04 July 2009

We have huge jugs

I wonder how many non-garden seeking hits this title will produce.

We made the first major step towards a new rain harvester. About a mile or so out of town is a Coca Cola bottling plant whose syrup comes in these beautiful 55-gallon plastic drums. They charge $10 a barrel to compensate the amount they lose from not having them recycled. We bought five.

The plan is to install the five barrels under the back deck which is just a few feet from the garden. To get the water from the harvester we'll have to rely on a small pump instead of gravity, but already we are devising a way to make the pump run on solar energy. I don't know, we'll see what happens when it happens. We're pretty stoked and we'll be sure to keep you posted.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July. Cheers.


Christina said...

Very cool. I wonder if the brewery I pass on the way to work sells any old jugs or barrels. Thanks for the great idea!

Robert said...

How do you plan on using the water? If it's just with a soaker hose, building a sturdy bench to sit the barrels on (thus elevating them a couple feet) should give you enough water pressure at ground level that you wouldn't need a pump. Then you also have some storage space under the bench.

Robert said...

Never mind. Read your post again after hitting submit. "under the back deck".

Condo Blues said...

Great Idea! I like that the barrels to be are white, if I can find some like that maybe I can convince my HOA that they'd be OK because they'd go with the white trim on my condo.

I like the idea of using a solar powered pump, but won't it be unusable when it rains and you want the pump to move the rainwater into the barrels?

Kelly said...

Hey Christina,

If the brewery is big enough, their hops and other ingredients should come in barrels. The one we have were used to transport liquid so the tops are sealed shut with two large screw caps for access. The barrels with removable tops are nice, because they easy to clean.

Howdy Robert,

Hmm. There may still be enough pressure for soaker hoses to work. My only concern would be the bed that is furthest out. I haven't talked to Meg about it yet, but a drip system might actually be our best bet if we decide to not water by hand. We'll be sure to keep you posted.

Hello CB,

The pump will actually be for the removal of the water from the barrels to the garden. The harvester will fill just like any other rain barrel, with good ol' gravity.

Good luck with the HOA. An option you may have would be to build a wooden screen to box in the barrel. I think people do something similar to hide their central air system.

Stephanie said...

Good luck, though my barrel set up isnt the greatest or prettiest it works well and we love it.

Carl Houlihan said...

If you're not likely to need to pump more than 50 gallons a day, there may be a better way. You may be able to use your pump better if you have a suitable place, maybe near the deck, where you can put a single barrel higher than the level of the garden. Pump into that barrel, and water the garden from that barrel. Then you can have 50 gallons which gravity can deliver when you want it. Solar power or a slow pump can fill the delivery barrel at a much slower pace than a pump which would have to pressurize a hose to the garden. Then you can pump when the sun shines rather than only water the garden when the sun shines.