Friday, June 20, 2014

Rain Barrels Part of Sustainable Gardening

Contact: Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator
Headquartered in Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A rain barrel won’t make the rain go away but you will be able to save some of it for another day with one according to Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator with University of Missouri Extension.

"Rain barrels are gaining in popularity with home gardeners because this time of year we get a lot of rain," said McGowan.

Using a rain barrel has its advantages.  For starters, it is a great way to save money on a water bill for anyone who gardens. Rainwater is also better than tap water for plants.

"Rainwater is nearly neutral in pH. It is also free of treatment byproducts such as chlorinated organics, and it is low in salts and minerals. Water collected in a rain barrel typically contains more nutrients and less of other chemicals that plants don’t want," said Clarissa Hatley, a University of Missouri Extension employee and volunteer with the Watershed Committee of The Ozarks.

James River Basin Partnership sells rain barrel kits at Greene County residents can receive a rebate on rain barrel purchases through the JRBP program.

Barrels are also available from Wickman’s in Springfield and the Habitat Restore.

A person can also try making their own rain barrel. Large plastic barrels and fixtures can be found at different locations in Springfield and many area hardware stores. JRBP also has instructions on assembling your own barrel system online.

"You can buy kits with everything you need to make your rain barrel. So that would be an option.  Or you can buy the parts individually," said McGowan.  "An entire setup would probably be less than one hundred dollars but in the long run you would save a lot of money.”

According to McGowan the average one thousand square foot roof can generate up to 600 gallons of water per inch of rainfall.

For more information, contact the Master Gardener’s Hotline in Greene County or University of Missouri Extension at (417) 881-8909.


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