Best wishes for "Happily Ever After!" to you, Katrina and Ryan!!
Katrina and Ryan came all the way from Washington to get married back "home" in Eau Claire. They rented wine barrels and send pictures of a couple of them set up.
Best wishes for "Happily Ever After!" to you, Katrina and Ryan!!
It seems we didn't have much of a summer and it's already time to be thinking of winter preparations. Let's just hope that this winter is not a repeat of last winter! I think it threw many of us for a loop.
I will say that even though we had a bad dry spell, my barrels got me through most of it nicely. I only had to water one of my flowerbeds and my blueberries twice with the hose. I was able to use the harvested water for everything else. No iron stains on my sidewalk, no cold water shock to the plants. I'm sure I could hear them calling out, "Thank you!"
I do want to give you rain barrel folks some tips on how to take care of your barrels in preparation for, and over the winter. You want to take the time to make sure you tend to a few things, and you will be surprised how few those are...
WINTER CARE SUGGESTIONS: These quality-built wine barrels were not intended for outdoor exposure and have been sheltered from harsh weather in wineries of California. Although they are built to last a lifetime, at the end of the season it is recommended that you cover your rain barrel to protect the beautiful wood from the elements of our drying winter winds and weather, regardless if you have had it water or weather sealed.
To prepare for the winter months, drain the barrel of as much water as possible so it doesn't freeze and expand, disconnect the downspout and open the spigot. Cover all openings to keep as much moisture inside as possible to prevent the barrels from drying out due to the dry winter air. Plastic packing tape will work for this purpose. Then, just cover your barrel with plastic or a tarp to help protect it from the harsher winter elements.
That's it--that simple. If you can't disconnect the downspout, not a big deal. Just make certain that you leave that spigot open so any thaw that drains into the barrel can run out.
If you are able and want to, you can hose out the barrel so that any stagnant water that remains under the level of the spigot gets cleaned out. That water can be nasty smelling, it might contain sludge (yuk) and a good idea to clean that out if you have the urge.
I would think the easiest way would be to take the barrel off the stand and lay it down to hose it off through the downspout collection site/hole. You can drain the excess water through that same hole. If any of you have a different way, please share your ideas on the website blog, Water Log, so that the rest of us can learn a new and better way, too.
Remember to save water for your indoor plants--they will benefit from it and thank you for it this winter.
I've been asked about the reason for getting a rain barrel when we've had such a dry spell.
Well, that's one of the best reasons you want to get a rain barrel. When it rains, you get the benefit of the rain on the gardens as well as the benefit of collecting the rain in your rain barrel. When it doesn't rain, you've got the benefit of using that collected rain to water your gardens and plants.
When we have the dry spells, we will sometimes pick up a quarter-inch of rain. Not much you say. Wait. Do the math.
A x R x (600 gallons/1000 sq ft) = T
(Area of roof (in sq ft draining into your rain barrel) x Rainfall (in inches) x (600gal/1000sq ft)= Total water harvested in your rain barrel.
If your home is 24 x 40 and is a standard "A" pitched roof, with gutters on each side going to one side of the house, each side will have 480 sq ft of roof to collect rain...so, 480 x 1/4 inch rain x (600gal/1000sq ft) = 72 gallons. You would have collected more than your barrel full of water with a mere 1/4-inch of rain fall. Enough to water many a garden plant and flower.
So, don't get discouraged when there is no rain. Smile sweetly, because you prepared and got yourself a rain barrel to "prepare for a not-so-rainy-day". Out of my 4 rain barrels that I have set up, I still have water in 3 of them from the last little drizzle that we had.
Be like a good Scout and Be Prepared. Your plants and your water bills will thank you.
I don't know if it's because my soaker hoses are quite old and that I'd buried them for several years so they wouldn't show and perhaps they got clogged with dirt??? Maybe I don't have the barrel high enough for my good friend, Mr. Gravity, to help me out. Whetever the reason they are not working with my barrel, so I traded in a new soaker hose I bought for a sprinkler hose.
I could only find a 50-foot sprinkler hose, so I ran it the length of the flower bed and cut it in order to put the adapter on the end for the cap. I found out that sprinkler hoses have a rigid rubber rib that runs down the middle of the hose, making it very difficult to put the male/female end adapter in--so, if you get a sprinkler hose, get the male/female adapter end that fits the 5/8-inch hose in lieu of the 3/4-inch hose. You'll have to cut that rib to get the adapter in, but using the smaller size will save you lots of time and frustration!
By the way, the sprinkler hose works much better than the soaker hose did. I hooked it up to my overflow fittings using a "Y" connector so when we get rain those thirsty plants next to the house will get rain water. When I want to water that bed with the sprinkler hose on the spigot, I can hook it up to the other side of the "Y" connector. Sweet! Wish I'd have figured that out earlier this summer.
Now I just have to hook up the other half of the hose to another flower bed at the other side of the house.
There is a website I’d like you to visit, it is http://barrelrecycling.com/paul-block/ also winebarrelfurniture.com where you will “meet” an amazing craftsman with creativity and a passion for his work. He is in his business for the right reasons and cares deeply for the environment and promoting recycling and sustainability.
If you want a truly unique, quality piece of furniture built, this is the craftsman to contact. He is working with reclaimed wine barrels and is now starting with grapevines. This fellow has a very creative mind!
Just visit his website. I guarantee that you will be as impressed as I was.
A: There are a few reasons you want to put the rain barrel on a stand.
1) Raising the barrel high enough allows space to either hook up a hose or put a watering can underneath the spigot.
2) Gravity is your friend when you want to run water out to your flower beds or gardens through a hose. The higher you have your rain barrel, the more freely the water will flow. A word of caution: A full rain barrel will be up to 700 pounds, so make certain that it is stable when you set it up.
3) Although these rain barrels are made from quality white oak, wood has many varieties of bacteria, fungi and insects that find it appetizing. When wood is in contact with the ground or moisture for any period of time, these organisms attack the wood. Untreated it will decay in time if it is touching moist ground. (Interesting fact: White oak has the same rot-resistance as cedar, redwood, and teak)!
Can you believe the rains? Can you believe the growth of plants (and… groan…grass) from the beautiful rains? I mowed Monday, and I should mow again today, Thursday. Not a chance.
Well, I’m certainly learning as I go along and I hope I can help you avoid some of these same issues. I talked about cleaning gutters to insure debris doesn’t clog the downspouts, right? Well, I did that earlier this spring (what spring, you say?), but apparently not good enough. Here’s what happens when you let gutter debris dam up the gutters and clog the downspouts (regardless if you have a rain barrel or not)…
At first I thought the rain was just falling so hard and heavy that it was running between the two gutter systems (I had half the house done a few years ago and the other half done last year, but they couldn’t connect them so there is a small gap between the two systems).
Upon closer examination of the gutters, lo and behold, my gutters were again dammed up with cedar and spruce buds/crud and pine needles and once I cleared that away the downspouts took the rain into the barrels like they were supposed to.
So much rain, however that I had all overflow fittings running their hoses out and I had the spigots open to hoses into the yard to relieve the pressure of the rain into the barrels. Although I have 4 rain barrels, I wish I had more and had them daisy-chained for rains like we’ve been having. I’m having fun being creative with ways to use the extra water…but I’ll save that for another Water-log blog.
Lesson: be sure to clean out those gutters. Once in the spring might not be enough. It wasn’t for me. I’ll probably need to check those gutters every 4-6 weeks with all the trees and junk that I have around my house.
Meanwhile, enjoy the harvest!
It's way past my bedtime, but I just want to cheer for joy over the beautiful day we had today! It was a day to get out and enjoy the sunshine, listen to the birds singing and get at the yard that has so desperately been wanting and needing attention. I got some seeds planted and was able to use some harvested melted snow from my rain barrels for watering. (Yes, I let it sit to warm before using it.)
I am especially happy for the garden centers and nurseries who have had a very difficult start of the season. Hopefully this is a turnaround to their businesses with no more interruptions...and no more fingershaking from Mother Nature!
Breathe deep. Spring is finally here!
Happy April 5! Snow is still banked and covering my yard, although the recent rains are helping it melt. It has been an odd, odd winter, which is why I am going to HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you disconnect your rainbarrels in the autumn in preparation for upcoming winters.
I am so excited to…let the runoff from the melted snow on my roof…that ran into my barrel…that froze in my barrel…that froze SOLID in my barrel in April…thaw so I can use it to start to…water my spring flower beds that are tucked up close to the house…that were deprived of snow and moisture this winter. I'm getting those soaker hoses out and ready.
I can only imagine you are eager to get dirt under your nails also and start your seeds, or start watching for those first little green indicators that spring is really really going to happen this year. The robins are here, spring has to be close behind.
Meanwhile, here are a few fun rainwater facts I thought you might enjoywhile you wait with me :
1. The umbrella was originally invented to protect people from the hot sun.
2. Rain starts off as ice or snow crystals at cloud level.
3. Rain that freezes before it hits the ground is known as frozen rain.
4. Rain is recycled water that evaporated from our world’s lakes, rivers, oceans, seas etc
5. Rain drops can fall at speeds of about 22 miles an hour.
6. Light rain is classified as being no more then 0.10 inches of rain an hour.
7. Heavy rain is classified as being more then 0.30 inches of rain an hour.
8. Rain drops range in size from 0.02 inches to about .031 inches.
9. Louisiana is the wettest state in the U.S, which receives an annual rainfall of 56 inches.
10. Rain drops do not fall in a tear drop shape, they originally fall in the shape of a flat oval.
Remember, this blog is open for questions, comments, or an opportunity for you to share experiences you have had with your rain barrel, with using rain water, or in anything else in helping the rest of us be better patrons of Mother Earth. We can all learn from each other.
Eager to hear from you!
First of all, I want to thank all of you great folks who were there and visited our booth. You gave us such wonderful, positive feedback on our rain barrels and products that just helped reinforce that what we are doing is good and being done well. That makes us feel so very good. Thank you, thank you!!! We’re “pumped up”.
Speaking of being pumped up…questions that came up a couple of times with the same theme…is there a way to increase the low pressure of the water flow in rain barrels. I recalled reading articles on increasing the pressure in rain barrels and said I would look for them.
I found one of those articles on that topic. I would just add a caveat to this article…I don’t know if I’d want to be drilling holes in your gorgeous barrel to test this out or not (the first sentence addresses “modern barrel” ????)...your call. I think I'd defer to the soaker hose and let the slow flow go to the flower beds or gardens and slowly water the plants.
Watch the blog. I will post more articles as I find them…
How to Add a Pump to a Rain Barrel by Mike Matthews, Demand Media
Adding a pump to your rain barrel should provide ample force for simple garden watering chores.
Most modern rain barrels are equipped with a faucet near the bottom to let you attach a hose. Unfortunately that means the barrel can only be drained by the force of gravity, and that may not be enough to let you use your hose with a nozzle held at waist level. Adding a battery powered pump can dramatically improve the functionality of your rain barrel.
Items you will need:
1. Tape measure
2. Utility knife
4. 3/4-inch spade-style drill bit
6. Duct tape
7. Battery-powered pump
Measure the depth of your rain barrel with a tape measure, and then add the distance from the top of the barrel to the location of your pump to that number. Cut a length of hose to that total using a utility knife.
Drill a 3/4-inch hole in the lid of your rain barrel, using a power drill with a spade-style bit. Slide your hose through the hole until you feel it reach the bottom. Seal the hose in place using duct tape.
Attach the threaded end of your hose to the battery powered pump. Battery powered pumps -- as well as solar-rechargeable battery powered pumps -- are available from specialty garden supply shops. A battery powered marine bilge pump designed for use in small fishing boats would also be adequate.
Attach your garden hose to the pump's outlet connection and turn on the unit. The low-power pump should start supplying water within 30 seconds.
Resource: Seattle Public Utilities: Rain Water Harvesting
About the Author:
Mike Matthews has covered the design and construction industry since 1991. He is the founding editor of "The Paint Dealer" and "Green Building Product News" magazines.
Thank you again for your interest and for your enthusiasm for our rain barrels and our products. We’re happy to be here to improve the landscapes, one lawn at a time…because every drop helps.
I'm just someone who sees a need, cares about the environment and hopes to leave this world a little better.