Monday, August 6, 2012

Catching the Rain

 When we came to Albuquerque 13 years ago I started calling around to find a rain barrel. (Yes - we actually get rain here in the desert.  It usually comes in July and August and we call it the monsoon season.  We get about  13" of precipitation yearly and really need every drop.)  Anyhow back to my story.  Everywhere I called they acted like I was from another planet.  A rain barrel???  No one seemed to know what I was talking about.  So I ordered one from Gardener's Supply Company.  It holds 70 gallons and because we have a single story home with a lot of roof area it fills in about 7-10 minutes of steady rain.

The first one worked so well that I ordered a second one.  They have a screen guard on the top.  That's really important to prevent mosquitos from taking up residence there.  Also it catches the big gunk that washes off the roof.  I've heard stories about women washing their hair in rainwater but you wouldn't catch me doing that!  After it washes off the roof its pretty gross and although my plants love it, its pretty disgusting.  This picture is shows the second rain barrel connected to a third one as the overflow barrel.
The overflow barrel(65 gallons) is a Fiskars one that I got at Lowes.  I've kept the lid solid and drilled a hole in the upper side connected to the green barrel.  When the green barrel fills it overflows into the gray one saving even more water.  All three rain barrels have an outlet at the bottom that can be connected to a hose.  That makes it easy to water plants and containers around my garden.       
As you can see, this system works well for me.  And now you can find rain barrels all over Albuquerque.  The city will even give you a rebate for having one (with the proper paperwork).  So I wasn't crazy - just ahead of my time.

One reminder - empty the rain barrels before a hard frost so that the water doesn't freeze and crack them.   

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