Rain Barrels for All
An old Vermont saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” It’s meant to give you hope for spring signs of life after a long, cold winter and the dreary spring weather that often follows. And May, in fact, does bring flowers although often coupled with more showers. But luckily, we are writing to share with you how May rains can bring summer gains! Setting up rain barrels at home can save on water use all throughout the gardening season. For some people that means a financial gain and for others, it simply means that they are doing the right thing for mother earth.
DIY Rain Barrel from a Garbage Can | 4 Easy Steps
- 1 large plastic garbage can
- 1 tube of watertight sealant or roll of Teflon tape for plumbing
- 2 rubber washers & 2 metal washers
- 1 hose clamp
- 1 spigot
- A drill
- Landscaping fabric or screen
1. Drill the holes: a. Outflow hole: Pick a drill bit that is either a little smaller than your spigot or the same size, then, drill a hole 3 to 4 inches from the bottom of the garbage can (or large plastic barrel – whatever you are using as your barrel). b. Overflow holes: Drill 2 small holes on either side of the top of the can. These can be about 2 inches below the very top.
2. Insert the Spigot: Put a metal washer over the threaded side of your spigot followed by a rubber washer to hold in place. Next, cover the rubber washer with your sealant and insert the spigot into the hole you just drilled, allow sealant to dry.
3. Secure the Spigot: Once sealant is dry, place the second metal washer on the threaded part of the spigot on the inside of the barrel, followed by the rubber washer and lastly by the hose clamp to keep the spigot in place.
4. Create Collection Hole: Cut a hole in the top of the can’s lid big enough for water to collect in the barrel, it’s best to align this opening with where the water runs from your roof or from your gutter. Lastly, cut a piece of landscaping fabric or light screening a little larger than the size of the top of the bin so that you can place on the top and then secure in place by placing the lid over the screen. The screen or fabric will keep larger objects or uninvited insects, pests out of your barrel.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
*Please note that in some states due to water shortages, typically in western states, it’s important to check with state regulations on having home rain collection systems/rain barrels.
“The stewardship responsibility never goes away but we know it’s the right thing to do for the earth, for our farm and for our family.” – Porterdale Farms, Adams Center, NY
“Land stewardship is very much a part of the #CabotFarmer way of life.” Wilcon Farm, North Ferrisburg, VT
At our creamery, we work hard to save water too. In the town of Cabot, VT where our creamery started almost 100 years ago – and where we still make the world’s greatest cheddar – we have an innovative water recycling system. We recycle the water that is separated from the cow’s milk during the cheese making process and filter it to clean our equipment each day. So the cow provides the ingredients to make cheese and to clean the creamery. Annually, we save almost 280,000 gallons of water by using this technology.
Ann Hoogenboom is Cabot’s Sustainability Coordinator and gets to share the latest and greatest in sustainability news from our farm families. As a Vermont native and lover of all things green, she’s proud of the socially responsible business role that Cabot plays for our cows, our creamery, our community and our customers.