Water, Water, Everywhere; but not a drop when you need it

For anyone that lives in the DC Metro area, if you find yourself wondering where the sun has gone, and if it seems like it has rained every day for the past month; you are definitely not alone. There is a certain cruel irony for gardeners here in Maryland, which is that it rains nearly daily in February through April, and then the summer can be very dry. Now, that’s not always the case, as I remember a June and July about 2 or 3 years ago that felt as wet as it does right now. However, for the past 2 years, I’ve found myself supplementing my deck garden crops with “bought water” during the hot and dry summer months. Which brings me to my topic for today.

Free water.

Yes, water should always be free, and no that does not make me a communist. Now, I don’t believe that water should be given away when it is pumped, desalinated, or processed; there are costs that are associated with that and we can’t allow people to frivolously waste a finite resource by giving it to them for nothing. I do believe that when water falls from the sky, anyone fortunate enough to hold out a cup should be allowed to drink freely from said cup.

You have a 55 gallon rain barrel? More power to you! That’s a lot of cups to drink from.

Now, while it was technically feasible for me to install a rain barrel at my old house, I wanted to keep my rather smallish deck clear of too much clutter. I was sure my wife would put her foot down regarding a large barrel next to our deck door. Now, however, there is a yard that I can take advantage of, not to mention a larger roof in which to collect the water.

You too can join the rain collection club; it’s easy and can be cheap too! There are just a few things to consider before starting:


Here is the link to the list. After I started writing it, it turned into a major rambling rant, so I decided to preserve space by making the list a separate page.


Once I start construction of the rain barrels, I will post some pictures of the various stages of construction for everyone to see and hopefully learn from all my (many) mistakes that I’m sure to make.

So, now that you have decided to make the plunge and set up a rain collection system, now what?

-First gather your supplies after determining how much water you want to be able to store. Here is a link for a simple rain barrel.

-Second, determine if you will be using a first flush diverter, and if you will be just be buying one, or making one.

-Third, find a place to put the rain water collection system

-Fourth, build it

-Fifth, sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You now are the proud owner of a completed rain barrel.


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