Think about rainbarrels as you plan for 2012

By Doug Nissing Owner, Green Friendly Gardens

Water conservation can be a hard sell in St. Louis since our summers seem more often filled with floods rather than droughts. Just because we seem to have an abundance of this precious resource in our rivers doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t give serious thought to monitoring use of water in our lives and, in particular, our yards and gardens.

There certainly is no drought as to opinions about the best way to conserve water in our lives. The first problem for all of us is to figure out how we are wasting water. A dripping faucet or leaky shower can significantly add to the water bill. Those are the easy and traditional ways of conserving our water use. The motivation to “fix” these problems is high – usually in the form of an annoying drip!

But how about the rainwater that falls on the roof of a home or office building? For a roof measuring 20×40 ft., with St. Louis’ average rainfall of 38 inches, 19,000 gallons of run-off rainwater each year is available for use.

Imagine what can happen with that 19,000 gallons! Using a rainbarrel system, foundations can be protected from drying out and cracking; shrubs and flowers near your house can be watered; vegetable gardens can receive natural rainwater even when it hasn’t rained that day. With a modest initial expenditure (or a bit of creativity!), a rainbarrel system for one’s home can be a way to harvest the precious resource of water and put it to good use – not just have it run off into the yard or down the driveway. It really is about getting back to basics.

When it doesn’t rain? Well the “water delivery system” that is a part of a rainbarrel installation allows for refill from the old faithful friend, the garden hose. And its slow, gravity-based drip through specially-made low-pressure soaker hoses keeps the ground around your plants evenly watered.

Of course, there will be those times when pulling out the sprinkler makes a lot of sense. We make the choice to contribute to the water wasted through evaporation in order to protect our investment in the grass and other plants we have.

But why not teach your children and grandchildren what our ancestors always knew? Rain falls, it is collected, and the water is used in responsible ways.

Think about rainbarrels as you plan for 2012.

For more information please call 314-716-2343 or email info@greenfriendlygardens.com or visit their website online at www.greenfriendlygardens.com.