Posts tagged rain barrels

Rain: Too much of a good thing

The following is by Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith:

     He was correct.  A climatologist said July was going to be wetter and colder than normal.  Did you imagine we’d be wearing jackets and sweatshirts on mid-summer mornings?  A couple of my houseplants living on the deck for the summer got relocated under the eaves.  They were experiencing a little too much of a good (rain water) thing.  It has been nice not having to drag hoses or fill the water wagon as much this year.  The soaker hose has been pretty much dormant, too. 

    It does bother me letting all this precious water run off, though.  Rain barrels have become a popular efficient way to retain that wonderful commodity that Mother Nature provides. Rain barrels don’t need to be plugged in or powered up.  They’re good for the environment and save money. 

    Rain water is preferably to municipal water for gardens because it provides a beneficial pH balance, thus creating less of a need for fertilizer. 

     Rain barrels situated at the base of a gutter or downspout, are typically modified recycled 55 gallon food grade drums, and include a filter, spigot and with an overflow pipe usually directed  on to a flower or vegetable bed.  Commercial rain barrels are available with costs varying.   Rain chains, water-funneling devices, can be used in place of down spouts for an esthetic effect.  Maybe you would want a decorative rain barrel situated on either side of your patio door. 

     Rain barrels may provide a good source of water should we have a water restriction order.  While the primary use is plant associated, rain water can be used to wash a car, scrub patio furniture or even flush a toilet. 

     Rain barrels do require minimal maintenance.  Leaves and other debris have to be removed from the filter and the gutter supplying the water.  Also, users need to guard against mosquito breeding and algae.  All in all helping  the environment far outweighs a bit of inconvenience.

    And, speaking of mosquitoes, just a reminder with all of the moisture we’re experiencing, the most common floodwater mosquito will be laying eggs in any source of stagnant or muddy water.  Remember to regularly empty and clean the kids’ wading pools, the pet’s water dishes and the bird bath.  Tall weeds and grasses harbor mosquitoes during the day.  Reduce the incidence of the problem and reduce the population of the annoying and possible disease carrying critters.

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Backyard Abundance tour Saturday

Toni and Jake DeRyke home (photo, Backyard Abundance)

Toni and Jake DeRyke home (photo, Backyard Abundance)

Information on the following Backyard Abundance event came from Fred Meyer: 

Decades of steady care by Toni and Jake DeRyke, 2101 Muscatine Ave., Iowa City, have led to a peaceful and orderly yard filled with beautiful flowers, tranquil shade gardens and an abundance of food. The yard will be open to view from 3-5 p.m. Saturday (June 27, 2009.)

 The DeRykes strive to keep their environmental impact low while also saving money:

  • Growing their own food eliminates the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted to transport food to their home.
  • Rain barrels capture free rainwater for their garden, reducing the need for energy-intensive purified tap water.
  • Steady supplies of low-cost reclaimed building materials are frequently acquired from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
  • Trees shade their home, reducing energy bills and providing bird habitat.

 Toni and Jake reflect our growing efforts to think globally and act locally; and it does not get more local than your own backyard.

 Parking for their event is available on 3rd Avenue, on the west side of their home.

 For more information, see: http://www.backyardabundance.org/events.aspx

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