If you have access to an unlimited
supply of water, consider yourself lucky. There are many of us who reside in
drought zones, where the garden and lawn watering rules are very constrictive
Many people give up when they find out
how few gallons of water they are permitted to use, but some have found ways to
cope with less water. There are several ways to optimize your garden to
conserve water while still keeping it lush.
Some of the ways include drip irrigation
(the use of a pipe or hose with small holes to allow water to gradually seep
into the root zones of plants), the placement of plants in groups with equal
watering needs (to prevent wasting water on plants that don’t need as much),
and using compost or mulch to minimize evaporation and runoff of the water.
Occasionally a period of drought will be
forecasted far in advanced, or those already experiencing a drought will be
given a rare reprieve, with heavy rains. To take advantage of this, you should
set up one or more rain barrels. Many people think this would be a time
consuming, silly thing to do. But it can save you many gallons of water, and
hardly requires any work.
Finding the barrels will probably be the
easiest part. Tank-Depot.com offers a wide variety of styles and capacities in
rain barrels. You can go with something as simple and economical as the
ultra-affordable Garden Pal™ 55 gallon rain barrel. They are durable, mosquito
proof and delivered direct to your door.
Once you have your barrels ready, you’re
faced with the decision of where to place them. Usually during rainfall, there
is one corner or segment of the house that most of the rain tends to pour off
of. If you are taking the simple approach to barrel placement, just place the
barrel under all the downspouts where you see large amounts of water drainage.
However, while this might be the easiest way to place them, you won’t see very
high volumes of rain in the barrels.
If you’re open to taking a more
complicated approach, you should consider tweaking your roof gutter system a
bit. If you remove each individual segment and place it at a very slight slant
so that all the water is diverted to the nearest corner of the house, you can
place a rain barrel at each corner. So essentially your entire house acts as a
catcher for the rain, instead of just a portion of the roof. This will help to
maximize the amount of water your rain barrel will catch.
After a heavy rainfall, each individual
barrel probably won’t see very much rain. If it looks like it won’t be raining
more any time soon, it’s a good idea to empty each barrel into one main central
barrel. Seal it and save it out of the way, for whenever you may need it. Then
the next time it starts to rain, you’ll be able to quickly put all your
catching barrels into place without having to lug around all the water you’ve
accumulated so far.
The use of water barrels might sound
like an antiquated idea. However, when you’re in the midst of a drought and
you’re able to spare that extra couple of gallons for your garden in addition
the city allotment, you’ll be grateful for every bit of time and money you
spent on collecting all that rain. All it takes is a few trips out in the
backyard every time it starts to sprinkle, and you’ll be a very happy gardener
when water isn’t so abundant.
For a plethora of information on
rainwater collection from simple rain barrels to complete irrigation systems,