It’s a simple fact of life that all gardens need water. So, where do you get it? Most people simply turn on the tap and water away. But there is an alternative – rainwater. Consider this: one inch of rain will yield half a gallon of water for every square foot. That means that 100 square feet can capture 50 gallons of water. That’s a lot of water and in the city most of it will go down the sewer drains.
The most common way to capture rainwater is to use a barrel or a bucket. Today’s rain barrels are more advanced and so much more than a simple barrel that collects rainwater. Some rain barrels have a screen on the top to keep leaves and other debris out of the water. Others have a tap on the barrel, which you can use to fill up your watering can. Simply place the barrel underneath the downspout from the gutters on your house and collect fresh water each time it rains.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of water and the benefits of using rainwater in your garden.
Types of water:
Rainwater: Water that falls from the sky during a rainstorm.
Grey Water: Water that has already been used for domestic uses, such as washing clothes and dishes or from taking showers and baths.
Hard Water: Water that has high mineral contents, especially calcium and magnesium, and is hard to lather soap in.
Soft Water: Is the opposite of hard water. It has low levels of calcium and magnesium and is very easy to lather soap in.
Save money on your water bill. It may not seem like you are using a lot of water but it is easy to loose track or to really know how much water you are using when it comes out of a hose. Keep track of your water bills for a summer, then next summer switch over to rainwater and see how much your water bill is lowered.
Better for your plants. Rainwater is naturally filtered so that it doesn’t contain minerals or harsh chemicals, both of which plants are sensitive to.
No restrictions. Most municipalities these days have watering restrictions that limit when and how often you can water your garden. But there are no restrictions on collecting rainwater and when you are allowed to use it.
Helps to save municipal costs and resources. By using rainwater, less demand is placed on municipally treated water. Less demand means that less energy is needed to treat both incoming water and outgoing (sewage) water. As well, less demand means that there will be less operating and maintenance costs of water treatment plants. If that doesn’t convince you, then consider the fact that lower municipal costs means lower taxes.
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