From Trash to Rain Barrel Bounty

Harvest rainwater by transforming a trash can into a rain barrel.
By Ron Green
April/May 2011
Add to My MSN

From trash to treasure: an easy rain barrel.
PHOTO: RON GREEN


Content Tools

Here in Michigan City, Ind., the city recently supplied residents with 96-gallon trash bins for use with the new power lifts the city installed on its trash trucks. This left many of us with a surplus of standard 32-gallon, round, plastic trash cans. I had four of these and didn’t know what to do with them.

But hey, I’m a MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader — how about creating a rain barrel? Having recently re-plumbed our little house, I had a number of fittings and leftover pipe. With these, I made an overflow standpipe and a bottom drain valve, which go in holes drilled into the side of the trash can. I fashioned a debris screen for the trash can lid out of cedar boards (leftover from various garden projects) cut at a 45-degree angle and covered with some scrap screening. I then routed the downspout to the debris deflector and cut the end of the downspout to match the slope of the screens. I connected a spare garden hose to the overflow to route excess water away from the foundation of the house.

I also covered the drain valve intake with more screen to block out any foreign material that may get past the debris screen.

I have enough water pressure to get good water flow through a soaker hose I use in one adjacent planting. If I place the barrels up on a few cinder blocks, I can use a hose to get to thirsty plants that are farther away.

Ron Green
Michigan City, Indiana








Post a comment below.

 

Terri
4/27/2016 7:42:54 AM
Hi Ron, how do you control mosquito larvae? It's a must here in the South and I'm hesitant to use mosquito discs like those sold at Walmart. Thanks!














Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here