An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

July 12, 2008

Rain Barrel Workshop

If anyone had told me 10 years ago, that I would be attending a rain barrel workshop, I would have said what and why for. Although we recently enjoyed 6 days in a row of rain, I know that it will not last. I have not gotten my water bill for June yet, but I am dreading it. We are obviously charged for water used, but they calculate your sewage charges based on water usage. I wish there was some way to distinguish which amount of water went to the garden and which went down the toilet. I know many parts of the country have been dealing with water issues since... forever, but it has only recently entered our civic consciousness.

I want to thank my neighbor Lisa for hosting and Mike of Mike's Rain Barrel's for bringing all the supplies. It was good morning.

Bringing a little person with narrow shoulders and dexterous hands was a genius move on my part.


  1. So what's your guest doing in the rainbarrel? More serious question, how do you get the water from the barrel to the gardens?

  2. My city's water dept. will make an adjustment to your rate if you tell them you have a garden and therefore use less sewer resources than your water intake otherwise suggests. Gardeners everywhere should check with their water depts.

    (They did send someone out to look at the garden to confirm its existence, and they inspected the pipes and appliances a little bit too.)

  3. Wish I'd known about this - I have 3 rain barrels (commercially built - the "cascata" brand, which are really attractive; these are on the three corners of the house which are really visible), but could use another for the remaining corner. I'm guessing they cost less to build yourself!

    At any rate, I keep 2 galvanized pails at the base of each barrel and fill them alternately as I haul the other to water with. It's a little work, but enjoyable, and good exercise, too.

  4. We are lucky here in CT as it seems to rain when we need it. We sometimes have extended dry spells but in general water is plentiful.

    Thanks for the post on the dogs. Our Border Collie takes the prize as the oddest we have ever had. We like to call her "quirky". We are about to get a new member in our pack.

  5. I'm thinking about buying one - I would like the terra cotta looking one. We haven't had significant rain in a month and I'm getting desperate.

  6. Cosmo,
    My son is in the barrel using his nimble fingers to attach the backside of the spigot fitting. After the barrels are finished they are put under a roof gutter downspouts to capture rainwater.

    That sounds so progressive, perhaps too much for this area, but I'll look into it.

    The cost of the workshop and finished rain barrel was $50.

    Loretta is beyond quirky, we usually refer to her as "queer bitch" in the original sense of both words.

    We were desperate in June, but we are now only 1" below normal and things look green and lush. A month ago the roadsides were straw colored and the trees looked stressed.


  7. I'm gonna have rain barrels - at least three of them - built into my new house design (which doesn't mean much - gutters going into barrels like the ones you showed in your post.

    This post was gret I think - but it's achievable, reasonable - and helps.

    And - my water and sewer bills are tied too, and I hate it. Best way around it here is to dig a well - but you often get poor quality (salty) water there. Our water company doesn't negotiate with gardeners like Chuck B's - but I check a few years ago now, so perhaps it's worth a revisit.

  8. Les, In Nashville the local water company will make an allowance for you if you water. I think they somehow discount the bill. That is what was said at the PPS meeting in Nashville last summer. You might try it in your town. Also, you can have an extra water meter installed which doesn't have sewer attached to it. My inlaws have this in NC and they like it very much. I think it was reasonable to have it installed. I am lucky I have a septic system and like it I don't have to pay that sewer. It would make me frustrated to have to pay for sewer when I am watering my ground. Good luck with your water bill, I dread mine.