Rain buckets or rain-barrels are becoming more popular as the threat of global warming and droughts hit the headlines. They have been around for centuries as man has always tried to capture water from the sky for his crops.
Rain harvesting is something that every person should be doing as they begin their backyard gardens. During the Spring, rain is plentiful and not many people think about the impending summer months where rainfall becomes more scarce.
Making a simple rain bucket is easy to do, inexpensive and can be accomplished in less than an hour. The 3 fundamental areas of a rain harvesting system are: Collection, Storage and Distribution. Rain buckets will provide the water storage until it is distributed to your crops. There are many rain barrel designs that you can choose from to fit your needs. Some people will spend a hundred dollars for one from their local hardware store, others will make their own with a few simple tools and a basic level of carpentry skills.
Finding a suitable rain bucket is fairly easy to do. Many community organizations sponsor free rain barrel programs or will provide at minimum costs. You can also find sources of low cost rain barrels through the popular Craigslist or food manufacturers or bottling companies. Some will provide for free or a nominal cost. The type discussed in this article was a vinyl trash can from the local department store.
Tools and Materials:
1 – 32 Gallon Vinyl Trash can with Lid
1 – 1″ PVC Male Hose Adapter
Drill with 1″ Spade Bit
White Caulking Plumbers tape
Step 1. Finding a suitable location for your rain bucket is fairly simple. Most will rest underneath one or more of the downspouts coming from your roof. Since the roof has the largest surface area, it is common practice to place your rain bucket near the house or shed where the downspouts channel the water from the house. Once you have found a preferred location, measure and cut the downspout above or near the top end of the rain bucket. Typically, this is done by cutting off part of the down spout so that the end sits a bit higher than the bucket itself. Cut a hole in the shape of the downspout near the top end of the rain bucket. You must also cut and overflow hole about the same height on the other side. This will allow excess water to escape when the barrel is full.
Step 2. Next, drill a 1″ hole about 3-4 inches from the bottom of the rain barrel. Using some common plumbers tape, wrap the threads of the adapter to keep water from leaking through the hole. Screw adapter from the inside so the threads are exposed to the outside of the Rain.
Step 3. Putting the pieces together. Insert the downspout pipe from the roof into the rain bucket and attach the overflow to the other side. Attach a garden hose to the bottom adapter and caulk around the gaps to ensure the unit is sealed. This is important as mosquitoes would love to nest in your rain barrel. Once everything is connected, fill with water and test. The pressure from the amount of water contained inside the rain bucket will allow you to water your plants without much difficulty.
In summary, you can make a Rain Bucket for the cost of a vinyl trashcan, a hose adapter and some caulk. It is an easy way to begin conserving water to provide your garden with water when rainfall has become less available in the summer months. Since the water had been collected and stored from the previous rainstorms, you will not have to worry about the bill.