dtizme
Cool Member
Posts: 90
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 10:23 pm
Location: Port Elgin, Ontario, Canada. Zone 5a

rain barrel

Just got a rain barrel. The water is coming out brown from all the leaf keys in the eavestrough. would you still use this on your vegetable plants? It doesn't look like something I would want to drink. Any suggestions?

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applestar
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Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: rain barrel

What is a "leaf key"?
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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Meatburner
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Posts: 163
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:00 pm
Location: SW MO zone 6b

Re: rain barrel

dtizme, this is just a guess. I would think it would be more like compost tea and would be fine to use very quickly. My understanding is that compost tea can go rancid rather quickly. I make compost tea but use it within a day. Then clean the gutters and flush out the barrel to get clear water. Like a said, just a guess. Good luck with the new system.

cdog222
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Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:52 pm
Location: Zone 6a, St Charles, MO

Re: rain barrel

I found my rain barrel to be a little tricky at first - you need rain to fill your rain barrel, so the garden doesn't need water for a while....in the meantime, the 'compost tea water' collected is just sitting there. In my experience, the water I collect is always a deep brown color as it collects in my rain barrel. I have 3 large trees over the back side of my house, and despite my best efforts to keep debris out of them (even with screens, etc.), it's a losing battle. I feel like this is working to my advantage so far though - I've left this brownish water in the barrel for at least a couple of weeks on occasion during the peak of summer before needing to use it, and my plants still seem to love it. It doesn't smell 'off' or change in color, but I have no ideas if this would be an indicator that it has gone bad.

At any rate, it takes no effort on my end for the 'enhanced' water so I'll keep on rollin' with it. Ultimately, all the semi decomposed gutter goodies make it out to the compost pile and then to the veggie beds, so it's gonna get there sooner or later! :wink:

benali
Senior Member
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed May 22, 2013 2:40 pm
Location: Zone 5b

Re: rain barrel

I'd check to make sure you know what's in that water.

If it's composted, deteriorated plant matter (leaves, seeds, etc), great! Use it on to water trees & garden and it'll work great.

However, I'd ask -- is your roof made from asphalted or tar shingles? If so, make sure your brown water isn't like that because of deterioration from the shingles (like the small beads from them). Such water wouldn't be so great for your plants.

Lab_Man
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Posts: 45
Joined: Mon May 19, 2014 10:03 pm
Location: Illinois, zone 5

Re: rain barrel

I know what you mean CDOG, a rain barrel is definitely a catch 22. When you get enough rain to fill your barrel, you don't need to water for a while. :D

I wouldn't worry about shingle runoff.

cdog222
Cool Member
Posts: 62
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:52 pm
Location: Zone 6a, St Charles, MO

Re: rain barrel

I have cedar shake shingles, and it is definitely composted plant material in there. I keep the half of the gutters on the rain barrel side mostly cleared out so the gutter can function and I can catch some rain, and leave the other half to fill up with plant debris. I can usually 'harvest' more than a 5 gallon bucket of good rich material twice a year. And I'm 'cleaning the gutters' so it's a win win for everyone :D

Sorry, I slightly digress from the subject....



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