Rainwater Collection System using Barrels
Four rain barrel rainwater collection system.
DIY Rain water Collection System
IBC tote rainwater harvesting collection system.
Great informative How To video of building an IBC aquaponics system!
How to: Rain-water catchment with IBC Totes (see pictures below):
Our set-up is pretty unsophisticated: Rain gutter to down-spout, directed via flexible down-spout to the entry-point filter (one of those really thin plastic pots retailers sell plants in – it fits the top opening of the IBC Tote perfectly).
The filter receiving adapter, is a plastic cookie bottle that we cut to size with a box-knife, for the flexible down-spout to enter. The top of the cookie bottle then fits into the plastic pot – top down. Under the cookie bottle top (but above the bottom of the plastic pot), is a piece of common, plastic screening. This catches all the bugs, leaves and other debris carried from the roof, preventing it from entering the IBC Tote. This works better than any of the “pre-filters” you might find on the internet and it’s way, way cheaper to fabricate (like, $5.00 including the cookies). After a rain or two, just disconnect it and “bang” the bugs out.
The picture of the bottom of the IBC Totes shows how we set up the plumbing. The goal was to allow filling one tote or both and to allow using the water from either one or both of the totes at the same time. Both hose connections are quick connect/disconnect type.
After that, wait for your first good rain, attach your garden hose a couple of days later, and water some wildflowers.
Finally, know that the IBC Totes we are using are the 275 gallon capacity ones, so we are collecting a total of 550 gallons at a time. The fact that they are “caged” would allow a one-on-top-of-the-other configuration, which would significantly increase the pressure when they are both full – as well as keep the foot-print of the whole thing to that of one tote. A design detail to consider.
The real “finally” is that when winter rolls around, you are going to want to drain your totes to about half full or less. We empty ours completely. This protects them from freezing the plumbing pieces parts.
Let us know how your project goes. It can be one of those things that if one person does it, shows it off to a few others, then, all of a sudden, you’ve got a change in “the norm” going on in your neighborhood, your world. Pretty exciting.
A strawberry barrel provides room for 40 or more plants, so you can grow a bounty of strawberries in a small area. Plastic 30- to 55-gallon barrels require only basic tools to alter them into a suitable planter. Strawberries grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9. An ever-bearing variety, which produces few runners and can produce from spring through fall, is especially well-suited to a container garden.
1. Drill a 1/2-inch starter hole in the side of the barrel, 1 inch down from the top edge. Insert a jigsaw blade into the hole and cut off the top of the barrel. Lightly sand the cut edge with medium-grit sandpaper to smooth it. Wear eye protection and follow all safety precautions when using power tools.
2. Turn the barrel upside down and drill 1/2-inch drainage holes in the bottom. Space the holes 3 inches apart in rows set 3 inches apart.
3. Measure 5 inches up from the bottom of the barrel and draw an 3-inch line, parallel to the barrel bottom, with a straight edge and felt-tip marker. Draw additional lines 8 inches above the one beneath, until the last line is 5 inches below the pot rim. For the next row, measure 10 inches up from the bottom of the barrel, about 8 inches away from your first row, then space each line 8 inches apart. Continue working around the barrel, offsetting the lines by alternating the starting point from 5 to 10 inches.
4. Drill a hole at both ends of each line. Insert the jigsaw blade into one hole and cut along the line to form the planting slit. Repeat for each line. Push the plastic above the slit in while pulling it out on the bottom to form the planting cup.
5. Drill 1/4-inch holes in the sides of the PVC pipe, spacing the holes 2 inches apart in rows set 1 inch apart.
6. Set the barrel in its permanent location, which must receive full, all-day sunlight. Fill the bottom of the barrel with gravel to a 2-inch depth. Stand up the pipe inside the barrel with the bottom resting on top of the gravel layer. Fill the PVC pipe with coarse builder's sand.
7. Mix 1 pound of 4-8-8 fertilizer with 55 gallons of potting soil, which is enough to fill a standard plastic barrel. Add the soil to the barrel up to the first row of planting slits. Set a strawberry seedling in the slit, with the plant crown level with the rim of the slit, and then fill the slit around the strawberry roots with soil. Water the soil in the barrel until it's moist, then continue adding soil and planting strawberries until you reach the top of the barrel. Water the soil after planting each level. Plant additional plants in the top of the barrel, spacing them 8 inches apart.
8. Water the barrel twice a week. Pour water into the PVC pipe and allow it to soak into the soil. If the soil around the plants in the slits feels dry, the barrel requires additional watering.
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