If you want to water your plants, but you live in a neighborhood where water is scarce and can be quite expensive, then you need a proper irrigation system and a method of saving water. Knowing how to capture rainwater for gardening is an ideal system to learn. You can keep rainwater during the wet season and store it for an extended period of time. When summer months roll around, you have stored rainwater to rely on.
When you know how to capture rainwater for gardening, you can rest easy knowing you have an ample supply of water for your garden, you are saving the environment, and you are saving money.
Creating A System Of Catching Rainwater
Look around your house and find out where rainwater usually collects. The roof of your own home is a great place to start a system of catching rainwater. Here is a step by step process on how to start catching rainwater.
- Collecting Rainwater
Notice how your roof collects rainwater and pulls them into a pipe. Does the runoff go straight to the ground or into a drainage system? You can collect runoff from your own roofs. This is a popular method on how to capture rainwater for gardening. Your rain gutter can transport water to the downspout. To make sure you have clean water, you might need to install a filter, so it catches debris. You want the runoff to be clean from leaves and other debris.
- Transporting Runoff
If your gutter is already connected to a pipe, you have to determine if it is capable of collecting huge amounts of rainwater, especially when there is heavy rain. It is ideal for gutters to be about 5 to 6 inches wide and the downspouts to be 3 inches in diameter. These must be large enough to carry water to your storage systems. You will need to invest in filters or screens. A fine wire mesh can work. It helps keep debris from going into your storage system as well as keep mosquitoes away. Collecting runoff is an excellent method for how to capture rainwater for gardening.
- Storage System
Once you have figured out your means of transporting water, you then need to figure out the storage capacity. You can invest in barrels or drums. Your local hardware store should have standard drums. Barrels can range from 50 to 100 gallons.
Think about how many barrels you may need. The amount of water that you need to store should be based on how big your lawn is and the time you need to store them. Make sure to put some gravel or concrete blocks beneath your barrels in case it overflows. You wouldn’t want muddy patches that can soften the foundation.
- Irrigation Method
You can drill a hole about 3 inches from the bottom of the barrel and install a valve spigot with a bulkhead fitting. You can use this to connect to the hose that you will use to water your garden.
Are There Other Ways Of Irrigating Water?
If you’d like to create an irrigation system that does not require the need for a hose, where the water goes directly to your plants, here are a couple of methods you can try:
- You can create trenches that will lead water directly to the plants that require a lot of water. Some parts of your land can be uneven and will not be able to hold much water. Creating trenches is ideal for such an environment. Using your garden shovel, you can dig shallow trenches and divert water to where you want it to go. Create smaller streams, so you have an organized irrigation for your garden. When it rains or when you release water, you can ensure these plants will get the water they need.
These kinds of plants can benefit from this irrigation system:
- Fruits or nut trees
- Leafy vegetable beds
- Corn Rows
- Legume Patches
- Mulching is a process of applying materials to the surface of your garden to retain moisture. This method is ideal for crop growth because it helps keep moisture to the ground, especially during hot summer months. Water from the surface can quickly evaporate, and mulch prevents that.
You can use grass clippings, pieces of bark, or trimmed leaves and lay them on top of the soil. Make sure to keep it away from your plant’s stem. It might cause root rot. Mulching, in its small scale, can help preserve moisture, and it is a tried and tested way on how to capture rainwater for gardening.
You can keep snails away by adding mulch to the ground, too! Remember to remove the old mulch before you till the soil. You can remove the mulch when the weather is good enough to provide moisture. Retaining mulch for a long period may cause rot. It is recommended to mulch from mid to late spring and autumn.
Whether you are growing vegetables, fruit trees, flowers, or herbs, keeping the soil moist is important for your plants to grow correctly. While some plants can thrive on a small amount of water, there are some that require a ton of water. Knowing how much water your plants need as well as how to create an irrigation system that is fit for them can help.