My second 58-gallon water barrel arrived the other day, making our saving water efforts a lot easier.
One of the things we’ll be doing a LOT in the peak growing time is watering. Rainwater as far as we’re aware is a lot better than tap water for the plants, so having a good supply available in easily accessible water containers is a major advantage.
It’s also a lot more convenient as if you do not have an outside tap or irrigation system installed. Having the water butts there saves having to set up the garden hose each time, or from having to run indoors to the kitchen tap every few minutes.
This saving water setup is quite simple. In this case, rainwater is collected from the roof of the conservatory. It can just as easily be collected from a house or shed roof, and it’s all done via the guttering. There are simply fitted kits available that enable you to tap into the down pipe of your house guttering in order to divert the water into your water butts.
In this example, the rainwater fills up the first barrel, then when full, it overflows through a food-grade pipe into the second barrel, and when that’s full, it flows into the small green barrel, which was my original garden water butt before we started this whole food growing project. That’s 164 gallons of water in total.
Fortunately, if your area gets a lot of rain during the spring, you won’t have to wait too long before they are all filled up. A few April showers should do it.
In this case, we would use water from the green barrel first, then from the middle barrel, then finally from the first barrel.
Not just a case of convenience
In times of drought, when the use of hoses or irrigation systems is prohibited, which may be the case in some areas of the country, your water conservation efforts will pay off in dividends. On top of that, those of us with a water meter will be saving significantly on our water costs.
Also, ‘Preppers’ or anyone looking into the concept of survival gardening will find this additional benefit useful. As a mild preparedness advocate, you may understand the importance of firstly storing drinking water for emergencies, and secondly, securing an alternative drinking water supply.
The two red barrels we are using here are made from ‘food-grade’ plastic, which means they can also double-up as an emergency source for drinking water, unlike the green barrel which will likely leach undesirable chemicals into the water.
Obviously, rainwater is not potable (drinkable) in its raw state, and must first be purified, but it remains a clean and low-contaminant source that’s easy to purify using boiling, or filtration methods. Pouring it through a water filter, for example, will make it immediately drinkable.
For those interested, I obtained the big 58-gallon food-grade barrels from eBay for about $115-$175 each. You may find some with free shipping, but many are not. The barrels may or may not come with a tap kit that you will have to fit yourself. The water butt stands were purchased locally for about $35. You can also find food grade barrels on Amazon, see links below.
This is a used food grade plastic barrel. It has a twist off lid and holds 58 gallons of water.
This is a 55-gallon capacity food grade barrel. It weighs 23 pounds when not filled. The blue color provides protection from the sun. It has two 2” bung caps.
This is a food grade, reused plastic barrel. It has a brass spigot and overflow valve. A downspout adapter is included.
This is a reconditioned 55-gallon plastic food grade drum. The drums have been triple washed. It includes two 2” bung amps, one 2” fine thread, and one 2” buttress course thread.
This 55-gallon barrel is resistant to rust, mold, and mildew. It has a brass spigot for hose hook-up or dual overflow. It has two optional locations for spigot placement.