Is rainwater collection for you

As a gardener, you want to do all that you can to keep your plants healthy. In the hot and dry seasons when it isn’t raining frequently, this often means finding ways to water your own garden.
The only problem with watering your garden is the amount of water it takes. This can run up a pricey water bill or drain your well. One possible solution is rainwater collection. 

What is rainwater collection? 

Rainwater collection (also known as rainwater harvesting) is exactly what it sounds like. You use barrels to collect rainwater. The water sits in the barrel until you’re ready to use it.

Most barrels have a spigot so that you can easily attach a hose or drain the water into a watering can. You can then water your garden with the rainwater.

The size of the barrels depends on how much room you have available. Most barrels collect between 50-60 gallons of water, but there are smaller and larger barrels available as well.

Why use rainwater collection?

Believe it or not, water is a precious research. Freshwater is not as abundant as you might think. While we shouldn’t drink collected rainwater, it is fine to use it in your garden.

Using collected rainwater helps you practice sustainable gardening. Sustainable gardening is one of the ways that we can help make sure future generations have enough supplies and resources.

Collecting rainwater is just one small way that you can help practice sustainability. Scientists are finding other ways that we can create a greener earth.

 Currently, research is being done on a process known as desalination, which will convert saltwater to usable water. If this sounds intriguing, you can read more about desalination and other technologies that could help create a more eco-friendly world.

How do you get started with rainwater collection?

If you’re interested in getting involved with rainwater collection, the first thing you’re going to need is a barrel with a spigot.

You can buy rainwater collection barrels at most home and garden stores. If you have a large plastic barrel, you can also create your own.

Once you have your barrel, you’re going to place it so that the runoff from your downspout goes into the barrel. To keep dirt and animals out of your water, make sure you place the lid on your barrel.

And that’s all there is to it! The next time it rains, the water will go into your barrel. Then, when your garden needs a drink, all you have to do is collect some of the water and tend to your plants.

Is rainwater safe for humans?

You may be wondering if you can further lower your water bill by using your rainwater collection system as a source of drinking water or a way to bathe.

Rain can wash harmful contaminants into the barrel, such as the chemicals from roofing materials. Rainwater barrels do not have any filtration system, which means rainwater really isn’t that clean.

That being said, you really shouldn’t drink rainwater from your collection system unless you absolutely have to. It also isn’t safe to cook with it or give it to your pets. Even if you boil or filter it, it still is not as clean as distilled water.

And while you might not want to bathe with it regularly, it is safe to wash with as long as you don’t put it in your nose or mouth.

If you really want to drink or bath from your rainwater collection system regularly, you should contain a healthcare professional in your area to go over the health risks.

Are there other ways to collect water?

If you don’t have the space for a barrel, but you’re still interested in collecting water for your garden, you do have other options.

Some people will collect the water from their shower or bath in a bucket and then use this water for their garden. Other people will use the leftover water from washing their dishes or from their laundry in their garden.

Keep in mind that this does add soap to your garden. Certain soap products have chemicals that could damage your plants. Always test a small section of your garden to see if the water will kill your plants.

Another method is to simply put a smaller bucket out. You won’t collect as much water, but it is still helpful.

Wrapping up

A rainwater collection barrel is great if you’re worried about how much water you’re using in your garden. Rainwater is perfectly safe for your flowers and veggies, plus it helps conserve water!

Amelia
 

Amelia Robinson is a lover of plants and gardens, as well as an educator on this topic. It’s her goal to make sure that you get the chance to learn what you need to about gardening to succeed with your own home garden at the blog RobinsonLovePlants.com. You’re not going to find just a collection of basic articles about gardening here. Instead, she wants to answer the difficult questions for you. She tweets at @robinsonplants

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