It is currently Fall and you are probably thinking about packing up the rain barrels or maybe you are thinking about getting a rain barrel or two in the Spring. With tap water being so chlorinated it can prove toxic to the soil life supporting your crops. I’ve heard some say their city water works well in their gardens, water sources can be worse than others. Our rain barrel set up on the slab is pretty basic. A section of the gutter is cut out and the retractable diverter is attached to the gutter with metal screws. When you do not want to collect any more water or the barrel is full you can simply close the diverter and the rain will travel through the gutter like it normally would.
It sounds unheard of, but in some areas, harvesting rainwater is illegal. Be sure to check with your town before buying any rain barrels and related materials. Rain barrels can be purchased at the big hardware store chains across the country. I chose to purchase my rain barrels from a non-profit in my area. Overall cost of the barrel and diverter was $75.
Your rain barrel should have a catchment on top with some holes and a net underneath. Gutters catch its fair share of debris and it will wash down into the catchment. Basically, the holes in the the catchment and the net will keep that debris out of your barrel. Nothing is more irritating then a clogged spigot. We all know when Summer comes so do the mosquitoes. The net will prevent mosquitoes from entering the barrel to lay eggs. Anyway, there is only so much debris the catchment can take before it totally clogs. We here on the slab are surrounded by lots mature trees and they are always shedding something which leads to frequent clogging. Now you are probably shaking your head and wondering if you have the time to keep unclogging the rain barrel. The solution I have for this is rock. You can buy a bag of river rock at any mom and pop hardware store or large chain store. The rock serves as another filter. The debris just lays on top of the rock and the water finds it was through the holes and net. River rock is made of minerals and no worries of adding man made toxins to your rain water. Using this rock, I only have to clean out once during the gardening season. Right now it is October, close to freeze time. The diverters are up. Currently, I am using the rain water on compost piles that need hydrated. These will be emptied out before a freeze. Once emptied, we will secure a garbage bag or something (reusable preferred) of that nature to prevent moisture collection during the Winter months. Rain water collecting will resume in the Spring. Happy Collecting!