I wanted a garden and not a big water bill. This was my solution:
Being the cheap person that I am, I couldn’t possibly fathom the idea of paying for such a thing!
So I talked my husband into going with me to a “Greening Your Life” Estuary Academy seminar hosted by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program. http://www.tbep.org/
We had such a great time- ok, I had such a great time! We paid $5 each and got a lunch out of the deal from Honey Baked Hams. I got to learn about “The Right Place for the Right Plant”, “Rain Harvesting” and my hubby got to learn about “Composting” and “Protecting Your Home from Critters”.
Not only did we get a rain barrel, but we got a compost bin too- I will save that for another post.
Anyway- here are my cost effective directions for beautifying a rain barrel.
1. Find a nice color spraypaint- get one that says it should go on plastic. That way you need no primer.
2. Buy 6 cement blocks- I got a couple free from Home Depot because they were chipped and couldn’t be used in building- SCORE!
3. Lay out an old sheet outside (I prefer this to using plastic- plastic doesn’t store as well- and I am able to use the sheet for multiple projects).
4. Start spraypainting! I painted my blocks and barrel the same color.
5. Once everything is dry you can arrange your blocks. I made a triangle of three, then stacked the other three on top and finally stacked the rain barrel.
6. Seal the top! We do not have gutters so I picked a rain barrel that was completely open. I bought a fine mesh screen from the window section in Home Depot for under $3. I also bought some bungy cords to hold the screen on top of the barrel. I cut the screen slightly larger than the hole on top and sealed it off with a bungy cord.
My screen is fine mesh enough that mosquitoes cannot escape. I do have larvae living in the water, but they can’t fly out once they mature. It looks pretty gross in there, but the water only goes on the plants. DON’T DRINK!
You can buy pellets that kill mosquito larvae, but I don’t like watering my plants with that. “They say” it is alright for watering, but I do water my veggies with it and I don’t want any pesticides on my plants.
It rained a lot this summer so I have plenty of water for my backyard garden. Now I just need one for the front yard. Wonder if I can get my husband to do a second year of Estuary Academy?