Newly Registered
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Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:05 am
Location: Michigan

A way to save water?

I'm sure this is a stupid question, but I'm totally new to all of this, but, If I left some buckets or a watering can or something to collect water outside, would that water be safe to use in my garden?

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3567
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2008 7:58 am
Location: Central Sand Hills South Carolina

There are lots of commercialy available water capture barrels that sit under a downspout from guttering. The purpose is for watering plants and conserving water. Also, in many third world high rainfall areas, many or most of the houses are equiped with a rainfall capture system (cisterns) and that water is used for all household and garden purposes. So anyway, rainwater in general is better than most other sources, no chlorine, no hard minerals, no salts. Great idea, use that rainwater!

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b


I've had a downspout rainbarrel for several years now and I love it. Planning to get a second one for the back of the house this year. It is good clean chemical free water, makes you not feel so bad about watering your garden. The only trouble with capturing water in open containers is you will be amazed in the summer how fast they get mosquito larvae in them. You really don't want to be a mosquito breeding ground for the neighborhood.

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Super Green Thumb
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Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

I dug a ditch around my house with a hand shovel. I put 4" PVC pipe in the ditch and connected all my down spouts to the pipe. I dug a hole next to the garden like a small pond about 2 ft deep 5 ft diameter. A small rain fills the hole with water. I plant the row so I can release the water to all the rows. It works great most of the time but during the extreme hot 100 deg days in August we only get about 1 rain per month so it does not help much then. If the hole were larger it would hold more water maybe I could store enough water to the hot weather. We had a very hard rain yesterday it rained several inches in 20 minutes. My whole yard was under 2" of water and the down spouts were dumping so much water it totally flooded my garden. The hole or pond needs to be much larger.

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Green Thumb
Posts: 392
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:36 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO Metro area

I bought two 55 gallon plastic food grade drums and all the hardware to make a double rain barrel set up. I cut the top off one and attached a heavy duty screen (It was with the regular window screen but it's made to prevent pets from ripping it) This keeps the mosquitoes out and most debris that comes from the gutters. Connected them with a 2 inch hose and put a water faucet on the other one and set it an inch or two lower then the one receiving the rain water. I spent maybe $50 total and just loving the results. Oh and I painted them green because the wife didn't like the big blue barrel look. :)

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Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:55 pm
Location: Mansfield, Missouri

umm you might want to put some coffee grounds in it also to kill any mosquito larva!! :) West nile is a big issue right now, and that's some nasty stuff! You don't want that!

The Helpful Gardener
Posts: 7492
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 9:17 pm
Location: Colchester, CT

I'm with yuppup; you are talking a mosquito breeder, and with bat populations looking to be down this would be a bad time to be making your own batch. Rain gardens are meant to be dry within 48 hours max to avoid the pupation period for mosquitoes, and you have basically built a very well designed rain garden...


Not exactly what you had in mind, but very efficient handling of water in a planet friendly way...

But if you are going to collect for garden use you need to retain it better than a pond; perhaps a cistern of sewer pipe with a cover or one of those new plastic septic tanks, but in my experience what you are doing could even get you in some hot water with local law, so I'd think about it...


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Greener Thumb
Posts: 1938
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:13 pm
Location: wnc - zones 6/7 line

re: captured rainwater being chemical-free, some are better than others. an enameled-metal roof, or clay tile, will give you good clean water (especially with no overhanging trees and a good first-flush system)...but asphalt shingle has been known to impart a smell or flavor to water, which kinda suggests you're not just getting water off it...

fine for watering your garden, from what I've read, but 'asphalt shingle isn't a food-grade roof' is all I'm getting at.

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