Whether they grace a windowsill or fill a garden bed, herbs provide a beautiful and utilitarian touch to the home. With more than 1,000 varieties of herbs available, each plant has its own requirements for pruning, but all herbs generally benefit from similar treatment. Herbs that produce edible foliage benefit from more frequent cutting than those grown for seeds and flowers, but both types produce fuller growth ...
A rain barrel is a container that captures and stores rainwater draining from your roof. Barrels usually range from 50 to 80 gallons and have a spigot for filling watering cans and a connection for a soaker hose. Combining the use of rain barrels with appropriate plant selection and mulching promotes water conservation. Rain barrels benefit your home, garden and community.
Your old T-shirts may be too faded or too small to wear, but before you toss them into the trash, you can repurpose them --- and not just as rags. Mix and match colors to make a ball of T-shirt yarn that you can then use to crochet useful home items. Placemats, hot pads and area rugs are practical items you can keep or give as gifts.
Collecting and storing rainwater, also known as rainwater harvesting, can save the average household about 1,300 gallons of water over the course of a typical summer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Rain barrels collect the runoff from storms, enabling you to use that water to irrigate the lawn, wash your car and water your landscaping. This saves more pure drinking water for cooking and bathing, ...
More Articles on Rain Barrels
Flannel sheets are cozy on cold nights, and repurposed flannel sheets make warm lap blankets. Large lap blankets offer the user the ability to tuck the blanket around her legs and cover her feet for extra warmth. The double layer provides more warmth, but the blanket will still be lightweight. Make the blanket the same design for the top and bottom, or select two different sheets for a choice between the sides. Lap blankets are wonderful to keep in the car, are useful at home and make great gifts.
Rainwater has been harvested for millennia, and with recent serious droughts and concerns over water supplies, the practice is making a comeback. Rainwater is soft, pH neutral and salt free. By harvesting it you can reduce demands on municipal water systems, cut back on stormwater pollution and reduce the burden on aquifers. (See References 1, pages 8 and 9) With proper filtering or disinfecting, the water can be used for cooking, watering a garden, bathing, watering livestock or topping off your pool. (See References 2)
Next time it rains, think about how much water you could be collecting in a rain barrel. For every inch of rain that falls on a 1,000-square-foot roof, you can gather about 600 gallons of water. (See References 1, page 10).The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that at least 36 states are anticipating water shortages by 2013; by utilizing rain barrels for non-potable water needs like landscaping you can help reduce the strain on municipal water supplies while lowering your water bill. (See References 2) Keep in mind that local regulations may prohibit using rain barrels or catchers (see References 6).
A rain barrel gives you the chance to play Mother Nature and collect rainwater that would otherwise run off your property into storm drains. Collecting rainwater in a mosquito-proof barrel not only is environmentally conscious but also conserves a substantial amount of water. A rain barrel can save about 1,300 gallons of water during the summer months, which accounts for 40 percent of the average household's water use. Water collected in a rain barrel is free of chlorine, lime and calcium and can be used for a wide variety of uses, including irrigating plants and topping off swimming pools. (See References 3.)
A rain barrel, combined with a gravity-based drip irrigation system, saves water while maintaining healthy landscape plants and productive gardens. Many states, especially those in the western part of the country, have limited water resources. Experts from Texas A&M University's AgriLife Extension Service estimate that 30 to 50 percent of consumed water supports landscape irrigation (see References 2). Conserving water by harvesting rain makes more water available for drinking and other human activities. However, some areas, including Colorado and Washington, have laws against rain barrels (see Reference 6). Combining rainwater harvesting with a drip irrigation system conserves a precious natural resource and promotes healthier plants by giving them better water pH with fewer chemicals than many public water supplies provide.
A rain barrel can allow you to harvest your rainwater to water your garden or wash nearby windows or vehicles. A 55-gallon food-grade rain barrel takes a perforated screen top to let in water but keep out insects, write Stephen and Rebekah Hren in "The Carbon-Free Home." A hose bib allows you to connect a hose, but to achieve good flow from that hose, you need to explore ways to increase the water pressure in the barrel. (See References 1)
Rain barrels capture runoff from a building's roof, reduce the pressure on sewer systems and make the water available for use during drier times (see References 1). In one U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research project, early results in a Cincinnati neighborhood indicate that rain barrel and rain garden installation in 50 percent of households reduced storm water drainage between 5 and 20 percent (see References 2).
If you are looking for a way to save $1,000 or more a year, carpooling may be the answer. GoodHousekeeping.com's consumer guide, TheDailyGreen, notes that the average American commutes 32 miles per day, in a car that gets under 23 mpg, equating to about 7 gallons of gas per week to commute. With gas prices at time of publication around $4 per gallon, that's $28 per week or $1,456 per year. Arranging a carpool to work can reduce your gas bill by half or more. (See References 1)
Smog is an accumulation of greenhouse gases and pollutants that reduce visibility and impair respiratory functions. During summer, smog is worse because the production of ozone, the main component of smog, increases in strong sunlight. However, ozone is a secondary effect of air pollution and requires nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for its production. (See References 1)
Outdoor chores, such as watering gardens and lawns, can account for 40 percent of household water use during the summertime, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. During the summer months, a rain barrel can help homeowners save around 1,300 gallons of water, depending on a number of factors, including rain barrel size, placement and usage. (See References 1, Page 1)
Rainwater can be wonderfully pure when it falls through unpolluted air directly into a clean, properly constructed container. The rain that falls in cities or flows across outdoor basins, roofs and other open air surfaces on its way to a barrel is another story. Contamination from animal feces, dead insects, engine oil, car exhaust, lead paint and other substances can make drinking it a health hazard. (See References 1, pages 120e and f). Rainwater collected from rooftops is unsafe; always treat it before drinking (see References 2 and 3).
Rain barrels collect and store rooftop runoff, providing a free source of non-potable water to use in a variety of household applications (see References 1). A typical rain barrel consists of a 55-gallon plastic drum, a spigot for draining, an overflow outlet and hose, and a screen to keep out leaves and insects.
Rain barrels have enjoyed a recent surge in popularity. This demand is driven by the rising price of municipal water sources as well as water restrictions required in drought-stricken areas. Rain barrels allow homeowners to harvest this valuable natural resource for their own use, which in turn extends and conserves municipal water supplies.
Acid rain contaminates soil, pollutes water and even causes the death of plants and fish. Before carbon dioxide took center stage, acid rain was a major topic of discussion among environmental groups. Two pollutants, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, combine with water vapor and oxygen to make acid rain, which has higher concentrations of sulfuric and nitric acids than normal rain (see References 1). By understanding the source of these pollutants, individuals can make a few lifestyle changes to reduce these emissions and, in turn, acid rain.
It's easy to take for granted that water is in endless supply. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average household uses nearly 300 gallons every day. If you have concerns about your water usage, one area to explore involves gray water. For recreation projects that include landscaping, it offers an alternative to using fresh water. You can save money and conserve water. (See Reference 1)
In all but the driest areas, rainfall provides much of the moisture in the soil and helps keep underground aquifers full. Unfortunately, your yard probably does a poor job of absorbing rain water into the soil. Driveways, patios and walkways absorb no water at all. Packed soil and dense sod absorb rain slowly, leaving most to run along the surface and become waste water (see References 1). Helping rainwater disperse more effectively into the soil is good environmental stewardship, and it can also help reduce your water bills.
Encouraging the use of rain barrels has become a significant part of many municipalities' wastewater management strategy (see References 1, 2). Your yard absorbs rain slowly, so much of the water that lands on your property runs off into storm drains and eventually, local bodies of water (see References 1). Using one or more rain barrels to capture the rain for later use saves money and reduces runoff. However, some consider the barrels and eyesore and find ways to hide them.
Whether your local climate gives you lots of rain or very little, adding one or more rain barrels to your yard has many benefits. In rainy climates, a rain barrel lets you minimize runoff and erosion by trapping much of the water that runs from your roof. In dry climates, conserving the sporadic rainfall reduces your usage of municipal water, both saving water and conserving a valuable resource. Rain barrels should have two faucets installed, where hoses can attach. One provides an overflow outlet, while the second allows you to water your garden or fill a watering can.
The rain that falls on your roof presents both problems and opportunities. Often your soil is unable to absorb all the rain as it falls, so it runs off into the drains without your lawn or garden enjoying the benefits. Heavy rains can also erode your home's foundation. Many householders set up rain barrels to catch the water as it drips from the roof, reducing runoff and erosion while preserving water for garden use. Most homes direct water into the barrel with gutters and downspouts, but even homes without gutters can use a rain barrel.
Rain barrels can help save money on watering the garden and landscaping shrubs and can also protect the environment by keeping lawn chemicals and other pollutants out of waterways. Rain barrels can be purchased from garden centers or constructed at home from common hardware-store supplies. Over time, both commercial and homemade rain barrels can develop leaks that diminish their effectiveness. A cracked rain barrel can also present a hazard of collapsing. Keep your rain barrel clean and check frequently for leaks to keep it working efficiently and safely.
Rain harvesting has become popular as a method to collect water that can later be used to irrigate landscape areas during periods of drought and reduce the type of runoff that can create storm water pollution. Rain barrels that are no longer needed or wanted can be recycled in the same manner you would recycle other waste items in your area.
Rain barrels provide an easy and convenient method for householders to trap and store rainwater for watering lawns and gardens. This offers the dual benefit of reducing your household's water usage and reducing the quantity of wastewater runoff from your property. Food-grade, 55-gallon plastic barrels are the most common choice for rain barrels, but similar-sized steel barrels are also suitable (see Reference 1, page 16). Steel is heavier than plastic and harder to work, so you need a suitable drill bit. It's also important to guard against rust.
The Environmental Protection Agency and jurisdictions all across the country put significant efforts into managing stormwater. Left unchecked, the runoff from a heavy rainstorm can cause erosion and carry a variety of contaminants into nearby waterways. Water that doesn't run off can pool and stagnate, breeding mosquitoes and spreading disease. Containing stormwater by capturing it for storage or helping it infiltrate into the soil addresses both problems. Any homeowner can be part of the solution by installing rain barrels or a rain garden (see References 1).
In summer, watering your lawn can represent up to 40 percent of your total household water use. By making your own rain barrel, you can significantly reduce your outdoor water use. The Maryland Green Building Programs reports that using stored water from a rain barrel can save you up to 1,300 gallons of water during the peak season. (See Reference 1)
Rain barrels provide an easy and efficient way for a householder to capture some of the rainwater that falls on the roof. Having rain barrels reduces the quantity of runoff carrying debris and fertilizers into the watershed and also provides free water for irrigating lawns and gardens. However, care should be taken to prevent your water barrel from freezing.
Although rain barrels can be purchased complete and ready to use, many homeowners choose to make their own as a cost-saving measure. The most common choice for the container is a food-grade plastic barrel, the kind used by wholesalers to ship bulk items such as olives in brine (see references 1). However, these can be difficult for the average consumer to find. Garbage cans, on the other hand, are inexpensive and readily available. A sturdy garbage can is easily converted into a rain barrel.
Although 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered in water, only 1 percent of this water is available for us to use (See Reference 3). Home water use increases by 30 percent during the summer in some regions mainly due to people watering lawns and outdoor plants (See Reference 4). A rain collector allows you to save rainwater for watering your garden rather than using fresh water from the hose. Also known as rain barrels, rain collectors can be made from a 55-gallon drum using a few common tools.
Rain barrels are an inexpensive way to capture rainwater that otherwise would wash away into storm sewers, becoming waste water. Just 1 inch of rain on the 1,200 square feet of an average residential roof equals 700 gallons of water (see References 1). It makes sense both economically and environmentally to harvest that water and use it on your garden and lawn. Most rain barrels are constructed from 55-gallon food grade plastic barrels, so a good rain can easily fill more than one. Connecting two barrels in a series to double storage capacity is a straightforward project.
Trapping rain water for later use is a practice encouraged by many municipalities. Rain water running into storm drains carries silt, organic waste, herbicides and pesticides into nearby waterways, reducing water quality and harming the local environment. Harvesting your rainfall reduces the quantity of runoff from your property, and also conserves the water for lawn and garden use. This in turn reduces demand on municipal water supplies, providing a secondary environmental benefit (see References 1). The simplest way to trap your rain water is in a rain barrel.
Growing potatoes in bags or barrels is an easy way to get started with container gardening. Container gardening is especially popular in areas where space is limited, such as urban and rooftop or balcony gardens. Potatoes can be grown in ordinary garbage bags, which reduces the risk of pest and fungal damage. Some gardeners opt to use barrels in place of bags, which works just as well but can be a bit more costly.
Most modern rain barrels are equipped with a faucet near the bottom to let you attach a hose. Unfortunately that means the barrel can only be drained by the force of gravity, and that may not be enough to let you use your hose with a nozzle held at waist level. Adding a battery powered pump can dramatically improve the functionality of your rain barrel.