If you’ve been reading my blog, then you might be familiar with the rain barrel project I did a while back.
Well, I’ve had a fair amount of time to evaluate how it’s working and here are some of my observations.
Pick the best location where your roof will provide the most run off. That may not always be in the most visually appealing place, but it’s something to take into consideration. Here’s a good calculator that will tell you how much rain needs to fall to fill your barrels.
Take time to think about your set up. How are you catching the water. Open top, or diverter. I’m using a diverter dam installed inside the downspout and it’s not catching rain fast enough for my liking. If I had it to do over, I’d use something called a barrel topper in conjunction with a downspout diverter along with another overflow that would rout back into the downspout. This kind of set up would significantly increase the amount of water going into the barrels.
Properly size your catchment system. Look, if you’re getting free barrels then I wouldn’t complain. If you’re starting from scratch, use a lot of water, and have the space, go big. You might think 110 gallons of water is a a lot, but in gardening terms that will draw down pretty quickly. I do my watering with two, two gallon watering cans. On any given day I might fill them both up 3 or 4 times, so after doing that 27.5 times, my 110 gallons is gone…
The smaller amount of storage isn’t an issue when it’s raining at least once a week, but go through a dry spell like we had recently and you might run out. The solution, more storage.
Below is a picture of an IBC (intermediate bulk container). They measure, 48″ x 40″ x 46″, come in sizes that will hold up to 330 gallons and cost between $50 and $70. The most common size is 275 gallons, and you can find them on craigslist all day.
I’ve taken some measurements and it will more than likely require me to relocate a couple of blueberry bushes. Well worth it though, since is will more than double my storage capacity…now if I can only think of a way to hide it…