The rain barrel is in action here at the homestead. Most of the rainwater I collect is used on my compost piles, ornamental plantings and trees. I would like to add another to my front porch, but first have to install a gutter on that roof. Here is an informative pdf on rain barrels written by the U of MN Extension Service.
Using collected rainwater is very satisfying, knowing your landscape can be sustained by what falls from the sky. They do require their own attention however. Making sure the barrel's overflow doesn't impact your foundation, making sure your barrel doesn't grow mosquitoes, and getting your barrel drained before the next big rain are examples of such attention. Some of this can be taken care of through your design, but if this type of maintenance is not for you, then installing a rain garden is a good alternative. The costs for a rain garden will be higher (unless you get financial support from your watershed) but its maintenance is less.
In Saint Paul, the Hamline Midway Coalition and the Hamline Midway Environment Group is co-sponsoring a ‘build your own’ rain barrel workshop for neighbors on Tuesday , May 19th. A $30 fee covers all materials, including a recycled barrel and hardware. To reserve a spot, please contact at 651-646-1986. Space is limited.
In Minneapolis, as a follow-up to the rain barrel sale at Green Village Day, SECIA is also starting a waiting list for SE Como residents interested in receiving a rain barrel that SECIA interns will construct for only $15 using recycled 55 gallon drums. Quantities are limited. Contact the office at 612-676-1731 for more info.
Captured stormwater protects the Mississippi river!