Sunday, July 3, 2011

Time to use the Rain Barrels

Just my luck, the year of the most severe drought in state history is the year I decide to install rain barrels. It’s hard to save rain, if it never rains.

I bought two 300 gallon rain barrels back in March to put next to the gazebo. I had the gutters redirected into the barrels around the first of April. Then, they sat there empty for almost two months. The 1 1/2” of rain we had a little over a week ago equaled about 200 gallons of rain in the barrels. Yippee! I can finally test these babies out.

All that was left to do was attach some hoses to the barrels so I could start using that precious water. This is where the experiment begins. I have heard that people have had a hard time getting enough water pressure from their rain barrel for soaker hoses to work. But, I think many of those people have 55 gallon barrels.

I have a large garden to cover so I put a 2-way splitter on the faucet so that I could attach multiple hoses. IMG_2979Before attaching the soaker hose to the splitter, I removed the little disk inside the end of it. The disk is used to reduce pressure, but reducing pressure was the last thing I wanted to do. Next, I put a rubber gasket in place of the pressure reducer to keep the water from leaking. Initially, I just wanted to see if this would work. I uncoiled my soaker hose across the yard so that I could watch the water come out. After turning the faucet on there was a delay until the soaker hose started weeping, but it did and the water made it clear to the end of the hose. Success!

IMG_2980The next test was to see if I had enough pressure to connect two 75’ hoses together. That’s the max recommended to join together under normal conditions (using water from the house faucet). It took a little bit longer this time, but the water did make it to the end of the second hose.

These gardens are only a few months old and don’t have many established plants so it was much easier to lay the soaker hose than if the plants were full grown. My next chore is to bury the hoses under the mulch. I think watering is more efficient with a buried soaker hose plus it looks much nicer. I have 3 other beds with soaker hoses and no one even knows they’re there.


Now, if we could just get some more rain.


  1. How long do you let your soaker hose run? We're playing w/ soaker hoses and making a drip system. Can't decide which would work better.

  2. Sharon, I run my other soaker hoses, the ones I attach to a faucet, 2 hours per week. Since the barrels were only about a third full, I let them run for 3 hours. As they emptied out, the pressure decreased, so I let them run longer than if they were full.
    For my veggie beds, I bought t-tape from Peaceful Valley. It only requires 10 psi and looks like it will work well for straight runs. I haven't got it hooked up yet, so we'll have to wait and see how it works out.

  3. I think you're right about burying the soaker hose. I once left one out and didn't bury it. Found out that the sun melted it and turned it into a regular hose :(

  4. Hi Garden Girl, Can you tell me where you decided to get your rain barrels from? I did a google search and found several options but was trying to stay in Texas. The drought is strangling us up in Willis as well. Even my crepe myrtles are sagging. Thanks for your time, (pleintexasgirl)

  5. pleintexasgirl, I got the rain barrels at