Cafe Conversations| Conserve Water Make Your Own Rain Barrel

It’s September.  Why Make a Rain Barrel Now!  Water is Still A Precious Commodity.

Do It Yourself Rain Barrel

For those of us in the mid-west, we still have months of outdoor work and play.   Plus, we will have some of those much awaited cooler days ahead.  Perfect time to do a few outdoor projects —-in preparations for Spring Time!   If you live in a milder climate—year round economic care of your plants.  Here’s why this is a great project for all of us. My Thanks to Better Homes and Gardens!   I now have step by step instructions to share with you.

“Using a rain barrel can save you a significant amount of money in a season. For each inch of rain that falls on 500 square feet of roof, you can collect 300 gallons of water. In most areas of North America, that means you can collect more than a thousand gallons of water a year to use in your containers, houseplantsgarden, or even your lawn. We’ll show you how to make your own inexpensive rain barrel in just a couple of hours.”

I priced a few Rain Barrels at the local home stores and the least expensive was $80.00.  This DIY project is far too good to pass up!     MY HINT:  Just place a few plants or Containers filled with lush foliage to camouflage the barrel.  Or,better yet—go ahead and spray paint it to match your house.  Genius! 

Assemble The Materials

 

Step 1: Gather Your Materials      

“It’s probably easier than you think to make a rain barrel. Here’s what we used:”

— 1 large plastic garbage can (the larger it is, the more water you can collect)

— 1 tube of watertight sealant or roll of Teflon tape for plumbing
— 2 rubber washers
— 2 metal washers
— 1 hose clamp
— 1 spigot
— A drill
— Landscaping fabric

Step 2: Drill a Hole

“Start by using your drill to create a hole near the bottom of your barrel. This is where you’ll insert your spigot. Use a drill bit that’s a little smaller than or the same size as the spigot.”

Here’s a hint: Don’t create a hole that’s too low — you’ll want to leave space underneath to fill your watering cans.

Step 3: Insert the Spigot      

Dry Fit the Spigot

                   

“Place a metal washer onto the threaded end of spigot, then put a snugly fitting rubber washer over the threads to help hold the washer in place and prevent leakage.”

Step 4: Seal it up

“Next, apply a bead of waterproof sealant over your rubber washer and insert the spigot into the hole. Wait for the sealant to dry, then run a rubber washer, followed by a metal washer onto the threads of the spigot inside the barrel. Secure the spigot in place inside your barrel with the hose clamp. This is important because it will keep your spigot from coming loose from your barrel.”

Here’s a hint: You can also run watertight Teflon tape to seal the spigot hole

Seal the Spigot

 

Step 5: Make Entry and Exit Holes

“Carefully cut a hole in the lid of your rain barrel. This hole should sit under your home’s downspout so the water runs right into the barrel. Cut the hole so it’s large enough to accommodate the water flow from the downspout.

You’ll also want to drill a hole or two near the very top of your rain barrel. This hole will allow water to overflow.”

Here’s a hint: You can run a short length of hose or PVC pipe, from the overflow hole to another rain barrel to connect them. That way if your rain barrel fills, the excess water will run into the next one and you don’t lose overflow water.

Make Entry & Exit Holes

 

Step 6: Seal the Top

“Cut a piece of landscaping fabric to sit over the top of your rain barrel, then put the lid over the top of it to secure it. This will create a barrier that prevents mosquitoes and other pests from getting in your rain barrel water.”

Sealing The Top

 

Step 7: Place Your Rain Barrel

“Now that the hard work is done, all you have to do is get your rain barrel in place. Position it directly underneath your downspout in a spot that’s most convenient for you to use it. Then just wait for it to rain so you can enjoy the water — and money — savings.”

Here’s a hint: Set your rain barrel up on a platform to help give more pressure if you connect it to a hose. It also makes it easier to fill up watering cans.

Directions Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.  Photos Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.

Thanks for the amazing directions.

Cafe Conversations|Garden Tip ~~ Divide Your Perennials Now

Dividing and Transplanting Perennials in Fall

           

September is a great month for doing a little renovating in your perennial garden by dividing and/or transplanting.

Dividing Perennials - courtesy P. Allen Smith

The heat of summer has hopefully passed, the chances of rain have returned and there is still plenty of time for plants to recover from being moved before the ground freezes.             The rule of thumb for deciding which perennials to transplant or divide is based on bloom time.  Late summer and fall bloomers are suited for moving in the spring while spring and early summer flowering perennials can be transplanted in fall.            There are several signs that can tell you it’s time to divide a perennial when all the growth appears on the outer edges, it doesn’t bloom as well as it used to or the blooms are smaller than usual.  All these indicators are symptoms of overcrowded roots.         Transplanting can be motivated by the desire to change the look of your garden or if you’ve discovered that the perennial needs a different growing environment.

Star Gazer Lilies

     

          Whether transplanting or dividing you should give the plants about 6 weeks before the first hard freeze occurs in your garden so they can be settled in to their new home and ready for winter.

         Start by digging around the entire clump with a garden fork or sharp shooter (narrow shovel) and lifting the plant, soil and all, from the hole. Then gently break as much of the soil away as you can. If you are dividing the plant, once it is out of the ground, separate the crowns by cutting them with a sharp knife or shovel blade.  You don’t have to be gentle, but try to preserve as many of the roots as possible.

         Keep newly dug and/or divided plants covered and protected from wind and sun while you get their new homes ready.  If you can’t transplant them the same day, place them in the shade, spray the root ball with water and cover them with wet newspapers.  They’ll be okay for a few days, but I recommend getting them in the ground ASAP.

        Prepare the new planting spot or revive the old one by turning the soil at least 8-inches deep.  Remove rocks, roots and debris.  Add plenty of compost and some aged manure.

       Dig a hole that is 1.5 times as deep and wide as the plant’s roots. Build a firm mound of soil in the middle of the hole. Spread the roots over the mound so that the crown sits at or just below the soil line. Gently back fill the hole and pull the soil up around the crown just as you would a container grown plant.

        Water the plant and keep it consistently moist until a hard freeze.  Don’t bother with fertilizer as it will only encourage top growth, which takes energy away from the roots.

       Once the ground freezes, apply a 3-inch layer of mulch and you are done.  Next spring your perennials will emerge with a new lease on life.

        Plants to Divide in Fall

  • Astilbe
  • Asiatic Lily
  • Oriental Lily
  • Lily-of-the-Valley
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Siberian Iris
  • Japanese Iris
  • Veronica
  • Peony

        ~  Thanks to P. Allen Smith ~