“April Showers bring May Flowers…” is the old adage that describes the spring months across many parts of the country where rain is plentiful. During April and May, it is hard to imagine not being able to provide life giving water to your vegetable garden. When the tomato and bean plants need a sprinkle, turning on the hose is easily done and never given a second thought.
But, once the dog days of summer hit, and the weekly rain showers do not make their way to your new crops, they might begin to look a little worn as they begin to dry out and become parched in the hot sun. Water becomes more important and your responsibility to keep them from dying is more apparent.
Large rain buckets or rain-barrels are easily setup to collect life giving rain water during those times when storms pass through. Harvesting rain is something that every person should be thinking of as they begin their quest to add gardens to their backyards.
Usually the basic question on many minds is “How do I get started and how hard is it to do?” Having a strategy and plan are crucial in creating a sustainable collection, storage and distribution system for your home. These systems can be very elaborate and expensive, but in most cases, keeping it simple is preferable as funds are usually limited.
The 3 basic areas of a rain harvesting system are: Collection, Storage and Distribution. Rain buckets are the large containers that can be designed specifically for the purpose of collecting the rain and can be as simple as vinyl or plastic trash cans. When located near downspouts, these rain buckets can collect water that land on the 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 know where you want to locate the rain bucket, the next question often asked is “How do I get the rain into the 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 lid and cover the opening with a very thin wire mesh. This mesh will allow the rainwater to enter, but prevent insects such as mosquitoes from nesting in the water.
Cut an 8-10 inch piece of the 1″ PVC pipe. Apply PVC Cement liberally around one end and the female to male hose bib adapter. Twist slightly and let set for about 10 minutes. While this is setting, take your electric drill with a 1″ spade bit and drill a hole about 6 inches from the bottom of the bucket. Insert the 1″ by 8″ PVC pipe with a hose thread exposed. Seal the hole with PVC cement and let set for about 10 minutes to prevent leakage. Once set, you’ll be able to hook up a standard garden hose to the exposed PVC Pipe. The pressure from the amount of water contained inside the rain bucket will allow you to water your plants without much difficulty.
In summary, a large Rain Bucket is an easy way to begin conserving water to provide your garden with essential life giving fluid whenever needed. Since the water had been collected and stored from the previous rainstorms, you will not have to worry about the bill.