The natural way to water plants is to use rain water, and many say that it is much better for plants than tap water. But what happens when it doesn’t rain? It’s good to have a backup supply of rain water. The good news is that there are many ways to collect and save rain water from expensive, elaborate systems to simple, cheap ways you can collect rain water. See if any of these tips work for you:
If you just want to collect rain water for your plants and/or for environmental reasons, a sunken garden or rain garden may be just what you need. A rain garden does not provide a reservoir of water that you can use for washing your car, but it does collect rain water in the garden itself, reducing storm run-off that may carry pollutants by the time it makes its way into the waterways. Rain gardens also make use of nature’s water source.
This is probably what you’ve heard the most about when it comes to collecting rain water. Ready-made rain barrels tend to be expensive, but they are certainly an option if you can purchase one. Store-bought rain barrels generally have a set-up that allows you to hook it up to the downspout, and it comes with a faucet or something similar to get the water out of the barrel. They are also generally quite easy to set up.
You can also set up various rain barrel designs yourself for less money. Here are some ideas on homemade rain barrels.
* A homemade rain barrel can be made from an industrial plastic container or a flexible plastic trash can. Some good sources of food-grade containers are soft drink factories, juice processing plants, or other companies that process beverages. A trash bin is also an option.
You’ll need a drill to make holes in the container’s lid (for the water to come in) and in the side of the barrel for the outflow. Then you position the barrel under a corner of your home under the gutter. The downspout is then directed into the top hole of the barrel, either by sawing off the downspout at the proper height or by installing a diverter (which you can purchase for less than $10 at most home improvement stores).
It’s important to note that you need to install some sort of screening material in the top hole. This prevents debris and mosquito larvae from getting into the barrel.
* It doesn’t have to be a large barrel. You can also capture water by attaching the diverter mentioned above, attaching a hose to it, and diverting the rain water to any container or area of your yard you choose, such as a garden or pond.
You can collect rain water in a simple barrel to use for your flower or vegetable garden and nourish your plants the natural way.