Thanks to the nice folks over at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, we now have our first 2 rain water barrels (55 gallon barrels that transported olives in a previous life.) They run a seminar on rain water harvesting and offer excellent prices on the barrels as well. We purchased one DIY barrel (they will prep the barrels with spigots and screens – but where is the fun in that?) and won the second one as a door prize at the end of the class.
Birmingham Botanical Gardens is an amazing resource center. The gardens are beautiful, the staff conducts all kinds of educational classes, there is an onsite library, and they have some very knowledgeable staff to help with questions about local plants, soil quality issues, and a host of other related topics for people trying to grow stuff in Alabama.
Over the next couple days I will be prepping our barrels for service (adding spigots, screens, and overflow drains) , building platforms to stand them on (when full, these barrels will weigh over 450 pounds), and adding the diversion plumbing to the gutter downspouts. The upcoming week is forecast to be very hot and dry, but the following week is showing lots of rain. So, I want to get the barrels in place before the water arrives.
Our goal is to ultimately have 6 storage barrels capturing water from the house. This would hold about 330 gallons of water for the garden – some of which will be tied to a drip irrigation watering system. For now, we have 110 gallons of storage which should help reduce some of our use of city water for plants.
As the project progresses, I’ll make updates with more details about installing and using the rain barrels. Leave a comment below if you have any questions you would like me to cover. I’ll try to include all relevant info in the upcoming posts as I show how I prep and install them.