Rain Barrels

hmkneppMay 10, 2007

I just wanted to pass on a deal I found and ask a question -

I had been doing research about rain barrels because of the runoff from my patio cover, and ended up making my own with moderate success. Two days later, I found a woman off of craigslist in Marion who makes them from recycled food grade 55 gallon black barrels and sells them for only $45 (with delivery in the San Antonio area) which was way cheaper than I found them elsewhere. They look a lot better than the ones I made and seem sturdier. I bought 3 and they filled last week when we got buckets of rain here. I'm watering all the patio plants and my hanging baskets this summer from these, I hope. Anyway, I think her ad is still up on craigslist, if anyone was looking for cheap rain barrels. I have her phone number, too - so if you want it, let me know.

My QUESTION is - anyone who uses rain barrels - what do you use to keep out the mosquitos? I bought some pesticide concentrate that is for birdbaths, but I'm kind of wary of using anything like that, especially in my goldfish container pond, even though it says its safe for fish. Anyone have any better alternatives?

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I use mosquito dunks in all my standing water & they are perfectly safe for fish & anything else in the pond.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mosquito dunk info

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 4:43PM
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Mosquito dunks work or you can throw a goldfish in there. They cost about 28cents at the Wally and when they get too big for the rain barrel you can add them to your pond. you can also buy 300 gal. (used) yogurt containers that have a screw on cap on top and a spigot at the bottom. They cost about $100 and I'm not sure where all they are available, but if you can track them down they're handy. We have three of them and are considering getting a couple more since it looks like it might be another long hot summer. Cheryl

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 5:15PM
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denisew(z8 TX)

I put the mosquito dunks in my two rain barrels. They need to be replaced occasionally. The package directions will tell you how often.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 7:54PM
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ahimsakid(North Austin)

Reasonable deal I think . . . I paid more for my "olive barrels" a while back. The two I have came drilled for lower faucet and an upper connection either for overflow or joining em together. They were bout $65 with the brass fittings.
My problem is that I want to use one of them in my front, to water my collection there but, face it, these aren't the most attractive of garden accoutremon, eh? My plan is place it up on a trestle-style tower bout 4" high and then fashion some iron ring holders to hold five 10' pots. Maybe if I cover it with sweet potato vines my missus will let me put my "trash" where I can use it best . . .

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 9:06PM
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debndal(8a DFW, TX)

An added benefit to putting a goldfish or 2 in the barrels besides eating mosquito larvae is after a while the dissolved fish poop in the water becomes nitrate and is a wonderful fertilizer, so you can organically fertilize your plants while watering. When I do water changes in my aquariums, I siphon the water out the window into a flowerbed, and that bed has the healthiest plants in my whole garden. The goldfish will do fine outside in the winter as long as the barrels are fairly deep, and mostly full, and the top of the water doesn't freeze solid.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 9:16PM
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I paid $29 for 55 gallon rain barrels from Orscheln that came fitted with a brass spigot and a removable insert in the screw-on cap. I replaced the insert with screen wire so don't have to worry about mosquitoes. They work great!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2007 at 10:28PM
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You're so lucky. I've been trying for about 2 months to find reasonably priced barrels that I can convert into rain barrels.

If you buy one already set up, they cost about $150.

The ones that are pre-made use screening to keep the mosquitos out. If you let the incoming water flow through the screen, it has the added benefit of keeping debris out of the barrel.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:10AM
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Is algae in rain barrels a problem?


    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:52AM
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I didn't even THINK of putting a few goldfish in there! Great idea! Oh - and ahimsakid - I prettified mine - I used the new plastic spray paint on one of them and painted it the same color as the trim of my house, and the other one, I picked up some bamboo curtain-y stuff (it came in sheets) at a garage sale somewhere, and made a wrap around for the other one, so it camoflages it!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:53AM
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Rain barrels can also be made of 32 gallon plastic trash cans. Place the can under a gutter downspout; cut an appropriate size hole in the top of the can; use dryer vent wired to the downspout and run down into the can about 3 inches. This is a great collection for roof water, and one-quarter of a mosquito dunk doughnut per barrel will take care of any mosquito problems. Be careful to not overhead water any plant that is a butterfly host--BT (the stuff in the dunk) is deadly to caterpillars. However, it sure helps keep loopers and other caterpillars off broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 11:40AM
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chena(z8 Texas)

I got some 55 gallon barrles from the Ranch Style Bean place there in FTW.. for free I have had them for about 7 yrs.. I am just getting to the point of have to replace a few ..Out here you can usually find them ofr about $10 w/lid but no spicket.... The dunks work pretty good I never thought to use screen.. Great tip!!! Thanks

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 12:01PM
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Rumbum - algae isn't a problem if you keep it shaded - a lid is good for that. Though I suspect goldfish help with algae too.

Chena - whats ofr? I've tried to find business that have them, but have no luck at getting any. I'm willing to pay $30 or so if they are regular barrels (ie, no spigot, etc). I can put in a spigot and overflow with no problem. I'd really like to find 3 for myself and I have 2 friends that want some too.

I may try to rig a large trash can. The only problem I can forsee with that is keeping it in the proper shape.

I LOVE the bamboo curtain idea - I'm stealing it.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 6:04PM
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chena(z8 Texas)

LOL..eventfarm.. That would be FAT FINGERS!!! should have been for...
I live WAY out in the country.. I have to get out on Sat! I will take Ranger Hwy and see if that guy is still there He has always had a bunch.. If so I will gladly pick some up..But you have to come get them..LOL I don't deliver!!!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 6:31PM
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Please share the contact information for the rain barrels in Marion! I am in NB, and it's dry as a bone here- I want to be prepared for the next dry spell. Thanks for the great information!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2009 at 9:46PM
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