Saving rainwater to use during dry periods is an ancient practice that is again becoming popular. With the rising price of municipal water and drough restrictions becoming common across much of the country during summer months, more and more homeowners are turning to rain barrels to collect rainwater. Rain is a naturally soft water and devoid of minerals, chlorine, fluoride, and other chemicals. It is usually collected from the roofs of houses and picks up very little contamination when it falls.
You can harvest a surprisingly large amount of rainwater from your gutters. Instead of letting the water flow down your driveway and into a storm drain, you can collect it. Just a small amount of rain of less than half an inch can easily fill up a 50 gallon rain barrel. If you use a rain barrel at each downspout, you can quickly start to collect enough to keep your flower beds, garden or houseplants well watered. Another reason for harvesting rainwater is to help your trees and plants. A lot of old theories about trees and plants have been disproved in the last couple of decades. Research has shown professional arborists and gardeners the value of an organic soil environment for trees and other kinds of plants.
Trees and plants rely on fungus, bacteria, and nematodes to help them absorb the minerals and nutrients they need. As an example, trees and plants depend on a fungal root system called mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae attaches itself to tree and plant root hairs and extends the root hair system. Mycorrhizae uses some of the plant's energy, but provides the plant with minerals it can't otherwise absorb. In healthy soil, the mycorrhizae of one tree connects with mycorrhizae of other similar trees.
Our garden doesn't consist of this plant and that plant, but a vast growing environment. Trees and plants have an efficient immune system that allows them to fend off diseases and other invaders as long as they have a healthy soil environment and aren't stressed by other factors. Chemical fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, and drought disrupt the balance and harmony of the soil. Trees and plants are weakened and disease takes over. The chemicals and hard water from many of our municipal water systems also add to the imbalance of the soil. Watering with soft rainwater will indeed make your garden smile. For more information about using rain barrels and harvesting rainwater, visit Rain Barrel Guide
50 gallon rain barrel
60 gallon rain barrel
See all of the rain barrels here