Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Award of the Month



The reduce, reuse, recycle award for the month goes to Beth, An Urban Plot for her series of posts on rain barrels. Follow the link to see what an urban gardener has to say about rain barrels...here's a quote from a recent post:

How much water is it possible to catch in your barrels? Consider the following formula...
1 inch of rain on a 1000 sq ft roof yields 625 gallons of water. To calculate the yield of your roof, multiply the square footage of your roof by 625 and divide by 1000.
One good rainfall, and my 300 gallon capacity is overflowing!


Gail

In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught."
- Baba Dioum, Senegalese poet

32 comments:

  1. Hi Gail, food for thought, this one. How can you save enough rainwater without having a cistern like the one at the Ladybird Johnson wildflower center? Sigh.

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  2. Thanks for the link to Beth's site, Gail. We actually lost water for three days this summer--fortunately (if that's the word) there was just a short in a wire to the pump to our well--we didn't have to replace the pipe or refill the well. But it made us appreciate running water a lot more--I'll have to look into rain barrels (now, if only it would rain . . .)

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  3. Frances,

    I am with you on that...and I have looked at a cistern for here but, can you imagine the cost of digging to lay all the pipes that would connect to a collection area...to say nothing of the cistern and pump! When we build our dream eco-house! I still like this young woman's energy; she is collecting and able to save some water!

    Gail

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  4. Cosmo,

    As Frances said, we might need to have a cistern to collect all the water that falls in the winter! Occasionally we get a big rain in the summer and it would be fabulous to be able to collect some of the water and store for dry days!

    I am spoiled being on metro water! I can't imagine ever having to worry about my water disappearing and my well drying up!

    Gail

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  5. I wish plastic barrels were easier to find.

    When I have the gutters on my house replaced, I plant to ask about rain barrels.
    Marnie

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  6. What a good thing. I am going to check it out as I have been trying to figure out how to put that bottom spigot in where it will not leak or pop out.

    Marnie, I got my plastic barrels at an auto store in the country. They were only $12 per. Also, my friend Geri got a few from the local newspaper. You might try those two assets for some cheap barrels.

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  7. Wow, that's really something to consider. I never realized that much water could be accumulated. Congrats to Beth.

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  8. We don’t have gutters on the house. Most people down here in GA in our area don’t seem to have gutters. Mystery to us but we are thinking with all the GA pine trees maybe the needles are the reason… hummm, one to ponder….

    We had a rain barrel in our Gartenplatz in Germany. We collected tons of water and it was great to dip the pitcher into the natural source of water. The garden loved it…

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  9. Where I live there is rain all year round but nevertheless I have 3 rain barrels and am hoping to buy a few more just to tide me over when it's not raining. A cistern would be great but far too expensive. This summer so far has been a wet one and all my rain barrels are filled to overflowing.

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  10. I wish I had some rain to put in the barrels(-: That is a cool idea but wouldn't work to well here when you really needed the water. I guess if I had a 3000 gallon tank it might work(-: Then I could save all the water over the winter for watering in the summer(-:

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  11. Marnie,

    Your city government might have someone in their storm water management department who is in charge of rainbarrels etc! Ours does...they don't have a give away or purchase cheap but they sent me info on where to get a barrel and how to construct them!
    I am sorry that I didn't have the gutters set up for rain barrels when they were replaced on the porch and the carport! Good luck!

    Gail

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  12. tina,

    Did you get the instructions I forwarded to you! Also the address for where to get food grade barrels is in the forward. Good luck with the leaks!

    gail

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  13. kathleen,

    It is amazing how much water rolls off the roof adding to our stormwater management problems, carrying fertilized water to the river and eroding the yard. The plus is we can capture it for some watering of the garden!

    Gail

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  14. skeeter,

    No gutters and downspouts...what about flooded crawlspaces? That would make it hard to collect water if it's all rolling off the roof everywhere! I wondr what you could do?

    Gail

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  15. yolanda elizabet,

    I am glad to hear that you still see value in a rain barrel, it is easy for me to think that it isn't worth it. Not only one rain barrel but 3 and getting more! My dream home has a roof collection system and a cistern with a pump!

    Gail

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  16. cindee,

    I know how you feel...as I stare at the blue sky and wonder again...where is my rain cloud! But if I had a barrel at each downspout I could save a lot of water...we have a dirth of downspouts! I want the rain to come back!

    Gail

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  17. I know, I think it is crazy no gutters down here and a lot of people dont have garages either! We have a separate carport type (Roof and 3 sides but no door) away from the house. If I could make one major renovation with price not being a problem, it would be to add an attached garage! I guess a Georgia thing. Most new houses have them but people will leave their $50,000 Mercedes out in the weather while they store $500 worth of junk in the garage. Go Figure!

    We just had all new windows installed and the gutters will probably be next! Our next door neighbor had them installed and is happy with the installation. So we have a good guy to do the installation when we are ready. We just need to get the economy to pick back up so our savings will pick back up also! Arggg…

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  18. Skeeter,

    You know that they ought to be able to put some kind of diverter on your downspouts so you can connect to a rain barrel! Just suggesting;->

    gail

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  19. Hi Gail,
    What a great thing to post about! We should get our gutters redone and get some set up, though the potential problem here would be the mosquitoes if we didn't use it right away. Umm, this year we wouldn't have needed them overflowing, lol. And I won't tell you what it did here again tonight weather wise....

    We've got a cistern buried in our yard (the bee hive, remember?), and we had three of them at the house I grew up in (another oldie but goodie house). My dad filled in one that was too close to the foundation, but left the other two. He had two pumps set up, so that's how he watered the garden the whole time he was there.

    It's good to hear (from you and other commenters) that they're making a comeback. Such a smart idea should have never gone out of style!

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  20. IVG,

    I have a screen on my one rain barrel that I hope keeps out the critters, biting itching ones and small mammals! We naturally have dryer summers then you and they seem to be getting dryer each year! I may be pushing the boundaries in my garden to attempt to grow natives that like the soil to be constantly moist!
    We'll see what next year brings!

    That is a great story about your dad and his garden!
    So you grew up around gardening, did you work in his garden?

    Gail

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  21. Hey, thanks Gail and Tina for the suggestions on rain barrels. I'll look into those.

    Tina, on the spigot. I think adding a square of plastic inside to make a double wall at that point and then using some kind of silicone or water proof cement to prevent leaking around the spigot.

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  22. A great idea, Gail. I've been looking longingly at those rain barrels for awhile. I remember my grandmother used to have the old wooden rainbarrels sitting around her house. Funny, how some of those "old-fashioned" ideas went out of vogue, and now we're seeing the sense in them once again.

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  23. marnie,

    I have instructions on constructing them if you want me to forward it to you?

    Gail

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  24. Rose,

    All things green is in now! I would love to have many more than the one I have...which is not connected yet! Truth in blogging! But I comfort myself by noting that it hasn't rained since I bought last month. On Beth's site...is a quote that says something like we have to go backwards sometimes in order to progress or go forward! Best go to her site and read it! But Your Grandma was wise is my saying!

    Gail

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  25. No gutters on my Texas house either, Gail - although some people have them. Most houses here are on concrete slabs and many are on elastic clay - with recommendations to water the foundations to keep them stable.

    I guess the water needs to land on the ground around houses like ours rather than being diverted. But then a seep garden can slow the water as it roars to the street so it can soak in over tree root zones. We seldom get rain...it's more likely to be drought or flood.

    I'm sure barrels work in some climates.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  26. Gail,
    I just had a very long comment eaten here, so I won't try to reconstitute it now. Suffice to say, was surprised that you have Celosia Caracas as well... that was a new one for us this year and we love it. What's not to love about Celosias? :-)

    Also much envy about your Lathyrus which we've tried and failed at several times.

    As for my Dad and gardening... here's an old post of mine you might find informative...

    http://urban-oasis.blogspot.com/search?q=portrait+of+the+gardener

    Oh well, another eaten comment, lol. Have a great weekend! (I'll still be working a bit on Sunday, but Saturday's mine!)

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  27. Annie,

    Thank you for explaining why some houses don't have gutters...our house in on a slope and water collected in the crawl space when they overflowed. I often wonder what it would be like to have a gentle rain. It is either no rain or a deluge here in TN!

    I have noticed the cracking earth around my foundation. When MMD was asking about her garden cracks, my curiosity got the best of me and I discovered that TN, especially East has elastic soil. I don't know if we have it here, but with the dry weather we have had, I am beginning to worry about cracks in my foundation...they are showing up. Sigh! Now we must water the house, too!

    Thanks Annie for your thoughts and input...I thought Beth's system was perfect for folks who can collect water.

    Gail

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  28. ivg,

    I have many lost comments and am never sure what is going on! As a mac user I have to post with Firefox and a recent download of Bookmarks has done something funky to my machine! I need to remove firefox and downloads and start over! I love the bookmark add-on, it's how I keep up with all of you bloggers! If you go to my home page...you won't see them, of course, but you will see that my "Incomplete List of Blogs I visit" is indeed incomplete! Any and all suggestions are welcome!

    Celosia Caracas rocks...keep trying with the Sweet pea...try crummy soil, that's what I have!

    Gail




    SIGH heard all the way to Iowa I am sure!

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  29. Gail, My son has rain barrels. I wish we would consider it!! I hope it will be an upcoming project!!! :-)

    Meanwhile, I'm getting ready to plunge into the red-wiggler interior worm composting this Fall! ;-)

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  30. Shady...oh my! I can't wait to read your post! I have a huge problem...I need way more compost for this clay soil then I can produce...so anything that makes compost is attractive right now...even worms!

    gail

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  31. I'm so envious of your beautiful Rucbeckia's, Something has eaten mine, and they are all gone.

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  32. machelle,

    I am so sorry..I can't imagine what it could be except maybe deer! That would make me very sad!

    Gail

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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