Rain barrels, thou art nonsense.

June 15, 2010

When we cleaned the rain barrels out and hooked them up this spring, they quickly filled with one or two good storms. When there was finally a dry spell, we were able to use them for one good soak. 50 gallons really doesn’t go that far.

Again, after two good storms, which was WEEKS ago, we were back up to full. And now it’s raining every other day, so we’re not using what’s in the barrel, all the rain now is going into the overflow and hence to the sewer, and when we do have a dry spell, it will last for weeks and these barrels are only good for one thorough soak. Whose idea was this?

I was expressing my frustration on this the other day and a woman happened to overhear. Because gardeners are “sharers”, she told me she uses these storms to fill big pickle jars with water and she stores them in her garage. Hmmm…. if I were to use milk jugs, I thought. But each milk jug is only a gallon, which means I’d have to store 100 jugs to empty the barrels just one time. And seriously, while shrinking my carbon footprint is very important, I don’t go through 100 gallons of milk in a whole year anymore. Additionally, 100 gallons of water would take up a lot of space in my garage. Like a really, really big bunch of space.

Tony thinks we should do a whole system of rain barrels, but those have to be stored somewhere too. Am I lining the side of my house with barrels? Kind of makes me think of Egyptian burials and their crates and barrels of goods to provide comfort in the afterlife. Or maybe Bilbo and his dwarf friends, packed in barrels to escape the Wood Elves. Either way, it’s too far over the top, even for me.

So I’ll continue to gnash my teeth about wasted water. I’ll use the captured barrels when it finally stops raining – which won’t be for another 10 days at least – and then I’ll (SIGH) turn on the hose when the rain stops, to make sure my peppers and impatiens survive and thrive.

What is your suggestion for capturing rainwater over longer periods of time?

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4 Responses to “Rain barrels, thou art nonsense.”

  1. Kristin Cochran said

    Hi! La Grange is doing an arty rain barrels on display this summer. (Inspired by the cows on parade) They line the shops of downtown La Grange – very cute.

    If you do decide to do the milk jug idea, just let me know! Maeve is going through milk like there is no tomorrow!

    Sadly, I have no good suggestions. I’ll keep thinking!

  2. Instead of doing a bunch of rain barrels you might want to look into bigger rainwater tanks. Some of them hold thousands of gallons of water. You might not need that much and there are some other ones that have a nice slimline appearance that hold roughly around 500 gallons.

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