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Tag Archive | "Rain barrels"

Save money and water while enjoying a beautiful garden


BLOOM-Rain-Barrel-photo-credit-Gardeners-Supply

Rain barrels are making a comeback as droughts, watering restrictions and storm water runoff are on the rise. There are now many attractive rain barrel options to choose from. Photo courtesy of Gardner’s Supply Company.

By Melinda Myers

Too much or not enough water and never when you need it seems to be a common lament of gardeners. Reduce the impact of these weather challenges while conserving water, saving money on water and sewer bills, and growing beautiful gardens with the help of rain barrels. These century old devices are making a comeback as droughts, watering restrictions and storm water runoff are on the rise.

Contact your local municipality before getting started. Some communities have regulations and guidelines for using rain barrels and many offer rebates to homeowners who install them.

Start your conversion to rain barrels one downspout at a time. You can capture as much as 623 gallons of water from 1,000 square feet of roof in a one-inch rainfall. This can be a lot to manage when first adapting to this change of habit. Taking little steps allows you to successfully match the use of rain barrels to your gardening style and schedule.

Make your own or purchase one of the many rain barrels on the market. Regardless of which vessel you choose there are some features to consider when adding a rain barrel to your landscape.

Make sure the top is covered to keep out debris and mosquitoes. Or select one with a solid lid and opening just large enough to accommodate the downspout.

Look for one with a spigot low on the barrel, so water does not stagnate at the bottom. Use the spigot to fill watering cans or attach a hose. Elevate the barrel on cinder blocks or a decorative stand for easier access and to increase water pressure.

Make sure there is an overflow outlet to direct excess water away from your home’s foundation. Or use it to link several barrels together, increasing your water collecting capacity.  A downspout diverter is another way to manage rain barrel overflows. When the rain barrels are full this device diverts the water back to the downspout where it is carried away from your home’s foundation.

And the good news is you don’t need to overlook beauty for function. You’ll find many attractive options in a variety of shapes and sizes in garden centers and online catalogs such as Gardener’s Supply (gardeners.com). Some include a recessed top for storing accessories or growing a potted plant. You’ll find ones with decorative finishes that mimic a basketweave, fine terra cotta, or wood. Those with a flat backside like the Madison rain barrel fit right next to the house, saving space.

Rain water is naturally softened and free of flouride and chlorine; great for plants. Do not use rain barrel water for drinking, cooking or your pets. Avoid concerns of contamination from roofing materials and debris by only using the water for ornamental plants.

Maintenance is easy. Check for and remove twigs and debris that may collect and block the flow of water. Clean the inside of the barrel at least once a year with an environmentally friendly detergent. Those in cold climates need to drain the rain barrel and cover the opening or turn it upside down for winter storage. Make sure to divert the water away from the house once the downspout is disconnected.

Don’t worry about mosquitoes. Covering the opening with a fine screen and using the water on a regular basis will minimize the risk. Or use the eco-friendly bacterial agent Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) that kills mosquito larvae, but is safe for pets, people and wildlife.

Now is the time to start putting rainwater to work for you and your garden. Look for convenient locations for collecting and using rainwater from the roof of your home, shed or garage. A little effort put in now will result in benefits for years to come.

Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books. Myers’ website is:  http://www.melindamyers.com/www.melindamyers.com.

 

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Barrels and Brews with Trout Unlimited


ENT-Rain-barrel

What do rain barrels and a business making great beer have in common? Clean water for the Rogue River.

Rockford Brewing Company will once again be hosting a rain barrel workshop series to help protect the Rogue River. Trout Unlimited has been conducting rain barrel workshops at Rockford Brewing Company since 2013, successfully distributing 150 barrels to the local community.  Trout Unlimited is partnering with Plainfield Charter Township and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council to conduct these workshops, which will be held on Tuesdays at 6:30 on June 21, July 19, and August 16. All workshops include everything you need to set up your barrel and take around 45 minutes. Rain barrels are $30 apiece and you must sign-up for a workshop at rainbarrels.wmeac.org.

A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater (stormwater) from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams.  Stormwater is the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan. The average rain barrel will keep 1,815 gallons of stormwater out of our lakes and rivers each year. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy.  A rain barrel collects water and stores it for when you need it most—during periods of drought to water plants, your garden, or wash your car. Additionally, rainwater is naturally soft and devoid of minerals, chlorine and other chemicals found in city water, so it is a better alternative for your plants.

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Barrels and Brews at Cedar Springs Brewing Company


 

This photo was taken at a rain barrel workshop in Rockford. Cedar Springs residents have a chance to make their own this spring.

This photo was taken at a rain barrel workshop in Rockford. Cedar Springs residents have a chance to make their own this spring.

Save the dates—April 26, May 23

Are you interested in protecting the Great Lakes at home, or looking to save money by reducing your water bill? Then don’t miss Cedar Springs Brewing Company’s first ever rain barrel workshops!

Trout Unlimited has been successfully conducting rain barrel workshops in the Rogue River watershed since 2013. This spring, Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative teamed up with the new Cedar Springs Brewing Company to host two rain barrel workshops for the citizens of Cedar Springs and everyone who would like to protect their local water resources.

Want to know more about rain barrels? A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise end up in your local waterways as polluted stormwater runoff. The average rain barrel will keep 1,815 gallons of stormwater out of our lakes and rivers each year. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for when you need it most—during periods of drought—to water plants, your garden, or wash your car. Additionally, rainwater is naturally “soft” and devoid of minerals, chlorine and other chemicals found in city water, so it is a better alternative for your plants.

The workshops will be held on Tuesday, April 26 and Monday, May 23 at Cedar Springs Brewing Company at 6:30 p.m. The workshop includes everything you need to set up your barrel and takes around 45 minutes. Rain barrels are $30 a piece and you must sign-up for a workshop at rainbarrels.wmeac.org. We look forward to seeing you out there!

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