05 March 2007

DIY Rain Barrels

We are coming up on Charlottesville's "monsoon season," which will be quickly followed by another drought (my guess -- no I haven't become a weather psychic, it's just been the predominant pattern for the past few years). So, here's a ancient green tip on using the one to survive the other: Get or make rain barrels.

Now, you can buy RCS's rain barrels at Eltzroth & Thompson in Cville, The Garden Barn in Advance Mills, and Pennington's Nursery in Rochelle (on 29 South). RCS's rain barrels are cheap compared to prices I've seen online, which can run up to a $300 bucks a piece. OR you can make them yourself.

The DIY Network has a nice step-by-step guide, with all the pertinent warnings and even some pictures.

Green Girl recommends Aquabarrel's free downloadable DIY Rain Barrel instruction manual, and I note that they'll even send it to you in CD form for $5.

Patrick Hamilton's DIY rain barrel project in the Twin Cities Green Guide is my favorite, thus far, for its cheapness and ease though. I particularly liked his entrepreneurial way of acquiring the barrel. Finding a food-grade barrel around here sounds like it should be a cinch. There are 2 dozen vineyards and breweries within easy driving distance, and castaway oak barrels might be the way to go. After all, you aren't trying to ferment fine wine with it, just capture rain.

So make one of your spring garden & home improvement projects a rain barrel system. It saves water, money, and frequently your lawn, and you will rarely have to worry about power outages and droughts again.

If you decide to go with a DIY kit or method, there is little that is more ironic than a conservationist going to a big-box store like Wal-Mart or Lowes to pick up supplies for a conservation project. Please support your locally-owned businesses by trying Martin's Hardware, Meadowbrook, or Southern States in Cville, Tru Value in Crozet, or Paulett's ACE in Scottsville first.


Lonnie said...

Brings to mind the words favorite folks song by David Wilcox:

An angel appeared
in a holy vision
Stood by my bedside
in shivering light
Spoke my name
Told me my mission
I could not believe I was hearing him right
Because he said, 'Go, my son, go...

Always go to East Asheville Hardware
Before you go to Lowe's

He said, "Go to East Asheville Hardware
Before you go to Lowe's

You'll help to keep them open
I'm worried they might close
From the stiff competition
From the national conglomerate
With the full page ad
in the color section of the Sunday paper supplement
and stacks of plastic swimming pools
and seven brands of power tools
and rows and rows of registers
all having nice days

But no, you go, he said to me with light around his face
He said, You go first to that age-old place
To that old wooden door
that you have to close behind you
To the wide-board wooden floor
worn down soft

To the real thing
Good advice, quality at a fair price
And know that they know how deep the frost goes here.

Sure there's stuff you'll have to find at Paty's, Lowe's or Sears

But go to East Asheville Hardware
Go to East Asheville Hardware
Before it disappears.

bruce said...

The "free" DIY plans that could also be sent to you on CD for $5 are no longer "free". The guy wants $21 for his plans and wants to charge you extra if you use more than one rain barrel. What a rip off! There are lots of other FREE DIY instructions on the internet, including www.greenterrafirma.com as just one of many.