Gardening Ideas forum: Article Idea โ€” When you really want a rain barrel but you really can't afford

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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Sep 17, 2017 12:23 AM CST
I've been wanting a rain barrel or two for quite some time. After checking the price of ready-made rain barrels, I thought I'd have to take out a loan. I'm not too handy with tools but I did come up with a simple solution. I got some 5 gallon buckets @$2 each, some bungee cords @$1, some aluminum screening (about $3 or $4) and viola! I even made sure to put a mosquito dunk in each barrel. Since the 'barrels' didn't have a tap, I could with fill up a few juice/milk/or water bottles and water my plants. Or, I could dump a whole 'barrel' into a really thirsty area.

So laugh if you must, but my rain barrels work for me.
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Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
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joannakat
Sep 17, 2017 5:13 AM CST
Great idea! And I'm guessing that the screening keep debris out so your water is clean. Nice!
AKA Joey.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Sep 17, 2017 10:41 AM CST
joannakat said:Great idea! And I'm guessing that the screening keep debris out so your water is clean. Nice!


Exactly.
Name: Frenchy
Falls Church, VA (Zone 7b)
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Frenchy21
Sep 17, 2017 10:51 AM CST
@tx_flower_child What a great idea and inexpensive too! Also I have two dogs so the screening would keep them out of that water- I tip my hat to you.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
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joannakat
Sep 17, 2017 10:59 AM CST
Frenchy21 said:@tx_flower_child What a great idea and inexpensive too! Also I have two dogs so the screening would keep them out of that water- I tip my hat to you.


Being petless (if you don't consider being overrun with chipmunks having a pet), I didn't even think of that!
AKA Joey.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Sep 17, 2017 11:06 AM CST
(My bad experience) I bought 2 giant sized rain barrels that were only slightly used. Both were from the same manufacturer and both developed a crack in exactly the same place (bad design?).

Using the 5-gallon buckets is a much better idea, thanks. Thumbs up If the rainwater is to be used for veggies please be sure to get 'food grade' buckets, sometimes available for free at places like Dunkin' Donuts or a friendly restaurant near you.

If you have some fittings and hose laying around you can link more than one barrel together.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~"Leaf of Faith"
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Sep 17, 2017 11:39 AM CST
Gotta say that I could have used a third hand when trying to put those bungee cords on!
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Sep 17, 2017 8:11 PM CST
If you have screening over the top of the bucket do you really need to use the mosquito dunks?
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Name: Mac
Soon to be MidCoast, ME (Zone 6a)
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McCannon
Sep 17, 2017 9:38 PM CST
If you need larger containers, you can get something like this: https://www.uline.com/Product/...
These are quite pricey but I get them off of Craig's List locally for $5 to $10 each, with the lid, food-grade rated.

If you need a drain, this spigot, $5 on Amazon will fill the bill: Spigot $5: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000Q68XMA/

If you want to attach a hose to the barrel, that hardware is easy to find too.
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North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Sep 17, 2017 10:58 PM CST
Anytime I have standing water, as in the rain barrel when its not raining, I want to use mosquito dunks or something similar to kill larvae. I don't think screening alone will keep all adult mosquitos out and we know what they do when they're together, if you catch my drift. But maybe it's overkill. I just always keep a lot of the dunks around so it's easy to throw one in. A lot easier than putting the bungee cord around it to keep the screen on. Maybe I could look into using liquid Bti. Might be cheaper in the long run. Don't know. Nevertheless, the screen helps keep debris out. Would it keep mosquitos out? Hard to say. Maybe I'm just doing a 'belt and suspenders' trip.

Occasionally there have been classes in which participants learn to make their own rain barrels. I always think that I'll go. But the timing never seems to work out for me.

Anyway, it's been a quick and easy and inexpensive way to save at least some rainwater. I'm sure it could be improved on.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Sep 17, 2017 11:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Sep 18, 2017 7:59 AM CST
The mosquito dunks certainly won't hurt anything... Smiling
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Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Sep 18, 2017 11:38 AM CST
Maybe I could look into using liquid Bti. Might be cheaper in the long run.


I found that using Mosquito Bits is far more economical because I use less. Although they say it doesn't last as long aa the Dunks. You might look for it when the Dunks run out. http://www.summitchemical.com/... Most of the box store garden centers have it. I've not seen liquid yet.

I love this stuff. I use it in birdbaths, rain barrels, pet water bowls, planter drip trays. I can sit out on the patio (in the woods) after dark with no mosquitoes biting. Even after the visit from Harvey. Hurray!
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Name: Philip Becker
Fresno California (Zone 8a)
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Philipwonel
Sep 20, 2017 8:59 AM CST
EXTRA EXTRA!
READ ALL ABOUT IT !!!
"Don't buy no more mosquito dips, bits, or BTi AGAIN !!! "
Use Dawn dish soap. I learned this from the mosquito abatement.
I had a neighbor with totally unkept pool. Looked like the creature from the green lagoon could pop out , anytime ! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
I called mosquito abatement. They told me to throw some dawn dish soap in pool. It forms soap layer on top of water, then bye bye skeeters.
๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž

Anything i say, could be misrepresented, or wrong.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Sep 20, 2017 10:17 AM CST
@pod -- Mosquito bits, assuming we're talking about the same thing, is sold in most nurseries and big box stores around here. They're usually more expensive than the 'dunking donuts'. I think both consist of BTi but will look at the label.

Factoid: There's research taking place in, I think, India that's looking into the bark of cinnamon trees as a mosquito preventative or an ingredient in one. Don't know the latest, tho.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
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joannakat
Sep 20, 2017 10:46 AM CST
I've been a little leary of the bits or anything with bti in it. The reason the warning the products carry--something like do not touch.. I bought them for my worm bin when it had a lot of fungus gnats but promptly returned them.

If you are going to use them, the best price I found was Walmart online. You order and pay, and it magically arrives at your local store.
AKA Joey.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Sep 20, 2017 11:17 AM CST
Not sure why you're leery about BTi. When we were kids (as I've told you, there were a lot of us) we were encouraged to touch anything except no poking other kids eyeballs.

No time now, says Ms. Hunt&Peck Typist, but will try to give you a better reply later, says Ms. No Memory.
Name: Joanna
North Central Massachusetts (N (Zone 5b)
Life & gardens: make them beautiful
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Vermiculture
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joannakat
Sep 20, 2017 11:24 AM CST
tx_flower_child said:Not sure why you're leery about BTi. When we were kids (as I've told you, there were a lot of us) we were encouraged to touch anything except no poking other kids eyeballs.

No time now, says Ms. Hunt&Peck Typist, but will try to give you a better reply later, says Ms. No Memory.


Not my warning. It's on the label.
AKA Joey.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Sep 20, 2017 9:08 PM CST
I just forwarded an actual email to you. If I knew how, I'd post it here. I suppose I could cut and paste it.
Name: Kristi
east Texas pineywoods (Zone 8a)
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pod
Sep 20, 2017 9:29 PM CST
Hey Philip ~ thank you but no, I use Dawn dish soap for many things but don't think it will do well in the dog water bowls or bird bath ~ YUK! Rolling on the floor laughing

TX_flower_child ~ the Mosquito Bits are more expensive but I find I use less so they last an incredibly long time. I was trying to break up the Dunks and this is less mess or waste.

This EPA statement says Bti has no toxicity to humans https://www.epa.gov/mosquitoco...

I'm going to have to read the container tomorrow but I try to weigh all the risks. The chances of West Nile, Zika or other viruses, the exposure of my pets (both feline and canine) to heartworms... I am comfortable with using this product. I might add ~ like anything... for now. Confused
Be content moving inch by inch because, by days end, the inches, will add up to feet and yards.

Fulfilling ambitious objectives is usually done one step at a time.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Sep 20, 2017 9:31 PM CST
Philip, how much Dawn does it take to treat an entire swimming pool?
โ€œThink occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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