Visitors to the farm are usually surprised to learn that we water the entire garden and landscape with only reclaimed rain water. Our system, which collects and stores rainwater from our
barn's metal roof, provides 100% of our annual watering needs. The best part, it was extremely easy to install, and can be inexpensively adapted to almost any home, shed or roof with a gutter.
We spent the past week hooking our tanks back up from winter storage - and within 24 hours - we had just over 150 gallons stored from a single rain. It's been over a year now since we first completed the rain collection system - and I honestly don't know how we survived without it.
It gives us access to free water, and with our two plastic tote tanks, can collect as much as 550 gallons from a single downpour. And that's only using rain from the back portion of the roof! This spring, we will add a third tank fed by the front gutter - increasing our storage to just shy of 900 total gallons - enough to handle our watering needs for nearly two months of complete drought.How it works:
The system collects rain water from a simple adapter made to fit our existing barn's gutter. The barn has a standard gabled metal roof measuring 13 wide' x 32' long on each side. A 32' section of guttering runs along the bottom of each side of the metal roof, slanted slightly to carry all of the water to the eastern side of the barn. From there, both sides empty into standard downspouts.The front downspout (not used currently), runs down and out to the field for normal drainage. On the back downspout however, we installed a simple 2-way in-line diverter (See Picture). When the metal lever is slid to the left, rain water is diverted into a 275 gallon storage tank located below the downspout. When all tanks are full, the switch can be slid back for normal drainage.From the main storage tank, we pump and fill a second 275 gallon tank installed above our garden. With that, we can water all of our plants quickly, using gravity and a standard garden hose connected to the tank.To increase capacity and mobility, we are adding a second diverter to the front gutter this year. That will fill a 3rd tank mounted on wheels - giving us the ability to pull water anywhere it's needed with our tractor. That will be a huge time saver when it comes time to water the newly planted grapevines and fruit trees on the hill this year.
Here is a look at the system's components and cost:
Totes: $40 each We found ours for $40 each after searching on Craigslist. You can also check with local food plants that may receive their raw materials in them. One word of caution - make sure you know what was originally in your tanks and that it is safe. Our tanks were used to hold maple syrup and molasses - simple food products that can be cleaned out and re-used. You will want to avoid using tanks that held harsh chemicals. Most tanks come with a 6" threaded cap on top, and a 2" threaded outlet valve at the bottom. You can convert the bottom 2" valve to accept a standard garden hose with a few adapters found at your local hardware store.
Diverter Switch : $15 You can find standard gutter diverters at your local home improvement store for about $15 - they install in minutes with rivets or screws.
Threaded Valve and Hose Adapter: $15 Your local plumbing or hardware store can hook you up with a simple threaded connection valve to convert the 2" drain at the bottom of your tank to handle a regular garden hose. We also installed a ball valve ($10) on our tank for an extra shut off point.
A couple of final notes on collecting and using rainwater:
Keep It Dark: You will want to keep the water from getting direct sunlight to keep algae from growing in the stagnant water. Algae can only grow if there is light. If your tank is translucent like ours, you will want to cover it. We use a black waterproof material (like grill cover material) to cover ours once the summer sun and heat become a problem. Not only does it dress it up, but it keeps the water and the flow line crystal clear.
Keep It Closed Off: No matter what system you use to store your water, you will want to keep it covered. Water that sits is an open invitation to mosquito larvae . Our totes came with 6" caps and lids on the top. We simply cut out the hole for the downspout, and then sealed the edge with some inexpensive foam.
Know What To Use The Water For: We only use our reclaimed water for watering plants or washing off equipment ,etc. Since we do not treat it in any way, we do not use it for drinking.Check to make sure your allowed to collect rain water. It sounds crazy, but in some states out west you are not allowed to collect rain water, as the water rights still belong to the state. So to be on the safe side, check with your local or state government to make sure it's legal where you live.
Happy Gardening!! - Jim and Mary.
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If you happen to have a couple of hours to spare, you can easily create your own raised gardening bed. Raised beds should not generallybe any wider that four feet, with a minimum of a two
foot walkway in-between them. Common lengths are 4', 6', 8', 10', 12', and 16'. I based the steps below on a normal yard with semi- flat ground utilizing one simple 48 SF raised bed.
As I chose a 48 SF bed which was 12' long, I needed 3 – 2×12's @ 12' long (pressure treated), a 1x4x12 (pressure treated) for staking the box to the ground & 1 pound of 2 ½" deck screws. If you have an issue with gophers or other digging vermin, you may consider buying some chicken wire that can be placed at the very bottom of the assembly. Depending on the land & garden soil available you may need to buy some soil or compost (up to 36 Cubic Feet to achieve 9" of suitable planting material in the planter.)
Cut one of the 2×12's and the 1×4 into 3 – 4' segments – next cut the 1×4 section in half at a 45 degree angle – you may wish to make one additional cut to make a cut that looks like this ( > ). This will make it easier to pound it straight into the ground.
2 of the cut 2×12 sections are for the ends and the remaining one is for the center – keeping the pieces flush with each other, use three deck screws at each connection point. The 6 stakes, should be pounded into the ground at the 4 outside corners and on each side of the center support.
This post is based off our original one located here: http://blog.sls-construction.com/2010/creati... #SpringFever
Commented on Mar 17, 2013
Love raised beds for gardening! Makes life so much easier :)
The standard pantries in the house we bought last year were almost unusable. Long deep shelves and only 3-4 of them in a large closet sized area. Thank heavens they had doors. I designed
the shelves, my husband cut them out of MDF boards, I painted them with several coats of paint, and he installed them with aluminum channel. The channel allowed use of the shelf all the way to the back of the space. I counted and measured all the things in my food pantry to make the plan for how many shelves, how wide, tall and deep they needed to be. See the beginning and end result. It's so nice to be able to find things now. It turned out so nice, we did the 2nd pantry where I keep dishes, plastics, and mixed items for the kitchen!
Here's a dilemma: We're going to be selling our home (moving to new location) and I need some advice on what to do with my master bath to maximize sales appeal in this tough market
(without putting more into it than I'll get out!). The bath is very large, with a separate shower and jetted tub. Tile is all the white 4" tile. We're going to replace the countertops with Caesarstone or granite, as well as all the knobs, faucets, etc. The shower is glass trimmed with that brass, which of course makes it look a bit dated. If we were staying, we'd do a complete remodel and redo all the tile. Putting it on the market, I'm wondering if changing countertops and hardware would do the trick? What do you think?
Commented on Jul 24, 2012
Well, we ended up just painting, changing out the hardware and calling it a day on the master
bath. Looks great, but would have loved to have done more. Turns out that to replace the faucets on the jacuzzi would have required taking off the tile, which we didn't want to get into. We came up with a nice combo that melds the brass with the rubbed oil bronze nicely. Looks very spa like, and initial showings have been very positive. Wish us luck finding a buyer!
Elaine - hope your sister finally had luck selling her home!
Total project was about $60.00. ($17.00 for the Primer, $20.00 for the Countertop Coating and $20.00 for the Polycrylic). I already owned the paint, but that was about $15.00 worth. I know they sell kits for this kindof thing (made by Gianni or Rustoleum), but I wanted to go with a different paint scheme. I got the original idea from a blog (creative Kristi's) Total process took about 3 days
Teri - smart planning on your part to wait until DH was gone :) Hope you enjoy your project -
it looks lovely. To Beverly H: Gosh, I'd think two or three times before painting Corian. It's a solid surface product, so just about anything stain wise/scratch wise can be dealt with easily. Is it a horrible color or are you just wanting that granite look?
When we finished the house, the client wanted to build a guest room, billiard room, office, kitchen, & family room in the space. It was so much fun because I got to design rock, trim, kitchen, colors, & furniture.
Commented on Jul 15, 2012
Really wonderful job! What fun to turn a drab old basement into a fabulous room for
entertaining. Love the stacked stone fireplace, and all the built ins will be terrific, too. Well done, as usual!