Rainbarrels – for the gardener on your list

Water, an increasingly precious commodity, is the lifeblood of any garden, and especially so since water rationing has hit various parts of the country in recent years. Nothing is more water-efficient than collecting the moisture that falls from the sky – not to mention that doing so lessens runoff during heavy rains in your neighborhood which can sweep chemicals from lawns, streets and driveways into water systems. If you’ve ever seen a plant respond to rainwater versus the treated tap water, you’ll understand why some of us collect as much as we can. Which is why any grower will be happy to find a large rain barrel, perhaps not under the tree, but sitting beside it with a big red bow attached to its child-resistant, screened lid. There are many versions, but Gardener’s Supply Co. has a 40 gallon tank that will do the job inconspicuously.

For $129, the English Rain Barrel, made of 25 percent recyclable materials, is compact, but the removable lid allows you to fill watering cans (you can also water using the attached six-foot hose).
Another option is purchasing a wholly recycled rain barrel from the Great American Rain Barrel Co., which sells from an eBay site, The Great American Rain Barrel.  Sixty-gallon drums once used to import olives and other foods are refurbished (outfitted with a spigot, overflow valve, drain and more) and sold for $169 to be used to collect rain water.
Still another choice is Clean Air Gardening’s recycled food grade barrels. Retailing for $119, these 58 gallon drums, like other rain barrels, are the a gift that keeps on giving: lower water bills, happier plants and a positive environmental impact.

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