You have heard of rain water harvesting and the growing trend of installing rain barrels at down spouts around your home. I have been reading an excellent book on the broader subject of collecting rain and a variety of ways to keep it on your land. The author Brad Lancaster writes about how to turn water scarcity into water abundance. Here in Houston we nearly back to our normal rain fall and with just a few rain barrels we can get through most of the dry spells. I noticed how much the plants suffered in the drought when we had to water them with the treated city water. Now the rising cost of water from the city water supply and then added drainage fees is making collecting rain water a good way to save money. For those that live in low rain fall areas or are suffering through a drought, collecting rain water and keeping it is becoming more and more important to sustaining the landscape.

rain water harvestingThis book is a complete guide on how to design and implementing a sustainable water harvesting systems on your property whether it is a residential home or a ranch or farm. He gives complete information on an array of methods for a variety of situations, from rain gardens, to large collection tanks, re-using gray water and more.  He talks about flood control using plants. He goes further with ideas of using the sun and wind to generate on site power. There are also ideas for using plants as living air conditioners while creating a wild life habitat. He shares stories of people who have been successfully with rain harvesting and I think you will be very excited to try it yourself with his book as a useful reference.

Free-Water-Andrew-Brown“Brad Lancaster has taught, designed, and consulted on regenerative-design systems of permaculture and integrated water-harvesting systems in seven countries since 1993. He created and lives on a thriving solar-powered 1/8th-acre urban oasis in downtown Tucson, Arizona, which harvests 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year where just 12 inches falls from the sky. Brad’s dynamic books, talks, workshops, and living example have inspired tens of thousands of people to ‘plant the rain’ to sustainably grow their local resources.”  from his website

For more information, videos and to order his book visit his website at HarvestingRainwater.com .

IMG_5985I was prompted to write about this today because I am so excited, my first rain barrel came yesterday. Shaw set it up this morning. It can hold 50 gallons.

We have been working on soil health for many years now and we no longer have a problem with standing water on our property even though we are the low spot between two house. Keeping the water on the property is good for our plants and trees. We have been planing on getting rain barrels for quite a while but time and budget constraints have gotten in our way. I have been using a 5 gallon bucket to collect rain water from the down spout to water the plants on my porch, which would never get rain water otherwise, but it would always run out before the next rain. The biggest problem was where to put a rain barrel. Around the porch I wanted something with a narrow profile that would look nice with my beautiful Victorian wrap around porch.

Right off the porch tucked into Bromeliad corner.

Right off the porch tucked into Bromeliad corner.

Here is the view going towards the front yard.

Here is the view going towards the front yard. A bit of a pinch point but it works!

I found this rain barrel at Hayneedle.com and it comes in both black and white. It even has a place on top for planting a plant. I stuck one of my bromeliads there to try it out. What do you think….isn’t it perfect? I have plans for another rain barrel on the south side of the house. And then two linked ones with very flat profiles off the side of the garage to collect rain for our raised bed herb and vegetable garden. Just have to save up for them!

Happy Gardening!