North Texas, USA (Zone 8a)
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TexasIggyMom
Jul 6, 2012 8:07 PM CST
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After using 2-50 gal. trash barrels for the past several yrs. and dipping into them with my bucket, I started looking for better methods to collect and distribute rainwater. I was able to attend a Rainwater Harvesting workshop at the Tx A&M AgriLife Research and Extension in Dallas, TX. Please go to their site. It has lots of info. [url=www.rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu]www.rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu[/url]

Now the proud owner of 5-55 gal. barrels which I put the screening and faucets on at the class, I am ready to get rain! 2 barrels are hooked together for more storage and I have soaker hoses going into the beds. I covered the hoses with newspaper for weed control and then a layer of mulch/compost to retain moisture. Currently I do not have a pump for gravity has been enough. The barrels are on concrete blocks to raise them to about 12".
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Name: tabby
denver, colorado zone 5
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tabby
Jul 6, 2012 9:52 PM CST
I have four rain barrels. Two were purchased and two are home made. They have window screen in the tops to keep out leaves and stuff and spigots on the bottom. They also have over flow hoses that drain away from the base of the house.

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