Making A Rain Barrel For Your Garden


Some of the best tasting super foods are the ones you grow yourself.  Using organic soil with ORMUS-rich probiotics, harvesting rain water, and eating as soon as the food is picked makes for a densely nutritious and delicious feast in your own backyard.

If you’ve got room for a backyard garden, you may be interested in these simple steps for building your own rain barrel in order to catch the rain from your roof.  Rain water is the best water to use on your garden since it doesn’t contain any chemical residues (from city tap waters) or over-concentration of minerals (often the case with well water).  And it’s free! 🙂

I’ll talk more about raised garden beds, ORMUS probiotics and other backyard gardening ideas later.  For now, here are the steps I used to make my own rain barrel with photos of my process and thanks to the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension program (and specifically Dottie Woodson) for the starter barrel and instructions.

Locking Nut for the Faucet

Locking Nut for the Faucet

Materials & Tools Needed to Make Your Own Rain Barrel

  • 55 Gallon Barrel … you can find these on craigslist and at local restaurants who receive foods in bulk.  Make sure it has only ever been used for food (not chemicals).  Opaque is best.  A removable lid will give you the most options, but if you get one without a removable lid, just skip the 3/4 inch locking nut below
  • 3/4 inch outdoor hose bib faucet (male end)
  • 3/4 inch locking nut (make sure it fits on the end of the faucet … we found this in the electrical section of the hardware store)
  • 1 inch hole saw that fits on your Drill
  • 1" Hole Saw

    1" Hole Saw

    (Optional) 6 inch hole saw or portable jig saw used to cut an opening on the lid

  • Window screening – either 8 inch round piece to cover the 6 inch hole on the lid or enough to cover the whole top of the barrel (keeps the bugs out)
  • Silicone sealer caulk
  • Caulking Gun (unless the caulk you got applies without one, like a small tube’s worth)
  • 9 Cinder Blocks … works best for water pressure and easy access to the faucet

Steps for Making a Rain Barrel

  1. Wash the barrel if there’s any remaining food residue from its previous use
  2. Make the Water Outlet … Use the 1″ hole saw to drill a hole at the lowest flat part of the barrel (usually about 4 inches up from the bottom since most barrels have a slight curve at the base).
  3. Thread the hose bib faucet into the hole and put a little caulk on it as you thread it into the hole.
  4. Put the locking nut on the faucet from the inside of the barrel.  If you don’t have a removable lid, skip this step.  Let the caulk dry for 24 hours before filling with water.
  5. If your rain barrel has a removable lid you can replace the lid with the window screening (clamp it on with the previous lid’s closing ring).  You definitely want to keep debris and bugs out of the water lest you have a mosquito breeding ground.
  6. If your rain barrel doesn’t have a removable lid or you want to reduce the size of the hole for the gutter water to flow into, use the 6 inch hole saw to cut a hole in the lid.  Place caulk around the hole and press the window screening onto the caulk to secure it over the hole.  (No photos of this step since ours came pre-made).
  7. Set the cinder blocks in a tripod formation: 3 blocks as a triangular base and 3 blocks high.  The higher your rain barrel the better the water pressure will be (and the easier it is to access the faucet).
  8. Set your rain barrel on top of the cinder blocks so that it has a solid base and the faucet is easy to access.  You can connect your first rain barrel to your downspout with flexible tubing (available from a hardware store).  You can then connect additional rain barrels with a Y faucet split, short hose and quick-connect hose connectors (to manage getting the female end of the hose connected to the female end of faucet).  As rain comes down the gutter into the first barrel, the 2nd barrel will fill at the same time through the short hose (make sure all the relevant faucets are open).  Since the 2nd barrel fills through the hose from the first, you won’t need any openings and can keep the lid solid.  I was told a single gutter spout won’t handle more than 3 rain barrels, but I haven’t tested that out yet. 🙂
  9. Once your rain barrel is set up, keep the top cleaned off of debris and enjoy using the free water.  If you get more rain than your barrel(s) can handle, the first barrel will simply overflow down the sides of the barrel – you shouldn’t need an overflow spout or anything special to keep the soil around it from washing away since it will be a gentle overflow.

Photos of the Process:

Drilling the Water Outlet Hole

Drilling the Water Outlet Hole

Starting the Water Outlet Hole

Starting the Water Outlet Hole

Threading the Faucet

Threading the Faucet

Caulking the Faucet

Caulking the Faucet

Putting the Locking Nut On the Inside of the Faucet

Putting the Locking Nut On the Inside of the Faucet

Screened Opening

Screened Opening

cinder blocks setup

Cinder Blocks Setup

rain barrels completed

Rain Barrels Completed

 

 

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