Two things my girls have enjoyed doing this Spring: playing in the rain and helping me start the garden. The perfect activity for combining these twoo things is collecting rainwater! With how dry it can be here in Utah we need to save all the water we can. Rainwater can reduce the reliance on city water and save resources, especially as water ordinances and restrictions tighten and water becomes more scarce. Collecting rainwater for your spring/summer garden is the perfect solution and a fun experience for your kids. It is also a great way to teach your children water conservation–and you’ll enjoy the lower water bills!
If you have a small garden like mine (we just have an herb and salsa garden) you can have the children place their buckets and pails outside when you know a rainstorm is coming. This will ensure you have enough water for a couple of weeks.
A popular option is to buy barrels and use diverted gutter water to fill them, but to get more storage for less money you can make your own system. You can find usable barrels at a variety of places or use old whiskey barrels or reconditioned food grade plastic barrels. You can also look under “Containers or Barrels–Used” in your local yellow pages. One word of caution: An open barrel can attract bugs and is a safety hazard. Put a tight-fitting screen over it and never leave children unsupervised. You can also ask at your local gardening center about “mosquito doughnuts” if you are worried about the barrel becoming a place for mosquito breeding grounds. A “mosquito doughnut” will quickly take care of the problem.
Collected rainwater can be used to do other things besides watering the garden. Use it to water your lawn, do laundry, fill decorative ponds and family pools, water plants and even flush toilets! Collecting rainwater is a great way to recycle and reuse one of our most important natural resources!