MObeek
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Collecting rain water.

My husband helped me set up a 550 gallon storage tank to collect rain water for my berry garden. The tank is situated behind our shop. Today, after getting just under a quarter inch of rain, we actually collected some water in it. I'm impressed! It will be interesting to see how much water we collect when we get 2 inches of rain some time this Spring.

https://www.keepandshare.com/photo/45809 ... reage?ifr=

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rainbowgardener
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Wow, wonderful....

I have two 75 gallon rain barrels. They fill up very fast when it rains. But in a drought year like last year, they sit empty and I wish I had lots more.
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MObeek
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We figured out that if we get 1 inch of rain, we would collect 12.5 gallons of water in the tank. And our tank is 44 inches high. We'll see if we'll ever fill it up and even have overflow.

Dillbert
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>>if we get 1 inch of rain, we would collect 12.5 gallons of water in the tank

sounds like some mixing of apples and oranges in the theory.

"one inch of rain"
typically how "rain" is measured. however comma, one inch of rain collected on a 40 ft x 80 ft house roof is a whole lotta water compared to the same one inch of rain collected in the dog's water bowl.

one square foot - 12 inches x 12 inches = 144 square inches
rain to a depth of one inch on those 144 squares inches = 144 cubic inches.

there's 231 cubic inches in a gallon.
so
rain to a depth of one inch on those 144 squares inches = 144 cubic inches = 0.623 gallons

a two car garage size area nominally 24 x 20 feet = 480 square feet
one inch of rain on that size area comes to right close to 300 gallons.....

MObeek
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I messed up. I should have said that if we get 1 inch of rain, we should collect around 2 feet of water in the tank. So with 1 inch of water equals 12.5 gallons in the tank, 2 ft of water is also 24 inches of water. 24 x 12.5 = about 300 gallons. Thanks for the correction.

Dillbert
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aah. gotcha' - no problem. good luck with the berries!

Bobberman
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You can collect water from both sides of a roof by using a hose connected to the drain area!
I enjoy fishing ,gardening and a solar greenhouse! carpet installation repair and sales for over 45 years! I am the inventor of the Bobber With A Brain - Fishing Bobber!

MObeek
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To Bobberman: I considered that but I asked my husband to let the other half drain directly onto my blackberry bushes. They produced well last year and I hope they'll do the same this year.

estorms
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In the area where I grew up houses were a hundred years old and wells were hand dug; about 12 to 20 feet deep. Almost all of these old houses had cisterns that collected water from the roof. In the summer, when the wells went dry, that water was used for everything but drinking.

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, such a good idea. Don't you wonder why we stopped building houses with cisterns? I wish I had one, but big bucks to do it now...

Somehow we all got stupid together. I just was reading something that reminded me that when I was a young kid, there was no such thing as a plastic bag, hadn't been invented yet. So in my life time we all got convinced that it is necessary to put everything in a plastic bag that you use once and then throw "away." (Of course we have finally learned that there's no such thing as away and they end up in the oceans and everywhere.)
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applestar
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When setting up a rainwater collection system, it's a good idea, like MObeek did, to consider what has been growing /thriving/surviving on the water that has been coming down the rainspouts and how you will compensate.

Most of the time, the overflow will be more than enough, but even then, be aware of how the overflow will/may be (re)directed.

valley
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Greetings, We built a 30'X60' building on a property in Bright View, Queensland, Australia, and installed a 5000gal tank. I set up the 3" pipes to the tank while it was raining, the rain in that area is something to behold, I came in peeled off my clothes, looking out the window I could see kangaroo eating grass as if it were a sunny day. In the hours of rain before dark the tank was filled and pouring out the overflow.
Bright View is between Brisbane and Toowoomba, and is one of the drier areas, but when it rains!

Richard

Dillbert
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>>on the water that has been coming down the rainspouts and how you will compensate.

on a micro-scale usually not a problem - but here's a macro-humdinger dummy move:
we bought an empty lot in a 'development'
the street / water / elect / sewer /etc was done by the developer
to the specifications of the township
major idiots there . . .

the 'whole area' on our side of the street slopes down from a ridge peak, and down from the street to a 'gully' behind us.

the township insisted the developer regrade the lots with a swale at the back of each lot, channeling all the water coming down the hill to a retention pond.

so all the water that used to run into the gully, keeping the trees green, and feeding a natural spring - suddenly disappeared.

numbnuts! the neighbor down-the-way complained his spring dried up; multiple old growth timber went into severe stress - lost 6-8 mature oaks.

so I filled in the swale, build a slight berm so all the water coming down and across the hillside was re-re-directed back into its original gully & spring.

it's not nice to meddle with Mother Nature!

MObeek
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To Richard,

I thought I had a big tank. But compared to your 5,000 gallon tank, mine is puny. :shock:

Do you have an idea on how long your tank would last you for the purpose you have in mind for it?

estorms
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well water

My well water is cold. It will keep my garden alive during a dry spell, but it doesn't seem to grow. I would like to get rain barrels to collect warmer rain water. I have two spots where they could go easily. If it didn't rain, I could fill them with the hose and wait for the water to warm up before I used it. Does this sound reasonable or am I completely on the wrong track?

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rainbowgardener
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I'm not convinced cool well water, especially in summer, when it is more likely to be dry, has much to do with your garden not growing the way you think it should. Soil and fertility issues seem more likely.
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Dillbert
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>>wrong track?

if you're talking about the usual and common vegetable garden, water temp is not likely an issue.

valley
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Mobeek, Re:The water from the tank, supplies water for in house use, there is plenty, as it is refilled with the wild rains they have there.

imafan26
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The thing with rainbarrels is that it is full of water and sometimes overflowing when you don't need it and empty when you do.

Solution. Connect multiple rainbarrels so when it does rain, you will have the capacity to collect more water. In a dry spell you will still run out, but it does last longer.

I considered a rain garden as well. Essentially grading and diverting water from the house to a dry well in a low spot in the yard where it can hold back some of the dirt and water that would end up in the ocean. One of these days I plan to get around to it.

In the meantime...

Mulch! Mulch! Mulch!
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

valley
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Re: Collecting rain water.

MObeek, Hadn't checked back here so missed your post. To answer you question: The water was for household use the water in the tank always outran our use and during rain overflowed. Sorry I am so late with your answer.

estorms Hi, By all means collect the rainwater, but the temperature of the water isn't why the plants aren't growing. The water at our upper ranch so cold I can't drink it, I honestly don't know the exact temperature. The temperature of the air and soil do, and of course soil condition and so on. Let us know what water collection set up you arrange. Have a good one.

Richard

valley
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Re: Collecting rain water.

Hi, In Summer I backhoed catchments in the paths the water travels when it rains or snow melts. I'm planing on cutting/digging Swales. I dug a shallow swale but want to do deep one with the tractor.

Richard
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swale.JPG

valley
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Re: Collecting rain water.

Swales are simply shallow, low depressions in the ground designed to encourage the accumulation of rain during storms and hold it for a few hours or days to let it infiltrate into the soil. Swales ideally are tree-lined and store water for the immediate landscape as well as help cleanse the water as it percolates down. Swales can be installed separately or as part of a larger water rain catchment system with rain gardens, cisterns and other water conservation measures.

Swale

Swales are one of the cheapest and easiest water storage methods and can be installed almost anywhere. If properly built they greatly reduce storm runoff; thereby reducing the impact of storms on local storm runoff systems. But more importantly they catch and preserve fresh rain where it can be used by your shrubs and trees.

From Harvest CO2

imafan26
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Re: Collecting rain water.

Has anyone considered a rain garden? We have one at the garden center, but it is mostly full of weeds. It was actually built on higher ground. The water actually collects in the herb garden and since it can stay wet awhile, I had to brick over one section and put some of the plants in large planters instead. I do like the idea of building a catchment basin in the low spot, but since my low spot in the yard is not where it would be convenient to have a pond. I have tried to actually dig a channel from my back to the front of my yard just to keep the patio from flooding when it rains hard.

I remember a program once in the Mideast about how land is farmed in the desert. They need a lot of land to collect water. The land is contoured and the field is actually planted in the low spot where the water collects. Apparently this is the way the land has been farmed for centuries. I remember they called the area Fedans instead of acres or hectares.

I have two rain barrels. Right now they are overflowing. I have a third barrel that still needs to be set up and I want to get a fourth. I have never actually emptied my rain barrels, but I use the water in a five gallon bucket and dunk my orchids in it to water it instead of pouring the water over the top. 10 gallons of water will go a long way that way for at least 50 orchids. I use about 15 gallons of water for my potted roses, bamboo, croton, gardenia, and Ohia Lehua. I only water them every 4 days if I remember. Sometimes I go too long and they start to wilt. Good thing I have them by the front door, so I have been able to rescue them before they die. I may have to put them into bigger pots so they will dry out slower.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Collecting rain water.

I have two 75 gallon rain barrels. But imafan is right; in my wet climate they don't get as much use as I expected. Lots of summers, I don't need to water much and they sit there full. The one summer when we had a big drought, they sat there empty for two months...

Imafan, here we get 40 inches of rain/precipitation a year, pretty evenly distributed through the year. How does that compare to you?
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applestar
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Re: Collecting rain water.

I don't have time to find the links to relevant threads and posts right now, but I have three raingardens. Two near the base of two down spouts -- one is a tiny rice paddy -- and one near the property border where the neighbor's downspout flow was altered to puddle mostly on our side.

It's actually been a lot of fun to be able to grow bog plants as well as plants that NEED the security of source of constant moisture during drought in nearby locations.

Even shallow swales on the higher or lower side of the grade to the garden beds will help regulate moisture levels. Remember that the swale on the higher side will sequester water and supply moisture for the plants on the lower side, while the swale on the lower side will help to create a place for the water to drain to and keep the plant roots from being waterlogged.
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valley
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Re: Collecting rain water.

Hi applestar, I didn't get that. Do you mean, by the lower side: Having a swale just below another one?

Richard


If you have water just sitting in barrels, in wetter areas, you could make garden tea, using sacks and/or a strainer so as not to clog whatever attachment you put on your hose.

xtron
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Re: Collecting rain water.

new to the forum so late joining this thread.....

I have 4 300 gallon IBC totes on the high side of my garden. I fill them with a sump pump in a 55 gallon barrel which is fed by one of my downspouts.
it takes a few good rains in late april/early may to fill them all, but they provide enough to get me thru any dry spells. haven't needed them the last 2 years, but this year I am using biointensive dense planting. 4X4 squares with 2 foot walkways between, and plant as close as you can. I have 9 potatoes in each square, and 24 hills of corn. both are thirsty growers, so if I don't get rain at least twice a week, I am watering every other day. so far so good. I use a water meter and try to keep the subsurface levels mid scale. oh...heavy mulching helps a lot, but when it's dry, it's dry.
I refill as the weather provides, but looks like I will be loosing ground the rest of the year.
if you look around you can find these totes usually for under $100 on craigs list or in local sale papers. they are quite durable, as I have had mine for 7 years now, and they show no signs of wear and tear.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Collecting rain water.

Wow! What a great solution!!! Can you show us some pictures, xtron?

I might have to figure out how to copy that, to improve my water sufficiency on my half-acre mini-homestead. This year we are getting tons of water, but last year was big time drought.
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applestar
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Re: Collecting rain water.

I keep looking at those on Craigslist -- definitely available and listed often. You start getting picky about prior use... I nearly went for it when someone listed theirs as empty organic soybean oil containers. But truth is I have no place to put them.

Sure sounds like an elegant solution if you do have place for them. I'd like to see pictures, too. :-()

...I'm thinking if you have a deck or could build a deck or a raised structure over them, that might save on square footage.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Collecting rain water.

Checked craigslist, wow you really can get them cheap!

How high can your sump pump pump the water? I was thinking if I could build a high platform for them, I could have something under it, like compost piles and I would then have water pressure to carry the water to garden beds.

It would have to be built sturdy, but I'm thinking two of them would be plenty for my small garden. 600+ gallons of water!

I had two 75 gallon rain barrels in Cincinnati. But they would fill up quickly in the first few minutes of a rain and then all the rest would just go back in the downspouts. And they would be quickly emptied in a drought. So I haven't bothered with rain barrels here. But this would make it worthwhile!!
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xtron
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Re: Collecting rain water.

forgot to mention.. I gravity feed out of the totes to irrigate the crops. the sump has to pump about 75 feet horizontaly and 8 feet vertically, so well within it's capability.
if you build a deck/platform it will definatly make watering quicker/easier, but remember, your sump will have to be able to handle the extra vertical lift, and 300 gallons of water is over a ton of weight, so you need to use heavy lumber, or it's gonna come down and it ain't gonna be pretty.
i'll try to post some pics, my camera needs a new memory card. but it's really a simple set up..barrel, hose,and totes. the hardest part was figuring out all the reducers and adapters to go from pipe to garden hose. but the guys at the hardware store were really on the ball and helped out a bunch.

Maggie4
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Re: Collecting rain water.

My mother also collects rainwater in our house! It is a perfect idea to save money also. She has a big water butt, I am not sure how much water it can contain, but it is a great method. If it goes to me, in my flat, I try to reuse water if I can. I have got many plants indoor so it helps me to save up :)

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