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Rain Barrels/Water Harvesting


Dirt Doctor Weekly Newsletter

Rain Barrels/Water Harvesting


My grandmother taught me the importance of catching rainwater when I was a kid in Pittsburg, Texas. Any container can be used but rain barrels have become popular. Rain barrels are to collect rain from rooftops. They come in several different shapes and sizes, but they all do basically the same thing—save water and decrease storm run off. A typical rain barrel can hold 55-75 gallons of water at one time. When connected to a watering hose, a rain barrel can hold a water supply for watering gardens and potted plants. Rain barrels can be purchased from garden supply centers, feed stores, hardware stores or can easily be built.




A 50 'x 40' collection surface yields 2,000 SF.


1" of rain on 1,000 SF yields 600 gallons of runoff . (623 gallons to be exact)


For a 50'x40' surface the collection from a 1" rain would be 1,200 gallons.



Rain Barrels cost anywhere from $40 to $140. If you choose to build your own barrel, here are some websites with information for construction of your own rain barrel.


Collecting rainwater can be beneficial all year round - and if you have a system set up, chances are you don't want to move it around to put it away when the garden is less active. Here in Texas, it doesn't tend to freeze so hard or for so long that they will be damaged (except for in February 2021. . . ) and you can use it for pots and winter crops.


If you are in a colder climate or want to play it safe, before the first hard freeze drain the barrel, remove the downspout that fills the barrel, and leave the spigot open. For more information, see this Canadian site


Here are a few online sites with tips about how to build your own rain barrel: (This page includes a number of links to various rain collecting methods)


How to Build Your Own Rain Barrel video (YouTube) From Clemson University's "Carolina Clear"


If you have any questions regarding this newsletter or any other topic, join me for my radio show heard in Dallas/Fort Worth across the country on Sunday from 8 - 11am (CST). Radio


To learn more on living a Natural Organic lifestyle, go to


Naturally yours,

Howard Garrett
The Dirt Doctor


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