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smokensqueal
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Rain Barrels

I'm not sure if this is the best place to post this question. If somewhere else is better feel free to move it.

I'm getting 2 55 gal barrels this weekend that I'm going to use as rain barrels. I already checked and they were used for food products and no chemicals so that's a good start.

My question is if you have a rain barrel how do you keep mosquitoes from laying eggs in it? OR other bugs from using it.

I was thinking of two ways of possibly doing this but didn't know if one was better then the other or if someone had a better suggestion. 1. I was thinking just cutting off the top or a big whole in the top and streching some sort of screen accross it. OR 2 thinking about seeling it off straight to the gutter pipe. But I didn't know if the mosquitoes would be smart enough to fly down the gutter pipe.

Thoughts Ideas Suggestions :?:

knight_47
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you could throw in a couple bettas in there, or another type of fish that feeds on mosquito eggs. I'm not sure if the water will still be clean to feed to your plants, but i don't think it should do any harm.

mogardener
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I just put a rain barrell in place this year. I just stretched screening across the top of it and adjusted the gutter to sit right on top of the screening. I haven't had any problems with mosquitos, and the screening keeps debris from falling into the barrell.

:)
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mogardener
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For some reason, I couldn't spell barrel correctly in my message! :oops:
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smokensqueal
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mogardener how did you get the screen to stay on? I tried the same thing and put a few screws in it to hold it but I'm not to happy with the results. Do you have some sort of band that fits around the barrel?

mogardener
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Yep, sorry, I forgot, but the barrel came with a plastic lid that had a metal ring clasp. I just took the plastic lid out. :)
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mogardener
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By the way, I forgot to ask, but are you putting a spigot in the bottom? If so, & you do not need to remove the screening, would a metal wire tightened and twisted help hold the screening on?
"If only you could teach a dog to bury bulbs" - isn't it the truth?!?

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smokensqueal
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Ah ya That might work better. Yes I did put a spigot on the bottom so I don't think I'll need to remove the screen at least for a long while. I'm going to see how my current set up works for a little while if need to I will redesign something over the winter.

We got our first rain yesterday since I've had my rain barrel in and my rain gauge said we only had about a 1/4 inch and my rain barrel was full! :D

mogardener
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I know, it doesn't take much rain to fill it! I love my barrel - I used the water mainly for compost tea & to feed my compost piles. It sounds like you are already enjoying yours!
"If only you could teach a dog to bury bulbs" - isn't it the truth?!?

lilbutrfly
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Rain Barrels and Mosquitos

Hi,
Glad to hear you are putting in a rain barrel. Either method you described would work. The screen or closing off the top of the barrel to the downspout. The screen would be easier and less expensive, though :D
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Cerbiesmom
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Where do you get rain barrels? Or do you just find a barrel and rig it to catch rain. This idea appeals to me. I'm still new to gardening, so I'm learning a lot as I go.

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rainbowgardener
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I ordered my rain barrel online here:

[url=https://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Link-Keywordsearch?DefaultButton=findSimple&ViewAll=1&q=rain+barrel]rain barrels[/url]

I have the 75 gallon one. I've had it about 5 or 6 years now and it works great, I love it. I'm going to get another one this year.
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farmerlon
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Cerbiesmom wrote:Where do you get rain barrels?
Last year, Northern tool had this rain barrel on sale for about $60 each... [url]https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200358913_200358913[/url]

It has a screw-off lid on the top. The threaded section on top of the barrel "stands up" about an inch or so. I got some window screen material, placed it over the whole, and then used a large Cable Tie to secure the screen (by tightening the Cable Tie around that raised threaded section of the barrel).
Works great... screen stays in place, no bugs, no debris in the barrel.

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applestar
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Last year my county recycling department had a sale on Compost Bins and Rain Barrels. I'm thinking $45 for Compost Bins and maybe mmm.. I want to say $55 or $65 for Rain Barrels. I bought two and wish I'd bought another one, though a third one would actually be hard to situate since one remaining down spout is behind a big Rhodo and the another one is right next to the meters and all the cable access, but I'm thinking I could do something with the last available down spout. 8)

This year, I also put an open storage tub along one side of the shed so water from the shed roof can go in it. It doesn't have a rain gutter and I was thinking I would install one, but it seems like the tub fills up after a good rain. As soon as it got warm enough for mosquitoes, I bought a dozen feeder gold fish and put them in the tub. They seem to be quite happy in there. It's right next to the compost pile which is situated a little too far for my garden hose and inconvenient to water before. Now, I just dip out the green algae/goldfish water :().

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gixxerific
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rainbowgardener wrote:I ordered my rain barrel online here:

[url=https://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Link-Keywordsearch?DefaultButton=findSimple&ViewAll=1&q=rain+barrel]rain barrels[/url]

I have the 75 gallon one. I've had it about 5 or 6 years now and it works great, I love it. I'm going to get another one this year.
Do you have your downspout going into it? And does it overflow much? I'm pretty sure you get a lot of rain there I know I do here and am worried about them overflowing all the time.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah the downspout goes into it. But it has a downspout diverter

[url]https://www.gardeners.com/Downspout-Diverter/Watering_RainBarrels,33-991,default,cp.html[/url]


So when the barrel fills up, the "overflow" just goes back down the downspout where it would have been any way.
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gixxerific
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I see thanks RBG.

Have to put that on my wish list, though it has been for some time.

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applestar
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Mine has two punch-out ports near the top of the barrel, and you can clamp-on a hose to either connect one barrel to another or to divert the overflow to where you want it to go. :idea: So I *could* connect an extra barrel to one of the existing rain barrels too.

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Gary350
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Put the screen wire over the top of the barrel and pull it down around the sides. Then buy 2 of those elastic bungie cords and hook them together to double the length of the bungie cord then pull the bungie cord around the top end of the barrel to hold the screen wire in place. I could not find a bungie cord long enough to go all the way around the barrel so I had to use 2 of them. A rope twice around the barrel then tie the ends will work too but the bungie is quick and easy to remove and put back on. Water faucet 2" from the bottom of the 55 gallon barrel with a garden hose attached works good for me.

wolfie
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are you guys using the rain water to water the vegetables? I got some water out of the barrel and it smells like yuckiness and is a yellow color almost like a beer? i am wondering if that is from pollen or my roof? any ideas?
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rainbowgardener
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Not likely pollen... but I don't know what. The water from my rain barrel (off the roof and from the downspout) comes out clear and clean.
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rainbowgardener
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Just got my second rain barrel and got it set up. Of course it being MY property, the spot where it goes, slopes sharply in two directions, so getting it levelled was quite tricky. Now I just have to cut into the downspout to put the diverter in. But there's no rain in the forecast for a week, so I have some time.
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farmerlon
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New price update !!!

Thanks to one of my Master Gardener friends, I learned that our local Farmer's Co-Op has barrels for only $17.99 !
The ones that I found are a red/brown-ish color, and appear to be about 50+ gallons in size; they were Olive barrels from Greece. They have large screw-off lids. The barrels are not already fitted with spigots or overflows, but that will be easy enough to add.

That's the best deal that I have seen on "food grade" barrels.

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Built mine from barrels like that (got mine for free at the last gig) but the fitting kits were expensive. Now I know what to get and will plumb the rest with stuff I buy at Big Orange Box...

Three with more in the planning stages... :)

HG
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applestar
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Me too! You quickly realize that one barrel is not enough at the bottom of the main roof down spouts....

I have a rather elaborate scheme for one of the rain barrels and its downspout that is still being noodled, but I'd love to get a second barrel to connect up to it for now because it goes from empty to overflowing in a few hours when it DOES rain. (In unwatered parts of the yard, the ground is starting to crack....)

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Hours?

I have a small home by most American standards and when we get a good downpour, the back yard set of two can be filled in a matter of a half hour, less in really heavy stuff. I am always amazed...

HG
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applestar
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OK HG, I might not be remembering right. You have to realize I haven't seen real rain in over 3 weeks! :shock:

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Wishing you full barrels soon, AS...

HG
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All this talk of rain barrels.......
With the slope, rather lack of, and numbers of containers, I don't think I could use the conventional rain barrel. Also would be most ineffective now without rain!
I did put a 32 gal heavy duty plastic Brut garbage can on the deck. Fills with rain, when it rains. In the meantime, fill with garden hose. In the AM can hand dip to water the heavy drinkers (sweet potato vine, basil). By afternoon water too hot in barrel to use. I can keep the lid on (except when raining) which keeps the junk and skeetoes out. Every 2 -3 days water the less heavy drinkers with the hose. I have (shredded hardwood) mulch on most of the containers which helps keep the moisture.
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Now, here's the makings of a good experiment: watered with hose-water or watered with rain water. As soon as I get a barrel setup, I'm going to go try that.

Don't hold you breath on it, though, as the barrel is still in the planning stage.

I heard from a friend where he read that that roof-runoff water wasn't good for a garden due to the chemicals from the shingles. However, I've yet to find any scientific proof of this myself.
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Being on city water, even when barrels run out it still gives me a place to gass off water (getting the chlorinie out takes about twenty four hours of sitting)...

Still some of all that rain left in there, but I am getting stingy. Everyone gets a good water tomorrow morning B4 work, corn got a good shot today, rows yesterday. Parts of the garden are looking a bit worn. Even the perfoliate compass plant looks a little wilty (and it must have a six foot tap root by now).

We need rain... global warming sucks...

HG
Scott Reil

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anyone have any idea how long Nitrogen stays in rain water befor it evaporates??? I asked this question in the compost forum and didn't get an answer???? I have a 55 gal drum I keep full all the time, so was wonderin if it sits for awhile does it loose the Nitrogen out of it?

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applestar
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OK, chemistry is NOT my forte, so I might be missing something, but there's no N in H2O, so I don't see where the nitrogen comes in... how does that work? I HAVE heard that snow brings down atmospheric nitrogen trapped between the crystals.... :?:

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Applestar Thanks for the reply! I thought rain water had nitrogen in it??? :? So what exactly is in rain water vs. well water? I always thought rain water had more N than regular well water, and I know for fact that rain water is better for plants than well water. What's the diff?? Pardon the ignorance! lol

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farmerlon
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yuppupcs wrote:... and I know for fact that rain water is better for plants than well water. ...
I don't know why that would be true, unless the well had some sort of "contamination" (sulfur, chemicals, sewage, etc...).

I think the reason most people like to use rain water in the garden is because it's free [excluding the costs in materials to collect it], and it does not contain the chlorine that will be in most "city" water.

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smokensqueal
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There's nothing wrong with well water as long as it's not treated or the underground water table isn't contaminated. With that being said well water is typically used for house hold things including drinking. The idea behind a rain barrel is 1. Not having to use water from a treatment plant that has chemicals in it. 2. it's FREE and 3. it's not depleting our clean drinkable water.

So if you have well water that you use for drinking then there the reason for using a rain barrel would be more related to #3 and possibly #2.

As far as the exact difference it's really hard to know. Rain water is fairly consistent but well water will have different minerals (like lime) and things in it from the ground (good and possibly bad). Same goes for water from a dehumidifier.

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applestar
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I have no idea, really. But here's a guess: Could it be that rainwater would have more dissolved OXYGEN in it? Raindrops could also bring down with them atmospheric particles that CONTAIN nitrogen.... :?:

... but couldn't the same thing be said of wellwater: i.e. via leached substances?

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