I am just about done with the delicate greens of the spring, as only my kale and chard are remaining. The tomatoes are on the verge of ripeness and the vines are taller than me (I’m 5′ 9″), cucumbers are just about to take over my fridge, the summer squash are ready to rock, and I even have a few melon and pumpkins lurking in the shadows.
I can attribute my bountiful garden to four things:
1. Composted chicken poo.
2. Crop rotation. (I never plant the same thing in the same spot the following year)
3. Companion planting. (Google it)
4. Watering from a rain barrel.
A few years ago John built me my first rain barrel (TUTORIAL HERE), then that stud muffin built me several more for Valentine’s Day that same year. Now we have a fleet of rain barrels that collect rain water from our Eastern Iowa home, allowing us to avoid watering the garden with city water.
(You know, that city water that is treated and not always great for our bodies, let alone our plants…)
If you live in the city, a rain barrel is a cost effective way to water your garden. The series of rain barrels in my backyard serves as the sole watering system for my garden. One 50-gallon barrel will water my 6 raised beds and most of my edible landscaping. I use a little sump pump that John gifted me for Dog Mother’s Day 🙂 and a nice, long non-kink hose to water my garden.
I simply hook the sump pump up to the spigot and plug in the pump using an extension cord from John’s garage. It’s kind of cumbersome at first, but quick and efficient now that I have a system down. You could probably get by without a sump pump if you have gravity on your side. In our uber-flat backyard, a sump pump is essential.
When watering your garden – from a rain barrel another source – it’s important to remember these tips:
- always water at the base of a plant
- water early in the morning or later in the evening
- water about every other day
- watch the weather so you avoid watering right before it rains
Do you have a rain barrel? A cistern? Tell me about water collection in your area!