Drought busting strategies….

OK, I admit that my 6, 80-gallon rain barrels are not going to keep my garden alive during a typical Piedmont scorching hot July. However, they do help me water my newest little native plants that need TLC to make it until tomorrow. To accomplish this, I cut off my downspouts and positioned them so they drain directly into the rain barrels.img_4610

And yes, I did connect 2 barrels together with an easy blue connector piece you can find at Lowe’s in the irrigation section. All it takes is a couple of hard downpours and my rain barrel is full again. A few things I have learned:

  • The newest styles of rain barrels have a mesh filter over the input hole that keeps out some debris and is supposed to keep out mosquitos. If you do have a mosquito problem in your barrel, I put the mosquito dunks in each barrel during the summer.
  • Yes, I do have to scrape off all the small debris from the gutters after each rain or it clogs the hole.
  • You can also find extra hose caps at Lowe’s to close off the top side holes to keep mosquitos out.
  • Gravity can work in your favor. Position your rain barrel where your output hose flow is down hill for best results and positive water flow.
  • The barrels do benefit from an annual or semi-annual dump out and hose wash, but because they are green, they don’t allow enough light in to grow too much algae.
  • In the past the supplier has been Rain Barrel USA located in Waxhaw. They have an excellent and informative website.

Over the years I have acquired these six rain barrels from successive trips to the Mecklenburg County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annual Tree Seedling Sale. These barrels are available again this year and I highly recommend taking one (or more) home with you when you purchase your seedlings. This year’s sale is Saturday, February 25 from 9-12 Noon at the Hal Marshall Center, 700 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. Stop by the NCNPS-Southern Piedmont Chapter booth and say hello!

You can find the posting of available seedlings and links to more information at our earlier blog post MCSWCD Tree and Seedling Sale . The 60-gallon barrel is $105, and the 80-gallon is $120.