Welcome to my zone 9a habitat garden near Houston, Texas.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Collecting rainwater

Something that I've wanted to add to my garden for a long time is a barrel for collecting rainwater, but, for one reason or another, it was a project that always seemed to get postponed. Finally, this month, I sensed an opportunity. Bob's birthday is in March and I went to work convincing him that what he really, really wanted for his birthday this year was a rain barrel. I may have mentioned in passing some of the astronomical water bills that we received last summer, and, suddenly, he was surprisingly amenable to the idea.

He picked out the style of barrel he wanted - strictly utilitarian, of course. He decided to go with a 50 gallon barrel to begin with, because it would easily fit the space we had and we could always add more if we liked the outcome.

The barrel was delivered a few days before his birthday during our last heavy two-inch rain. I lamented that we did not already have the barrel installed so that we could collect all that wonderful water, but no use crying over spilled water. A few days later, Bob installed his birthday present under one of the downspouts on the back of the house and we waited for another big rain.

But our weekly downpour didn't come this week. Instead, we got just a trickle of rain on Wednesday, barely 0.1 inch. Thursday morning, I decided to check the barrel. I wasn't expecting much, because the rainfall we'd had was not much more than a heavy dew. I looked into the barrel and my eyes almost popped out of my head. It was two-thirds full of lovely water! If 0.1inch of rain could do that, what could a two-inch rain do?

I couldn't wait to tell Bob the good news, but I got busy with other things and later had to go to my book club meeting and didn't see him until later. Almost the first words out of his mouth were, "Did you check the rain barrel?"

"Oh, yes," I said, "I meant to tell you..."

He interrupted me with, "IT'S TWO-THIRDS FULL OF WATER! I just ordered a second barrel!"    

I think this may be the best birthday present I ever got him. He may even like it better than the lawn furniture that I've given him over the years.

Utilitarian. That's the word for it. Not much to look at, but it does the job, and I'm very happy to have it in place. I'll be even happier when we have two or three more in place.


  1. I'm sure Bob will appreciate and love his birthday present. Yours is the same design as ours - it looks like the traditional whiskey barrel type my dad always had. I love it!

    1. It's hard to improve on a basic design that works really well and this one does, Jayne. We are very pleased with it.

  2. Hubby put ours together last year from random stuff from Tractor Supply and Home Depot. It only took 1/4 inch of rain to fill them both. We do find mosquito larva in them, so we usually buy a couple of cheap goldfish and they keep the tanks picked clean.

    1. Our kit came with a built-in screen to keep insects out, Kim. I'm hoping that it works effectively. If not, goldfish might be a good solution.

  3. You're an inspiration--I've wanted rain capture for ages, maybe now we'll figure out how to incorporate into our landscape.

    Thanks for your compliment and Liebster Award, I'd love to accept it...but I'm not sure how to link back. Do you mind giving instruction?

    1. Your comment is sufficient linkage, Kathleen. I just needed an acknowledgment that you received the nomination. I'm happy that you are accepting it.

      I highly recommend the rain barrel. They are easy to install (according to Bob!) and if our drought returns, as it probably will, they will be a wonderful resource for my garden.

  4. This should lessen the figures in those astronomical water bills he’s wary about! This is probably one of the best birthday gifts you got him. Haha! I hope it is effective in helping you maintain your garden, and the other things you are using the rainwater for. Cheers!

    Sharon Strock @ StormChamber®