Inexpensive rain barrel?

kimka(Zone 6B)February 19, 2009

Anybody know of a good source for inexpensive rain barrels?

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Look for a sausage factory. They have heavy plastic barrels with lids if you like. About 3.50 to 5.00. Steve in Baltimore County.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 5:02PM
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avoirgold(z7 MD)

Below is an excerpt from this web-site:

I haven't tried it myself, but I remembered reading about making your own.


Buy a Rain Barrel Ready-made from an Organization
Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center, Millersville Maryland, 410-222-3822, ask for Steve Barry or Darren Rickwood. You can order a rain barrel for $40 that is made by students at this organization. This is where I got our rain barrel. Arlington Echo is about 45 minutes away -- just this side of Annapolis (kind of near where the Maryland Renaissance Festival is held). Arlington Echo also has workshops where you can make your own rain barrel with their supplies and it costs a little less. These rain barrels are made out of recycled barrels that they get from a Pepsi factory in Baltimore (read below if you want to know more about that).

Another organization that makes and sells rain barrels is the Scott Key Center in Frederick, Maryland. These are more expensive than Arlington Echo's, but they seem to be higher quality.

Make Your Own Rain Barrel!
First, you'll need the barrel. When I saw the barrels at Arlington Echo, I knew I could make one myself, if I just knew where to get the Pepsi barrels! I called every Pepsi plant from Richmond to Baltimore and found that there are two plants that sell the empty barrels within a reasonable driving distance. One is in Baltimore and one is in Hyattsville, somewhat near the National Arboretum. Although I haven't done this yet, here is the information I have:

Baltimore Pepsi Plant - Barrels are $5 each. 1650 Union Ave, Baltimore. Charlie Dickerson, 410.554.7785.

Hyattsville Pepsi Plant - Barrels are $10 each. Howard Turk, Recycling Coordinator, 301.583.7260 or 301.322.7000

It's important to note that your barrel must be food-grade, since any other type might have held chemicals that would make the rain barrel contaminate the soil and water. After you have your empty barrel(s), you can follow these instructions to transform your plain old Pepsi barrel into a rain barrel, complete with mosquito screen.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 2:49PM
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You go, Jen! Phone numbers for the plant and everything. Just what I needed!

Diana Lynn

PS - Just looked up that Chelone (Turtlehead) seed I got from you. Did you know that one type of turtlehead (I forget which) is the ONLY host plant for the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly? They are our state insect and they are also in danger of dying out. Another reason to grow Chelone!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:55PM
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I just attended the Master Gardener's Mini-Conference at Derwood today, and one of the presenters had mentioned that Brookside Gardens will be holding a "Make & Take Rain Barrels" workshop Friday, April 3rd from 10am - 1pm & Saturday, April 4th, 2009 from 10:00am - 1pm. Registration fee is $10, and this includes the rain barrel parts & instructions.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 10:40PM
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kimka(Zone 6B)

Thanks so much everyone.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 8:40AM
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CHEVERLY Pepsi Plant - Barrels are $10 each. Howard Turk, Recycling Coordinator, 301-341-2326 or 301.322.7000

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:54PM
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maders(Zone 7)

I just checked and Arlington Echo's are 80 not 40.00

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 3:48PM
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oogy4plants(6B MD)

White turtlehead, Chelone glabra, is the only host plant for the endangered Baltimore checkerspot butterfly. I have some in my new butterfly garden. There are only a few wetland areas around where the butterflies are breeding. I don't know if they'll visit me, but I'm ready. Pipevine swallowtails managed to find my tiny pipevine plants last year. I've been involved in a county program to grow turtlehead and plant it in wetlands where they are.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 8:12PM
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lynnt(Z7 MD)

I have had a white food-grade barrel that I brought home from a plant swap sitting in the shade in my back yard for several years -- if someone wants to take it and fulfill its ambitions of being a real rainbarrel, you'd be welcome to it.

Does anyone know the name of a good company to do gutter modifications in MD near the DC beltway? I bought myself a 330-gal tank from Craigslist last fall but can't find anybody reliable to modify the gutters and downspouts to connect the thing up. All this beautiful rain and my new tank sits empty!


    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 12:40PM
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subyz(z7 VA)

Lynn, Did you need to move a downspout to where you want to place your rain collection tank? If not, I simply removed the downspout, placed the rainbarrel under the downspout and then cut off the downspout to end a few inches above where my barrel was placed. Remember that since it's probably going to be gravity fed, you will need to raise the barrel high enough to get pressure from a hose or at least for your watering can to be placed under the spigot. I originally placed mine on a single layer of cement blocks but found it wasn't high enough, so I added another layer of blocks. It works adequately now - but another 8 inches wouldn't be too many. I can either use a hose or place a watering can under the spigot.
Unfastening the straps that held the downspout just required a socket driver or even a screwdriver and then you can cut off the downspout with a hacksaw or jigsaw. It was extremely easy.
My next project is to place a rainbarrel just below the roof of my gardening shed and make a gravity fed sink! LOL! Sue

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 5:00AM
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scausey(z6/7 MD)

One rain barrel will fill up very quickly -- it's a good idea to have an overflow spout at the top and connect a soaker hose to it. Montgomery County had a workshop at the Isaak Walton League where we put the barrels together; they had a really good presentation on run-off management and gave the attendees the finished barrels. They also included a fitted screen insert for the top so that adult mosquitos can not get out. Thanks for the info on how to get another barrel!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 4:12PM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

I recycled an old trash can into a rain barrel. It had sprung a leak in the bottom, so I lined it with a heavy duty trash bag, cut a big hole in the trash can lid with a reciprocating saw, covered the top of the can with nylon door screen, then fastened the lid back onto the can over the screen. It ain't purdy, but it's working. It's already 2/3 full of water from the gutter overflowing during last week's rain.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 12:43AM
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