Cascadian Farm Organic Goodness


Simple Tips for Harvesting Rain Water: Your Questions Answered

Last month, I wrote about the benefits both ecologically and economically of harvesting rain water. Ecologically, harvesting rain water to irrigate your gardens or flower beds and to wash your car, flush your toilets or to purify as a source of drinking water is a great way to recycle rain water. Economically, using the 600 gallons of water for every 1 inch of rain that falls on your 1,000 square foot roof can equate to thousands of gallons of water that you can reuse each year, saving you a lot of money.

However, many of you had questions about rain harvesting. Today, I am going to answer some of these questions such as; is the rain water that washes off my regular roof contaminated? Where can I buy a rain harvester? How do I set it up? How do I use it, once it is installed? And how to keep mosquitoes from breeding inside the rain harvester?

Hopefully, this will answer some more of your rain harvesting questions and give you more information as to what you will need to start harvesting your share of the rain.


Question: Is rain water that washes off a roof contaminated, will it hurt my gardens?

Answer: The water that washes off of your roof may be contaminated with chemicals, moss or even bird droppings. You can filter the rain water that comes off of your roof with a "floating extractor". A floating extractor floats in the water in the rain harvester, it intakes water from the middle of the tank where the water is at it's purest. The floating extractor is attached to the spigot, so when using the water, you will always be using the cleanest part of the water. You can also purchase a downspout filter that will capture any larger debris that finds its way into your downspout. Many rain harvesters that purchase from your local garden center will come with a built in filtering system. Just make sure to clean the filters on a regular basis.

Question: Where can I buy a rain harvester?

Answer: You can purchase a rain harvester from many local gardening stores. Garden stores typically sell 55 to 75 gallon rain barrels with leaf screens and built in spouts for $50-$250 dollars. It depends on how large and what type of a system you are looking for. You can also make your own rain harvesting system for a fraction of the price. This DIY Rain Harvesting Video shows you exactly how to make one.

Question: How do I set up the rain harvester?

Answer: Setting up a rain harvester is simple. First, decide which rain gutter you want to use for rain harvesting. Position the rain harvester directly below the downspout on level ground, I suggest using concrete blocks to raise and level it. Set the rain harvester on top of the concrete blocks with the spigot facing the garden. Cut the downspout to fit directly above the rain harvester and wait for a good rain storm. Here is a great video on How to Install a Rain Harvester.

Question: How to I get the water out of the rain harvester?

Answer: Gravity is the simplest and most budget friendly way to remove the water from your rain harvester and into your yard. All you need is a spigot at the bottom of the tank. Unless you need the water to move up to a higher level than where the tank is situated, if so, you will need a pump. You can purchase a pump from your local gardening store as well.

Question: How do I keep mosquitoes from breeding in the barrel?

Answer: To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the barrel, make sure that the barrel is always covered or has a screened top.

I hope this helped to answer some of your rain harvesting questions.

If you have other questions, please leave them below and I will answer them for you!


Photo Via wwarby.

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