This 100-gallon Rain Barrel
has a mosquito-proof lid
and a self-siphoning faucet
to fill your sprinkling can.
It is filled from the white downspout
of a nearby roof.
An inexpensive 55-gallon Barrel
will do just as well.
Several will do even better.
Unless you get your water from
a spring, there is much to be said for Rain Water. And if your spigot
that recycled chlorinated stuff, there's even more to be said. And if you have a Water Meter. Enough said !
absent of many minerals which clog greenhouse misters, and may
the need for costly filtering. A minimal pump can pressurize your
system. An inexpensive Fountain Pump may be adequate for Drip-irrigation.
If your Greenhouse or Garden
are close to a roof with a downspout, all you need is a barrel to store
the rain water. A window screen over the barrel hole will admit rain but not
debris and mosquitoes. Why stop at one barrel?
Inverted "U"-shaped Siphons
will automatically fill neighboring barrels to the same level. Removing
water from any barrel will refill it from neighboring barrels. They can
be filled or drained in any order. Overflow can be diverted to your
bird bath or fountain.
Siphons can be made from
plastic pipe with elbows secured to prevent air penetration which would
render them ineffective. The pipe ends are cut off at an angle to
elevate the opening above sediment. The Tap should be high enough to get a container under it, but the
it is, the less water will be available to siphon out.
are filled with water and very quickly inverted into the two Barrels.
This works easiest if one Barrel is full and the other empty. A piece
of paper towel
loosely plugging the ends may also be helpful. Hold them with your
fingers, as you quickly invert the Siphon. They will be washed out by
the moving water.
Barrels are much easier to monitor if they are transparent or opaque. Gallons markings are a plus. If you don't have see-through Barrels, a
Floating Gauge(plastic Water Bottle + 1/4" wood Dowel) can be helpful. Siphons
can also be made from 8-foot lengths of 5/8" Garden Hose. It is
cheaper, quicker, and MUCH easier to prime because it's flexible.
With a piece of Garden Hose,
1 - Hold both ends in one hand.
2 - Fill them with water.
3 - Plug one end with your finger.
4 - Quickly plunge the other end into the full barrel.
5 - Quickly lower the plugged end to the ground.
6 - Allow a quart of water to drain out(with air).
7 - Stop the draining water with your finger.
8 - Quickly insert the end into the bottom of the empty Barrel.
9 - If the Barrel does not start to fill, go back to step 1.
Speed is your friend. Air is your enemy.
that Barrels should all have their tops even, so they all fill and
overflow at the same time. Unless you want overflow to irrigate a certain
area, then that Barrel top should be one inch lower than the others.
can be far apart. A Garden Hose can be used for a Siphon, being sure
that all air is removed from it. If air gets into your Siphons, they
will quit working. Also make sure it is not pinched shut where it hangs
over hard objects, like the edges of Barrels. We sell an automatic Siphon Valve HERE.
Your Barrel should be raised as high as possible to increase water pressure when you use a Garden Hose to siphon water
from the Barrel. A stiff wire inserted inside the Hose will allow you
to create a gentle curvature out of the Barrel, without kinking the
Hose which would minimize water flow.
larger diameter a Siphon is, the more water it will move, but the
harder it is to get initial flow started. The longer a Garden Hose is,
the more resistance to water flow is created by resistance and
turbulence, and the less flow is realized.
Of course, the simplest method is dipping the water out with a Bucket. In Winter you may have to add some
that compresses when the water freezes, to prevent damage to the
Or you may prefer to empty them, depending on the severity of your climate.
To fill a Sprinkling Can, submerge it with the Spout facing up.
This allows air to escape without gurgling and splashing.
It also skims floating debris from the surface.
you catch Rain Water for drinking, a row of Barrels will capture most
debris before it reaches the last Barrel. Boiling before drinking is
highly recommended, as is sterilizing the Barrels with Chlorine or a
similar disinfectant. Distilling it is an option.
If your area gets occasional downpours, rather than
all-day rains, the circular pattern on the right will equalize
Barrels quicker than a row, avoiding sudden overflow of the Mother Barrel.
You also have the option of connecting the barrels with plumbing fittings and garden hose.
But fittings may be expensive and hard to find, and are prone to leak.
Barrels with closed tops or lids are preferred to keep out debris and Mosquitoes.