Monday, April 23, 2012

Rain barrels help you work WITH Mother Nature

rainbarrelpl  One of the first suggestions that I make to people who want to start practicing “green”, eco-friendly gardening, is to learn to Work WITH Mother Nature, Not Against Her. What I generally mean when I say that is that one of the best ways to NOT harm the environment in and from your own landscape, is to get to know the piece of property you are working with, including such things as plant hardiness zone, areas of sun and shade, pH levels of the soil, and  plants which are native or invasive. Here is a post  that explains those ideas in more detail: Working With Mother Nature

But another way to Work With Mother Nature is to adapt our gardens and our gardening practices to work with Acts of Nature, which include times of drought, rain, wind and freezes.

The recent near-drought-to-heavy-rain which many of us experienced was a perfect example of how rain barrels are a great way to work with Mother Nature. Those who already have rain barrels installed at their homes now have a good supply of water saved up (depending on the number and size of barrels that they have) to help deal with the next drought.

buckets My husband LOVES his rain barrels.  During our recent rains, he was outside in a raincoat checking on his rain barrels, making sure they were all working correctly, and filling up our very large assortment of watering cans to capture as much of that free water source as he could.

But hubby also knows that rain barrels play another important role in protecting the environment. By collecting runoff from rooftops, rain barrels can also prevent stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is caused when heavy rains  run directly into streets and storm sewers, carrying it (and the pollutants it collects) directly to the local waterways.

Rain barrels require little maintenance and are a great way to save money and conserve water as a natural resource.

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get a rebate to help cover the purchase price of your rain barrel.  In DC, see the RiverSmart Homes site; In Montgomery County, see Rainscapes Rewards; in Gaithersburg, Rainscapes Rewards; Rockville – Rainscapes Rewards.

Rain barrels are fun and easy to build and there are lots of rain barrel workshops in the area:  Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Registration

You can build your own, without a workshop: Rain Barrel Assembly (pdf)

Or you can buy one, readymade: Local Rain Barrel Sources

Some of Mother Nature’s other Acts are a lot harder to deal with. Rain barrels help to make rain and drought some of the easier ones.

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