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Rain barrels are an excellent way to capture and save water for later use.
In my opinion, rainwater is optimal for watering plants. After a good rain the plants always seem to perk up, and I have noticed that plants in my greenhouse that receive only serviced water do not perform as well as those that get regular watering from rainfall.
Another important and often overlooked use of rain barrels is to create a water source in an out-of-the-way area. If a part of the garden is beyond the reach of the hose, consider installing a small roof and rain barrel.
Using rainwater is a good environmental choice: the standard rain barrel holds 45 gallons, so if you fill and use the water 20 times a year, you’ll reduce your water usage by 900 gallons. The savings on the water meter will pay for the set-up in no time. And collecting water is not just of benefit in the summer; you can use it all winter in the greenhouse, for indoor plants, for young seedlings or for a myriad of household tasks.
Check out rain barrels at your local garden hardware supplier. The new ones are very reasonable, pleasant in appearance and easy to hook up. Start with one, then add more as you need them and enjoy the benefits and savings of capturing and recycling rainwater.