Harvesting rainwater

Water your plants with rainwater

The amount of water needed to properly water and irrigate a lush and verdant garden can be quite enormous. After all, the general rule of thumb is to supply about two inches of water per week, though that can become higher depending on where you live. The cost of providing the required volume of water can become prohibitive, especially during summer and spring. The burden sometimes can be too much for fixed income retirees and low-income families operating vegetable gardens.

However, rather than making do with a lower volume of water and letting your garden lose its lushness and slowly wither away, why not take advantage of free water in the form of rainfall? And no - you don’t have to build an enormous reservoir to store rainwater. Instead, use one of the methods discussed below, and you will be able to further reduce your personal carbon footprint.

Store Rainwater in Barrels and Trash Cans

Harvesting and storing rainwater doesn’t have to be an expensive project. You don’t have to buy stainless steel tanks costing hundreds of pounds, or barrels with attached spigots or taps. If a tap is super important to you, you can just buy a cheap downspout and affix it to the trash cans. You can use discarded wooden barrels or buy cheap plastic trash cans from hardware stores. These will be perfect for your needs. Ideally though, they should have lids to prevent them from being turned into a habitat by bugs and pests. There is very little work involved. Simply leave them out in the open, and wait for the rain. Once full, move them back to their original sheltered location and use it as required. When they become empty, move them out into the open once again. Keep as many of these trash cans or barrels as you need. You may want to invest in a small hand trolley to help move the barrels around.

Contouring and Irrigating Your Garden

Every garden has its own topography and microclimate. As such, water requirements differ in between different sections of your garden. Areas that are constantly under a shade will be able to retain moisture longer, and thus require lower volume of water. Conversely, areas that are exposed or have larger, water-guzzling trees or plants, will lose water faster and consequently, require more water. So, irrigate your garden. Use a shovel and carve your dominion like the ancient God of Abraham. Dig trenches and canals and build mounds to redirect rainwater as you see fit – just keep it under six days, because the seventh day is a day of rest and prayer. Most of your work will likely get washed away after a rain, but repeat it again. After a few times, the ground will begin to adapt to the new topography.

Spread Your Mulch

Composting is a great recycling method. It requires very little energy expenditure, certainly no use of fossil fuels, and the end product can be used in the same location. Obviously, mulch and compost can sometimes smell so bad, they can make your eyes water. Having said that, mulch has a huge water absorption. If you leave a thick bed of mulch on the garden floor, it is capable of retaining up to four inches of water! That’s about two weeks supply of water. Imagine the kind of savings you will be making in the long run. However, please be extremely wary of plants submerged underwater. It could kill smaller and young plants and trigger rotting diseases in mature trees. If you have trouble keeping them from being submerged, dig canals around them. Be careful not the damage the roots though. Harvesting the rain is also useful during droughts and periods of low rainfall. With sufficient storage of water, you will be able to ride out the crisis will little damage to your garden and the surrounding ecosystem.

Rainwater