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garden talk: how to make the most of your rain barrel

May 31, 2011

Our new rain bucket

I recently wrote about installing a rain barrel and composter in our garden in our quest for greener and more sustainable gardening practices. You can read that post (with some simple steps to getting started on gardening) here.

Today’s post is intended to provide a more in-depth look at the benefits of using a rain barrel along with some how-to tips on the way . So, why use a rain barrel?

  • it provides free water for watering your lawn or garden
  • it reduces basement flooding by leading water away from your home
  • it reduces the amount of water running into lakes and rivers…
  • …. which in turn reduces erosion and helps to prevent stormwater pollution of larger bodies of water
All in all, rain barrels provide many ecological benefits in addition to the financial benefits you’ll reap from saving on your water bill!


On my last post, reader Aibrean asked the following question:

Have you considered/is there a way to keep the rain barrel from becoming a still-water breeding ground for mosquitoes?

Will your rain barrel become a breeding ground for mosquitoes (due to the standing water)?
No, not if your rain barrel is covered. If it’s a rain barrel like the one we purchased (shown above), the top is completely closed barring a small mesh-covered opening. This prevents mosquitoes from laying eggs and congregating on the water surface. If you make a DIY rain barrel, make sure to have a mesh top to avoid this problem. Should you have misquitos take over your rain barrel, you could try a biologically safe larvicide tablet such as these ones to get rid of them. (Biologically safe means that it will not harm your pets or small garden dwellers should they ingest the water).


Using water from our rain barrel Using water from our rain barrel


Another reader, fatbob29r of cyclenut, suggested raising the rain barrel off the ground a bit more. And right he was! When T. gave our rain barrel watering system a try, we were both dissapointed to see how low the water pressure was. It made watering our plants and garden a very slooooow process. We realized that raising the water barrel will remedy that problem so that is our next project for the weekend: drain the barrel and raise it a couple of feet off the ground.


Using water from our rain barrel

Despite the minor set-back, it was great to use free rain water to water our potted plants and small vegetable garden. It feels good to know that we’re using natural resources to cultivate our garden.

Want to read more about the benefits of using a rain barrel, tips on setting one up, and information on making the most of it? Check out these useful links…

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 31, 2011 15:54

    I love your gardening posts! We have a compost but no yard, which is kind of a bummer. On the bright side, it keeps us in the habit of not throwing our food scraps away! When we move, number one on deal-breaker list is a large, fenced in yard, specifically for the dogs and a garden. It’s probably the main reason I’m excited about moving. :) A rain barrel will definitely be on the list!

  2. May 31, 2011 16:37

    Thanks for the linkage! I stumbled upon your blog from the path less pedaled, and it quickly made its way to the top of my reading list. I especially love your date rides…. one of my favorite things to do. Keep up the great blog!

  3. June 15, 2011 05:25

    You are doing two things which are recycling & reusing.
    Really a very innovative idea. We can stop water pollution & reduction.

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