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Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Posted by Strawberryhill 5a IL (My Page) on
Thu, May 29, 14 at 14:15

I dug up 4 dead roses, killed by zone 5a (down to -30 below zero last winter). I notice the soil there turned rock-hard clay ... I watered them the most last year. Calcium hydroxide in tap water turned my soil into cement, thus roots were destroyed easily when frozen. My tap water is alkaline, pH 8. From eHow: "Calcium hydroxide is used in cement. In addition, calcium hydroxide is used in treating sewage, water, and industrial wastes."

The roses which I rarely water ... the soil there is loamy and fluffy. They got rain water, pH 5.6, and survived winter without protection. I should had bought rain barrels to collect rain water. pH of rain water is 5.6 & roses bloom and root best with acidic water. Health food store sells citric acid for sprouting, to counter-act alkaline tap water.

So glad I bought a rain barrel at 65 gallons for $79 at Sam's Club, see below. It leaked the 1st time using, so we'll return it.

Below is a place to order 50 gallon Terra Cotta Snap Lid Rain Barrel, for $79.99 with free shipping, also looks nice.

Here is a link that might be useful: Terra Cotta rain barrel free shipping for $79.99

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Wed, Jun 4, 14 at 11:37


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

My neighbor paid the same price for a better-quality barrel than mine. He bought it from the county. There's a 6 feet flex-hose that extends out, plus an adapter to hook a garden hose below.

My neighbor told me that his black rain barrel (with a smaller lid on top) was a pain to clean before winter. So the biggest lid like a garbage can (Menard's) is the best design. Below is my neighbor's black rain barrel, it's sturdy & no leaks for 10 years, but the lid is too small.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Jun 2, 14 at 9:40


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Just a quick heads-up that many trashcans are manufactured with a drainage hole(s) in the bottom. Make sure you do not get one with a hole in it.

Carol in Jacksonville


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

I like my neighbor's rain barrel better than mine, because his top has a larger screen-in surface to collect water. He used a rectangular hand-saw to chop off the pipe, so the barrel fits under. Some people elevate the barrel with bricks (at least 10"), to improve water-flow from the faucet underneath.

In the winter he re-hooked the chopped-off pipe, and put the rain-barrel inside the house. He said there's a thick layer of dust & sediment at the bottom of the barrel, which needs to be cleaned-out yearly.


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Thank you, Carol, for the tip. The last time I went shopping for garbage cans were decade-ago. They all collect water, but things might be different now.

The advantage of rain water, at pH 5.6, is it unlocks nutrients in soil, versus calcium hydroxide in tap water which is unstable, and binds with potassium & trace elements, making them less available to plants. During the summer drought, I get very few blooms, unless I lower the pH of tap-water with sulfate of potash.

Below is Marie Pavie, drought and disease-resistant, plus almost thornless (upper stems are smooth, a few prickles at the base). I rarely water that one. It's very hardy & bloom tons with rain water. Marie Daly is a sport of Marie Pavie, but with pink blooms & outstanding scent. The picture below is Marie Pavie rose, taken in my garden today, May 29. It has a floral-musk scent that perfumes my patio.


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Seaweed also has a rain barrel, but her tap water is less alkaline than mine. There's a study that showed the blueness of flowers is enhanced by lowering the pH. That's why Seaweed's blue roses look so good. Below are roses from Seaweed's garden in CA:

"Cut too early Nicole looks like a baby, Elle is good looking with pink-apricot color. Annie L. McDowell rose and Royal Amethyst on top, just a pretty sight!"


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Here's another bouquet from Seaweed's garden in southern CA, showing vibrant colors from her use of fish emulsion and chicken manure (has trace elements that enhance colors).

From top, left to right, Mr Lincoln, next to Fragrant Plum, middle three, Gold Glow, Rose de Rescht and Rock & Roll, bottom right Hot Cocoa:


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

With my tap water pH of 8, roses don't bloom much, and if they do, the colors are dull. My roses get vivid colors like Seaweed's above pics. if given rain water, pH 5.6.

I went out to buy another rain barrel from Menards, for $69. It's smaller than Sam's club, but it has a lid on top, which can be opened, to clean the inside of barrel from sediments. The faucet at bottom has a bigger hole, so water flow is faster. It has shut off valve. I think it's a better-designed & lighter than Sam's club. I also looked at the rain barrel from Home Depot & read the reviews of how the faucet is hard to install ... and the hole is too small.

See picture below of 52 gallon-rain-barrel from Menards for $69.99. It took my husband exactly 15 min. to stack up the bricks ($2.49 each), then saw off the gutter-pipe with a hand-saw, and re-hook the curved-part at the end. They also sell plastic flexi-curved section for $3, to attach at the bottom of the saw-off pipe.


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Below is a close-up of the faucet of the Menards' rain barrel (52 gallons for $69.99) .. where I attached a 6 feet hose extension, water flow is very good. But the water flowed slower through a longer 25 feet hose. The water flow is strongest at the upper overflow hole, which another hose can be screwed on.

My basement is much drier, after I installed 3 rain barrels and direct water AWAY from the house.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 11:40


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

No, they don't all collect water. I had a new hot water heater installed this past week. When draining the old one, I grabbed a new, empty trash can in the garage to collect the water. I wanted to use the water instead of wasting it, watching it all run down the driveway. I put the end of the hose in the garbage can... and about 5 minutes later, I noticed that water was still running down the driveway! Well surprise, surprise, there is a pre-drilled hole in the bottom. The can is new from Walmart - I assure you I didn't drill the hole myself.

Carol


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Below is the top part of the Menards' rain barrel, the top lid can be taken off to wash the debris off. It's a smart design. The entire barrel is light-weight like a plastic garbage can, my husband could fit that easily into his small car (with a hatch-back).

The below rain barrel comes with 3 holes: One upper hole for overflow, which a hose can be screw on, to direct excess rain to elsewhere. A second upper hole has a cap on. The 3rd lowest hole has a faucet where a hose can be attached to.

I find that a soaker-hose doesn't work, since it requires water pressure to work ... and rain barrel doesn't have enough water pressure. What's best is less than 25 feet hose, such as 10, 15, or 20 feet hose .. where the water flow is decent. I also attached a 6 feet hose with a shut-off valve to the lowest faucet ... so I use the shut-off valve on the 6'-hose, to lessen wear & tear on the barrel's faucet.

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 11:50


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Thank you, Carol for the info. & much appreciated. I'm SO GLAD that I didn't buy any garbage can from nearby Walmart. My last shopping trip for garbage was decade-ago from Home Depot, both models collect water.

Here's a recent review Jan. 14, 2014 for Rubbermaid Roughneck 32-gallon garbage can for $14.97 at Home Depot ... that's what I plan to buy to collect run-off water from my Sam's club rain-barrel:

"I use this for water collection and storage in my backyard. I replaced the top with a few layers of black landscaping cloth, which admits water, but not algae supporting light.

Might not be food grade, but this is for the plants. At any rate, it'll still be much safer to drink and bathe with than water tainted by a recent chemical spill near Charleston, WV."

Here is a link that might be useful: Home Depot Rubbermaid Roughneck trash can


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Predfern, a Ph.D. in Quantum Chemistry in my Chicagoland, sent me this link on the difference between calcium carbonate and calcium hydroxide in tap water. Here's an excerpt from the below link:

"The calcium carbonate behaves like fine-grained limestone, a natural material that buffers groundwater pH and has a low solubility, causing water hardness. Calcium hydroxide has a higher solubility and pH .... Calcium hydroxide reacts with a wide variety of finely divided siliceous materials (pozzolans) to form cement compounds ... Mixing a lime material with a soil can start the pozzolanic reactions. This will convert the clays (and other pozzolanic materials) in the soil to a cement type compound. "

*** From Straw: That's why rain water, at pH 5.6, is much better for plants than my tap water at pH 8 with calcium hydroxide added. Below is a close-up of the faucet in my Menards' rain barrel, which a hose can be attached to:

Here is a link that might be useful: Environmental effects of lime

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 11:44


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Very nice! I've always wanted to have a rain barrel. I always put different containers to collect rain whenever we are due for a good rain.


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Hi Mas: My husband would love to make his own rain-barrel .. he's mechanically-gifted. Except we live in the suburbs, must have perfect lawn & garden, and can't have trash-cans around.

But if I live in the country, I would love to make rain-barrel from trash can, like the 50-gallon trash-can with wheels at Menards for $24.99. There are many sites on how to make your rain-barrels, but I find the below slide-show has the easiest instruction:

Here is a link that might be useful: Slide-show on how to make your own rain-barrel


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

For a reddish rain barrel on Amazon, see link below. One of the reviewer described well on how to use a rain-barrel:

http://www.amazon.com/Upcycle-Gallon-Terra-Cotta-Rain-Barrel/dp/B005U6EU1Y

"Kenneth L. Willitts says:

It has three outlets, two of them one at the top and the other at the bottom are for hose connection. The other outlet is at the bottom and is fitted with a spigot, which can be shut or open and also has the ability to be connected to a hose. I keep the very top outlet connected to a soaker hose that goes into my garden, so if there is an overflow, it will go into the garden. I have three of theses and they are very easy to connect to any gutter system. The other important thing to consider and it is a good and bad problem, it has a nice screen on the top to keep dirty and trash out of the tank, but if you have heavy foliage the trash can block the screen, so about one a month, I just brush off the top and that solve that problem. Hope this helps. PS by the way if you were to connect two or more, use the top outlet connected with a standard hose with two female adapters, if you need help let me know. Ken"

See below link for a reddish rain-barrel different from Amazon, it's 50 gallon Terra Cotta Snap Lid Rain Barrel, sold for $79.95, free shipping.

Here is a link that might be useful: 50 gallon Terra Cotta Snap Lid Rain Barrel

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Mon, Jun 2, 14 at 11:28


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

It rained for less than an hour today, but it half-filled the Menard's rain-barrel. I hooked a 6' faucet extension (with a shut-off valve) to the bottom of Menard's rain-barrel. The water-flow was very good to the nearby Golden Celebration rose. Bought 3 rain-barrels for $69 each from Menards, very happy with them .. had to return Sam's club rain barrel due to leaking.

See link below for 6 feet faucet extension for $10 at Menards. Picture below shows the 6 feet extension to my Golden Celebration bush .. it has a shut-off knob, and I can hook another long hose to it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Faucet Extension Kit with shut-off valve

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 11:34


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RE: Rain Barrels & garden tips & lessons learned?

Walmart sells a large selection of rain barrels, many are free shipping. There's Little Tykes rain barrel, sold for $79 at Walmart. That's DIFFERENT from the product sold for higher price at Little Tykes website, improved design with a lid that can be opened to clean out bottom sediments, plus an upper place to attach a longer hose, for overflow.

http://www.littletikes.com/home+garden/tuff-tikes-rain-barrel-sandstone/invt/618642

Here is a link that might be useful: Rain barrels at Walmart, free shipping

This post was edited by Strawberryhill on Sun, Jun 8, 14 at 12:04


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