Monday, November 10, 2008

Rain Barrels

The sunny days have passed for the year.  The northwest corner of Oregon now enters its rainy season. If I cannot harvest the sun, then accepting what is offered, it is time to collect rain.

Earlier this year, I installed a rain barrel. It has worked well but it does not collect enough rainwater to keep up with the needs of our plants and pond during the summer.  The first barrel (link below) is a recycled pickle (or was it olives?) container. It's positioned behind a row of arborvitae, out of sight. 

To supplement this existing barrel, we have purchased two more. These new barrels are not tucked away; they are on the deck prominently in sight. The location was one of necessity, since that is where the only other usable downspout is located. The idea of pickle barrels on the deck was a contentious point. The compromise was that the barrels could be placed there, if they were "prettier".  To that end, I selected the "rain urns" that you see below.
The left urn is propped up on a half barrel that covers a stack of bricks so the half barrel does not bear the weight of the urn. The bricks alone would not have looked nice. The overflow of the left urn fills the right urn. The right urn's overflow then flows back into the downspout. 

One of the urn's features is the planter on top. We planted succulents in one and I plan in buying a hanging plant for the other urn in the spring. 

These urns sit just outside of the kitchen bay window so the plants are a nice touch in meeting the "prettier" requirement. 

These drain nicely (even the lower one) and are much more accessible than the first barrel. I do have two complaints though: 
1) the valves that came with it are mislabeled; on is closed and off is open
2) the hoses became stiff and "sunburned" after just a few days


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