|FISKARS RAIN BARREL|
Fiskars pruners have been important garden helpers for several years now. I am especially pleased with the lightweight design and the edge holding qualities of the blades.
The angel trumpet (Brugmansia) is planted in a strip of dry land between the house and sidewalk. There is no irrigation here, so it and the new planting of double pink Knockout Roses have suffered all summer.
Enter the rain barrel. Husband hooked it up to the downspout and positioned it behind a large Cleyera japonica at the corner of the house and garage. We then ran a hose from the rain barrel spigot to the base of the angel trumpet. Every few days I turn on the spigot and let the rainwater run around the base of the angel trumpets and double pink Knock Out® Roses.
The results are spectacular. I count 70 pink blossoms on the Brugmansia with multiple new buds in various stages of development waiting to open.
My barrel has filled up quickly so that I have plenty of free water to use on my plants. It sure beats the high water bills from the city source. If you collect rainwater in a rain barrel, water restrictions would not apply to your use of this harvested water.
Rainwater harvesting is not new. It has been used around the world for thousands of years.
A roof area of only 1,000 square feet might provide about 600 gallons of water during a one-inch rainfall. According to Fiskars, "The amount of water harvested from a catchment (any area where water can be harvested) depends on its size, surface texture, slope, and rainfall received. If your roof is 2,000 square feet, and your area averages 20 inches of rain per year, you can harvest 24,000 gallons of water from your roof each year if you have a container large enough to store it."
Rain barrels don’t come that large, but if you use the water on dry days after it is collected, there will always be room for more rain. In order to put a rain barrel to use, your house has to have gutters and downspouts. The rain barrel kit comes with two diverters, one of which should fit one of the two standard downspouts used on American homes.
This diverter is an important component to the system. It will shut down the rain flow once the barrel is full and will send the water away from the house foundation via the downspout.
Another important feature is a tight fitting lid. Lids on rain barrels are important to keep out thirsty animals that might fall in and drown, and to keep the mosquito population from using it as a nursery school for their wiggly youngsters.
Rain barrels can be installed by the less than handy man or woman but they can be obvious in the landscape unless you take pains to hide them. Check your local zoning guidelines before you place a rain barrel in full sight in your front yard.
Maintenance is very easy with the rain barrel system of water collecting.
You should allow all city water to set for 24 hours so that the fluoride in the water will evaporate. You cannot do this with a city water supplied irrigation system. Plants don’t especially like fluoride unless you are growing the man-eating plant from the 1986 movie "Little Shop of Horrors". That plant might have tooth issues.
Collected rainwater has no such additives, unless you count the acid in the rainwater, which we cannot deal with here. Roots just prefer water from naturally occurring rainwater.
Simply put, install a rain barrel to save money and help the environment. Once you have one in your garden, you, like me, will most likely be yearning for another.
---Posted by Anne K Moore, September 15, 2008---
NASA Seeds in Space
"You can tell which diseases tomatoes are resistant to by looking for letters such as V, F, N and T after the name of the tomato. Each letter represents a problem the plant is bred to resist, and the more letters the better!"
---from Orene Horton's book, "Clippings from Orene's Garden"---