The people at Gardensupermart.com sent me a rain barrel to test last month. I’d been contemplating such a thing for a while now; here in Eureka we get no rainfall for about six months, and it would be nice to capture some of the winter downpour and use it later. The only thing that held me back was the way they looked: as you all know by now, my garden doesn’t have much of a design scheme, but putting a bunch of glorified garbage cans under the downspouts didn’t seem like it would help pull things together.
So when they offered to send me this curvy, faux terra cotta Cascata Rain Barrel, I agreed to make the big sacrifice and test-drive it in my garden.
Here it is, fresh off the truck, on the day it arrived. There’s about ten minutes’ worth of assembly involved, and that’s only if you have trouble locating a screwdriver. Attach the spigot and the hose, and you’re done.
And here it is in my garden. You’ll notice that I haven’t yet attached it to the downspout. That’s going to involve more tools, and there’s not a big rush since we probably won’t see any rain until October. After I’ve been through a rainy season, I’ll report back. Meanwhile, I filled it up with water from the garden hose, and used that to irrigate this section of the
garden, which doesn’t otherwise get much water in the summer.
I know it sounds silly to fill up a rain barrel with something other than rain, but hey, it let me test the whole thing out to make sure I assembled it right, and besides, there’s something to be said for having any sort of water storage device in a section of the garden that I don’t get to very often with the hose.
The barrel holds 65 gallons, and it’s fitted with a screen and a planter on top. (I haven’t planted anything in the planter yet, but more to come on that, too.) It’s made in Canada of molded plastic, and I was pleased to find out that it does include some recycled plastic — the plant where it is manufactured reuses and recycles its own waste, along with defects or returns. (I’d like it even better if it was 100% recycled or made of some other waste product that would otherwise end up in the landfill. For instance, my Can O Worms worm bin, made out of recycled tires, is over ten years old now and in perfect shape.)
So far, so good. I am loving the way it looks. If I thought they would capture enough rainfall without being connected to a downspout, I would be tempted to just place them around the garden, with annuals growing out of the top, as a kind of functional decoration. They’re priced at about $250 which, as I look around online, is about the same price as any number of much uglier rain barrels.
What do you think? Anybody else tried one? Any other rain barrel experiences, homemade or store-bought?Posted by Amy Stewart on June 19, 2008 at 5:23 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.