Lori Cox sat down with CleanWaterMN.org to share these helpful tips that we can transport from the farm to our backyards.
How To Water Your Garden from a Rain Barrel
Supplies: 55-gallon barrel, lead-free spigot, mesh screen filter, valves, and drip lines.
- Identify a location for your rain barrel. Gardening sheds or detached garages are great spots to catch rainwater. If you plan to water fruits or vegetables, choose a structure with a roof that’s metal, tin, wood shake, or slate — not asphalt. Be sure to clean your gutters to minimize debris!
- Once you’ve found the right spot for your rain barrel, raise it off the ground to encourage water-flow through gravity. The height of the barrel will depend on your garden. For drip irrigation, a 55-gallon barrel should be at least two feet off the ground to maintain 2.598 PSI of water pressure. For a raised garden bed, the barrel should be three feet or higher.
- Install a lead-free spigot on your barrel with a mesh screen filter to prevent debris from getting stuck in the drip lines. Don’t forget a valve that will allow you to turn the drip line watering system on and off.
- If you have a large garden with plants that require different amounts of water, install valves on each drip line. This will allow you to reduce waste by only watering plants that need it.
Optional: You can install a pump on your rain barrel to increase pressure. However, with only 55 gallons of water in your barrel, drip lines are the most efficient means of watering a garden.