With all the rain we’ve had recently, saving some water for a (non-) rainy day is probably the last thing on your mind.
Yet it’s actually the perfect time to think about it, because waiting until your garden is dry and the plants are wilted and brown is too late.
A rain barrel is the perfect solution. We’ve written about them before — including systems that can be used to provide drinking and bathing water — and even have had workshops in which participants get a free rain barrel (our most recent was in April).
If you didn’t attend, don’t despair. You can buy rain barrel kits at many big box stores and landscape supply businesses. You can also hunt for plastic or wooden barrels (make sure they haven’t been used to store toxic chemicals) and build your own.
Collecting rainwater to use in drier months is an age-old practice. There’s evidence that clay rain barrels were used in Thailand as far back as 2,000 years ago.
Your system needn’t be complicated. There are plenty of tutorials available online — including one on The Family Handyman that utilizes trash cans.
If you do install a rain barrel, you’ll need to ensure it doesn’t become a breeding ground for mosquitoes or disease. Household bleach (non-scented, no soap, 5-6% Sodium Hypochlorite) can be used to disinfect water (check out ready.gov to figure out how much you’ll need to use. Your barrel should be sealable to keep out critters.
Remember, it may not seem like you’ll need water for the garden now, but if other summers have been any indication, you’ll probably be happy in a few weeks that you put some aside for the garden.