Rain Barrel

Gaithersburg, MD

Has anyone been able to find any truly attractive, stylish rain barrels? They all seem to resemble each other and come in bland colors. Why can't they be interesting, colorful and still be made from recycled materials?

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Get one of the ugly ol' ones and paint it.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I assume you've looked online. There's more variety than I thought, but $$$
Ha just saw one painted like a giant Morton Salt canister, girl with umbrella...

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I don't know about stylish but we have three French wine barrels. I found them at a Home Depot about eight years ago. DD had a plastic one. She landscped around it with potted plants and had a copper rain chain going into the barrel. You could surround a barrel with terracotta flue liners and plant or place pots on those. They come round, square or rectangular and varying heights.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I have this one and like it a lot. Very attractive in my setting. However, I see the prices have gone waaay up. Yikes!

http://www.amazon.com/Kyoto-RBSS-75-75-Gallon-Barrel-Sandstone-Finish/dp/B002R0FQGE

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

That kind of price would buy a lot of plain 'ol barrels and SEVERAL cans of paint. Even a stencil so you could paint a bunch of leaves on it to camouflage it.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Yes, it's pricey but I am not able to do a lot of physical work right now and DH is disabled so we have to manage the best we can. People's circumstances are different and I'm very glad I had an option. It was delivered right to my door and the kind UPS delivery gal helped me get it unpacked and moved into place.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

Of course, there are always several reasons for any choice. The trade off between DIY and buy it already done is certainly one of the decisions to be made.
I can understand not being able to do much. Fortunately my (adult) children are willing to help.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I have no adult children or other family here.

Roanoke, VA

Are there any non plastic rain barrels?

Is rain water spilling from roof shingles harmful in any way? (chemicals?)

What did those 2008 organic gardening magazine rain water 1,000 gallon cisterns look like?


This message was edited Feb 4, 2015 8:31 PM

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Q2- rainwater off the roof will carry whatever fell on the roof, so it's not considered drinking water. I don't think the shingles themselves contribute much on the way of contamination.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

Modern shingles are made of fiberglass composite and are okay for garden use but as Sally said, not for drinking water. I collect it for watering greenhouse orchids since rainwater replicates what they would get in nature.

We have a spring cistern at our cottage which is nothing more than a round section of storm drain with a gravel over sand base. It's about four feet deep, sunken to about 6" above ground and has a concrete lid. Since the spring continually feeds the cistern it does not run dry. There is a 4" overflow hole near the top. The overflow runs into a creek and feeds our pond. The cistern supplies all house and garden water. It's adequate at 40 gallons but we could use a bigger one because we have to be very careful of not running dry during droughty periods. I guess you could use hydro-concrete and seal the bottom with a lid or maybe they can be obtained with an end cap. A more light weight option for above ground would be to use a galvanized stock tank and retrofit it with an overflow and cover (maybe using metal roofing?). They have a pretty long life and are inexpensive. They're available at rural feed and seeds or places like Tractor Exchange.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

I use the local rain water for my aquariums, and some have delicate critters that would not live if there were even low levels of toxins in the rain water.
I allow the first storm to wash the roof off. We have a long dry season and the roof collects dust and pollen.

If you are directly down wind from a chemical plant that has still not controlled their emissions you might want to have the rain water tested. This is one source of acid rain.
Rain water will naturally be somewhat acidic, it picks up some CO2 from the air, and this lowers the pH. Not by much, and this has no effect on the plants.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

so creative!

(Zone 5a)

Quote from MaypopLaurel :
Modern shingles are made of fiberglass composite and are okay for garden use but as Sally said, not for drinking water. .


Do you think veggie gardening would be ok? We're on rural water that is quite expensive and after learning all the stuff in that, I cannot imagine roof water would be any worse. Thankfully we've had plenty of recent rains that it has been enough for the veggie gardens. I've been using the rain water for washing with and watering my wetland plants.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Absolutely OK for vegetable gardens. Everything that gets a roof dirty is also falling all over the garden plants all day long.

I use a rain barrel by my garden for the convenience of filling a watering can without walking 150 feet and hauling the long hose. And for the principle of 'every little bit helps' in conservation. One rain barrel is really not a substitute for a hose when you really need to water, though.

Ditto to Laurel, potted plants love rainwater all year round.

(Zone 5a)

Quote from sallyg :

One rain barrel is really not a substitute for a hose when you really need to water, though.


Thank you for confirming that. I used some for the seedlings, but wasn't sure the closer they get to producing.

My husband bought some type of pump that he attaches to the rain barrel to produce more pressure to speed things up as rain water has been used to clean and fill our duck's pool.

We have five rain barrels, but sadly, the two locally-made ones we bought from Whole Foods are leaky. :(

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Well poo on the leaky ones!
At 200+ gallons you are getting somewhere.

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

A larger concern is rain barrels with standing water can become breeding grounds for E. coli that then gets watered into the soil of a food garden. Because of this they should be periodically sanitized with bleach.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I didn't know that. Thanks!

(Zone 5a)

Hmm... Any alternative for bleach that is better for the environment? I've heard the production of it is pretty nasty, so we avoid using it whenever possible.

Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

I wonder if hydrogen peroxide will work?

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I was thinking the same thing. I started to do some research online and got busy with other things.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Bleach is likely going to be cheapest way, by far..

Is it ok if the possibly E coli laden water is just going to the root zone and soil, not on parts we eat?

My barrel has gotten very green at times, I figured I was just making algae=liquid nitrogen for the plants.

(Zone 5a)

Cheapest often gets us into trouble. :) I've gone away from OxyClean, as well because one of the ingredients is bad downstream.

http://www.sustainablebabysteps.com/oxiclean.html

I now use BioClean's bleach alternative in the laundry. I use Grapefruit seed extract for disinfecting around the house; it's said to be good on mold, so figure it's good enough for toilets and sinks.

I grew up hearing bleach this, bleach that... Still hear it for cleaning bird feeders and nesting boxes. I use the alternatives, but a part of me questions if these things really get rid of the bad microbes that bleach does. Bleach doesn't kill your nose hairs for nothing. :P

Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA(Zone 7b)

I have no answers. My information is based on learning to maintain a spring fed cistern that provides drinking water for the cottage. Even though water is constantly running in and out it was recommended that we clean and shock it twice a year. Commercial livestock operations and farms using catchment water are regulated by catchment sanitation laws. As for hydrogen peroxide...there is food and non-food grade (I don't know the difference) and otc strengths of 3% vs. commercial strengths of 30+%. If you do the research it takes a very small amount of bleach to do the job.

Sally, it is recommended that plants are ground watered only when using catchment water but food in the field can be soil contaminated. While minimizing risk you can't lose sleep. All chemicals can do is sanitize, not sterilize and some things do a better job than others.

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