1. As part of their dedication to green living, many are turning to home gardens as an alternative to food purchased from the grocery store. Developing and growing a garden takes time and work, but gardens also require quite a bit of water depending on the garden’s size and the types of plants. Urban gardens that utilize city water create a burden on the city infrastructure as well as the owner’s pocketbook. Rain barrels provide an easy solution for those concerned about the environment along with finding a frugal solution for their garden’s needs.

    While there is an initial investment in purchasing the various parts and setting up the rain barrel system, this
    time and money will benefit the owner in the long term. As spring rains usually come in torrents during a brief
    period, this rain is often unneeded at the time it falls. After this time, many areas face droughts and high
    temperatures during the summer, and this is when the rain water is needed for gardens and other home uses. Those homes with rain barrels will be more self-sustaining through the utilizing of this natural resource. Although city water is available, relying on this for watering the garden or lawn creates a burden on the water system during a time of already high demand. Additionally, rain barrels provide water that is more "green" in that the water used is truly local having fallen on the land that it will nourish. Unlike city water, it only needs
    to be stored rather than piped into the home.

    A rain barrel system is designed to harvest the water runoff from the roof. In a normal urban situation, the water
    would simply pour off the gutters and run into the storm drains. Rain barrels can store this water until it is
    needed for the garden or some other use. The usual system will consist of a 55-gallon barrel as well as some means to connect it to the house guttering. The price of such systems can vary depending on the source of the barrel and its associated parts.

    Most cities offer many places that sell rain barrel systems. Although these are ready-made systems that are easily hooked to existing guttering, they are the most expensive choice for the home owner. Businesses such as ACE Hardware offer these systems. For those who are more handy or want more of a challenge in creating a rain barrel system, there are some companies online who are converting used food barrels into rain barrel systems. This is often a cheaper choice, but there is some shipping involved. With a little bit of research in the local area, many can find companies offering their food-safe barrels, such as pickle barrels, at low prices. These can be easily converted to a rain barrel. Manufactured diverters, most notably the Garden Watersaver, makes the creation of a rain barrel system easier and cheaper than those premade.

    Although city water is usually available, rain barrels can provide those interested in living a green life with
    a sustainable solution to watering their garden. A small investment in the short term will yield results that
    will benefit the home owner as well as the environment.

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