Sunday, July 21, 2013

Harvesting Rainwater....

You ever heard old-timers call rain, 'liquid sunshine'? 
When I was a kid, I thought that was a funny thing to say.
Now, after gardening and growing a few flowers, I see that was a true thing to say!
There's NO amount of water from a garden hose that can do what rain water can do-plus- it's free!
If you look on youtube, you can find very elaborate systems with 20 barrels and more. 
A good rain here, can fill one barrel quickly, so multiple barrels are a great idea.
 For the most part, where I live, we don't typically have extremely long periods with no rain- and we have (awfully) high humidity, and dew from heaven every night,  however, when you have several large garden spots, those barrels can be drained very quickly, so I suppose you would weigh need vs weather.  And, as you locals remember, last year gave us a horrible drought!  
And again- nothing is better than rain water!

My system is pretty simple right now and I couldn't begin to tell you how very excited I am about it and how very useful it is......but I can show you! ;-)

But first, I must say, these precious gifts were from the Lord!
God put a special friend in my life who saw the need and possibility for me in rain barrels and she went WAY out of her way, MANY times, to bring these treasures to me. I'm very grateful! 
Who but God, would see and meet such a unique need!

You can see the gutter drains right into the top of the barrel. A screen is tucked around the gutter that's inserted into the barrel to limit debris. This barrel has an on/off faucet that's hooked to a short hose. This is super handy at our back door when we bring new plants in and for watering things in this area.
This is an independent barrel that I can drain the others into. This provides more room in the barrels at the downspouts and allows the water to be just a hose away from the gardens. These barrels have twist-off lids on top and there's a spigot that's on the lower side of this one where a hose can be attached. The hose in the top is where I drained off the upper barrel at the downspout since I knew more rain was coming.
Another view of that same barrel. You can see the gardens behind it that will benefit from it's contents! Yah barrel!
These barrels are at that same upper corner. Since I needed a gravity's help, these are the ones I drained to fill the independent barrel in the pic above.  You can see there's two connected for overflow. There are various ways you can do this and lots of info on youtube. Again, notice the downspout going into the upper barrel.

Another view of those barrels to help you see what I mean about gravity. Because these are up on the hill, the drain easily and rapidly into the independent barrel.
Here's another, and the most tricky! As you can see, this is the front porch. The gutter runs down on the other side of those steps into the front yard. But who wants a 55 gallon drum in their front yard? (Well, actually, I wouldn't poor neighbors might though :) So, my crafty friend rigged the gutter in such a way that it snakes under those steps and into the back of that barrel. The barrel has a handy faucet to which the hose can be hooked and wallah- liquid sunshine on tap!
Here is the blue beauty on the 4th and final downspout. Some folks says the bb's are less likely to get slimy on the inside but I figure they'll be used quick enough that it won't matter and perhaps any green stuff would just help the gardens. Also notice the blocks! They are important for your barrels since you need the aid of gravity again. My house and gutters are a little higher than my yard so this little boost is just enough to drain this water wherever it's needed.
This is my favorite type of faucet for the barrels since it requires a little less tugging to keep them from coming loose.
This independent barrel is straight out in the yard from the BB above. You can see it's in a very handy spot! Now that the barrels are full again from rain today, I have one more independent barrel that will go in the center of the yard to water some of the other garden spots there.
Wanna better pic of those flowers on the right?
I knew you would! Zinnias! They stay full of butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds! Another gift from the Lord!
Around this area is where I will put the other independent barrel. Pretty spot, don't you think?
Deu 11:11-14  
But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year. 
And it shall come to pass, if ye shall hearken diligently unto my commandments which I command you this day, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 
That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. 


The Prudent Homemaker said...

Your gardens are coming along so nicely! I love how you are using more of your property this year to garden.

When did you plant the zinnias?

The more I cut mine last year the more they flowered.

Donna said...

Thank you Brandy!

I think I planted them in early to mid April since our weather was already warming. I just put more of those in a back corner. They're lovely!

Will they come back, do you know?

Joy said...

Wow just wow! So glad you were blessed with such wonderful helpful tools!

Donna said...

I love them! I'm wondering if we should name them, like we did the freezers, you know, affectionately, lol.

McKinsey said...

I want to use more rain barrels eventually if we stay at our house. I want to make more raised beds. Our soil here on the mountain isn't the best so raised beds are the best for my yard. Don't you just love Zinnias? They have fast became my favorite flower! Next year I'm planning on planting about 5 times as many as this year lol!

Donna said...

I do love them McKinsey! They grow so well and the colors just pop! I also like that they stay fresh when cut, for a long period of time, so I can have them outside and in ;-)

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

I've been wanting to do this. Thanks for posting!

Sharon said...

Rain water is free, and you’re certainly helping your budget and the environment by harvesting and using them for various purposes, one of which is gardening. Using rain water for that will absolutely cut some cost in your monthly water bill. Keep it up!

Sharon Strock @ StormChamber®