Rain Barrels

We found a place to get 55 gallon plastic, food grade barrels!  The Pepsi bottling plant in Memphis, MO got us the used syrup barrels for $10 each.  They smell like Mountain Dew at the moment, but they even put them on the truck to Kirksville for us to pick up more easily.  Great people!

We don’t know exactly how we’ll set it up yet, but we’ll start simple by running some gutters to them and siphoning off the water to the garden when we need it; which won’t be for awhile because of the 4.5 inches we got last week.

But we finally have sun!  A clear, dry day!  Our garden desperately needs it, and hopefully there’ll be more to come!


4 Responses to “Rain Barrels”

  1. Matt Combes says:


    Here is a site (8 MB download) with detailed plans for putting 55 gal drums together for a rain barrel system. All parts are available at any hardware store, and possibly as construction waste.

  2. Denny says:

    My barrels are up on a stand made of treated wood. 4×4 posts and 2x8s were used to build the stand. The barrels were turned upside down and plumbed in using pvc pipes that were attached to the barrel’s white plastic fittings. It’s alot easier to do it this way rather than drill new holes into the bottom of the barrels. By plumbing it all together with one unified pipe that connects each barrel via T joints you only have one barrel that takes in the water from the gutter. The water then fills all the barrels at the same time.

    I’ve got a pic of mine here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/geekinthegarden/4536306112/

  3. Jerry says:

    Matt- Thanks for the guide, and for telling us about possibly using PEX over PVC when we later talked. Do you have any ideas as to where to locate construction waste for PVC or PEX?

    Denny- Those barrels look fantastic! I hadn’t yet come across putting them upside down, but that seems much easier. We had planned on connecting a series of them together, but weren’t sure as to what method we’d use. I also like the use of the spigot running off the connecting pipe.

    How much pressure is there with a full system? How do you have the water running into the barrel? Is there any kind of gutter flush dump or screened entry?

  4. Denny says:

    Jerry, yeah, having that spigot makes it very easy to use and because they are all connected at the bottom rather than top they drain and fill at the same time. I never have to wonder which barrels to use. There’s enough pressure to run a hose quite a ways away as long as I never go too high with it. That said, it’s not alot of pressure and a cheap hose will tend to kink very easily. There’s not enough pressure to use a nozzle and probably not enough to use a soaker though I have not tried it. A regular hose DOES work though. I mostly use them to water the garden in the area around the cabin which is quite a bit so it is proving very useful.

    I’ve got a very sloppy entrance for the barrel which is temporary but works. It is screened with two layers of window screen to keep it clean and there is a crud catcher thing also up in the gutter to get out the bigger stuff. Oh, and I’ve got a small .75 inch hole drilled into the top of each barrel to let air out as the tanks fill and for overflow. Reminds me, I need to put a little window screen over those as well to keep the mosquitos out!

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