Marsman
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Rain Barrel - A Few Questions

I figured the Organic Gardening section would be the best place to start this thread. I did a query using the Search function and didn't come across another thread on the topic. If I missed it, please direct me there.

My birthday is coming up in March and my wife asked me what I wanted. I told her I'd been thinking about a rain barrel for watering my trees. (We have a well and the water comes up pretty cold.)

She had a few objections and I wanted to pass them by the folks here to see if they held water.
(Rain barrel, hold water..I kill myself! :P )

She said it would grow mold, algae, & fungus, and it harbor mosquitoes. I know translucent barrels would let sun light in and would grow algae, but a solid colored one would block the sunlight and reduce algae growth. Do you still get organics growing in the barrel? As for mosquitoes, I told her that store-bought barrels come with screens that keep bugs and debris out of the barrel. And I also read that some folks use fighting fish or goldfish in the barrels to eat mosquito larva.

So, I need your help in convincing her that the rain barrel is not going to turn into a cesspool of organic waste.

And, if you could recommend a good barrel, such as the one you use. (Pictures would be a plus.)

Thanks! :)

cynthia_h
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Here's another thread on rain barrels; it might have bits of info you're looking for, too:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=99567

I received 82 hits (many of them different posts within the same threads) on the search phrase

rain barrel

using the "Search the Forum" function. I did not specify a forum; I never do when I'm looking for threads. The one I found is actually in the Introductions forum...maybe that sabotaged your search? (trying to understand why Search didn't find what you were looking for....)

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Marsman
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Thanks for the link, Cynthia. :)
cynthia_h wrote:trying to understand why Search didn't find what you were looking for....
:lol:
/feels like a no0b

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farmerlon
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Re: Rain Barrel - A Few Questions

Marsman wrote:it harbor mosquitoes. :)
I purchased rain barrels that did not have a screened top (inlet hole), but that was a really easy and quick fix. Just get a roll of replacement Window Screen Material... it's cheap and readily available at just about any hardware or home improvement store.
With that screen added, you will not have any mosquitos or bugs to worry about... plus, it will keep debris out of the rain barrel too!

One other thing to consider. Buy a rain barrel with an overflow spigot near the top, or install one yourself. That way, if the barrel fills to the point of running over, you can direct the overflow away from the foundation of your house/building.

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rainbowgardener
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I've had a rainbarrel for about 6 yrs now. It is dark green, has no problems with mold or algae and came with a screen against debris and mosquitos. It also came with an diverter/ overflow pipe that directs excess water right back into the downspout, so no worries about that. I love it and want to get another one. The dark green blends into the garden so well that people rarely know we have it, even though it is right at the front corner of the house.

This is the one I have:

https://www.gardeners.com/Two-Rain-Barrels/Watering_RainBarrels,38-663RS,default,cp.html

Like many things, 6 yrs ago it was a bit cheaper! Gardeners.com has several other varieties or google rain barrels and find a lot of choices and different prices. You can make your own from 55 gal drums.

This place has a lot of different rain barrels and tanks:

https://www.simplyrainbarrels.com/?gclid=CNTXv9TAjaACFQvyDAodmmT3cQ

Marsman
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RB, I really like that barrel and the diverter. Now, to sell my wife on it. :)

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. Feel free to continue to add to it if you come up with something new.

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Tilde
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Painting Rain Barrels

A bit of a follow up to [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=113623#113623]this[/url] answer ...

Painting Rainbarrels.

So I've got one beautiful and expensive rainbarrel out "front" where the neighborhood can see. I want a few more barrels in the back, but I don't want to shell out for more pretty barrels - I want to buy a few locally made from food safe 55gal drums (don't have the tools or phys ability to make my own).

Those are usually white or bright blue, and will likely be seen by some of the family and my back yard neighbors (six, yes, we are CRAMMED in).

Can I just use standard "plastic" ok spray paint on them, like is sold by Rustoleum and others? Probably a dark olive color ...
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

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soil
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not to be a thread downer or anything but even a big 100 gallon tank isnt going to do much in the way of holding your roofs rainwater runoff. even a very small roof (10'x10') can fill that in one small to medium sized storm rainfall. and most people who sell "rain barrels" sell 55 gallons which will fill up and overflow even faster.

heres a simple tip to think of.

1-inch of rain on 1,000 square feet = 600 gallons

so you can see how many barrels you would actually need to make a good effort in catching that water over the season.

you can though catch and hold ALL of that water in your soil and in small ponds. the earth itself is THE BEST place to store water. your trees will be much happier with the water in the soil and you will have more time to enjoy your trees shade or produce.
For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.

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Tilde
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i understand where you're coming from - growing up in the desert I would have put in a cistern or greywater system instead (in fact our family hobby farm - if it was even big enough to be called that) used irrigation rights to water and a greywater irrigation system from the washer, kitchen, and bath tubs. Human waste went to home sewer systems.

In my part of florida it has been raining for at least half an hour most days a week all summer - it will dry up a bit after hurricane season.

While I can't collect a lot in a few 55 gallon drums, it's enough for my robust balcony farm - if I have more than 20 square feet by the end of october I'll be very surprised - not counting fruit trees which I'll do in whiskey barrels with olla.

They flush the water systems out here twice a year - gads the water stinks of chlorine. The less the better.

If I can, there are also these square 250 gal (I think?) ones available. Honestly I'd rather have one of those but we'll see.
USDA Zone 10, Sunset Zone 25, 16 feet above sea level, surrounded by chem-turfers.

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rainbowgardener
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I have two 75 gallon barrels and I love them. No it doesn't come close to catching all the roof water. The excess just goes back down the downspout where it would have gone in the first place. I would love to have a rain garden catchment space, but have literally no room for one.

But the 150 gallons of rain water is all I need for my garden most of the time -- except in a drought year like last year, when they sat empty all summer, they fill up again before I finish emptying them. As noted, saves on the water bill and waters my plants with nice unchlorinated, unfluoridated rainwater.
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farmerlon
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Marlingardener wrote:..., even 100, 150 gal. of rainwater saved for your plants can make a difference in your water bill, and make a difference for your plants (no chlorine, no flouride, etc.)...
I agree.
Plus, it's not a one-time event. The rainwater is collected, then used, and that process is repeated over and over. So, you're likely to save thousands and thousands of gallons of water over time.

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