With the plentiful rainfall that we received this spring a rain barrel was one of the last things on my mind, but now that summer is rolling around I’m very happy that the folks at EarthMinded were kind enough to send me one of their new Rain Stations for review.
Before I share my impressions and experiences with using the EarthMinded products I’d like to discuss some of the overall benefits and limitations of using rain barrels around the home and garden…
Pros and Cons of Using a Rain Barrel in the Garden
If you expect rain barrels to serve as the primary means of irrigating a garden, to totally eliminate water shortages, or to single handedly save the environment; then you’re setting yourself up for a letdown. But if you are looking for a convenient supplemental water source that takes advantage of otherwise wasted rain water runoff and benefits the environment by recycling plastics; then a rain barrel system can turn out to be a great idea.
So it’s wise to evaluate the limitations and benefits before you set expectations as to what a rain barrel has to contribute to the landscape. In my case a rain barrel provides the following benefits:
Storing Distilled Rain Water – The impact that chlorinated water has upon garden plants is debatable, but there are specific instances when I definitely want to steer clear of treated water and a rain barrel allows me to do just that. Some of the applications where I prefer to use distilled rain water include; in the bog garden, when making compost, with products like soil amendments that contain living bacteria or micro-organisms, to apply foliar fertilizers, and in the fish pond.
Making Use of Recycled Plastic – Some rain barrels are made out of recycled plastics, others utilize discarded materials like the 55 gallon drums that are used to package and ship certain food products. The barrels themselves have a long service life but I’m already planing to convert them into planters, or beds to contain plants like Lemon Balm that would spread all over the garden, once the barrels are no longer fit for water collection.
Supplementing Water Sources – A rain barrel would never provide enough water to irrigate the entire garden but they are great for watering containers and patio plants, filling watering cans, and for the convenience of situating a water supply in places that you don’t have an outdoor faucet handy.
Easing Environmental Concerns – In addition to causing problems with leaky basements, damaged foundations, flooding, and local watershed problems, water runoff is becoming a big issue for communities dealing with over burdened storm water systems. Rain barrels can become a part of the solution to capture and reduce the storm water runoff that is a growing problem for government municipalities.
The EarthMinded RainStation Makes a Lasting Impression
Now back to the EarthMinded Rain Station… I love this rain barrel, it was a breeze to install, works as advertised, and looks great alongside the house! Everything needed was included and the installation took much less than an hour from start to finish. I especially enjoyed that it features a removable lid that locks in place, and an integrated diverter that redirects the water flow back to the downspout once the rain barrel is completely full.
Major features of the EarthMinded Rain Station include:
- 60 gallon capacity offers large amount of storage
- Flexifit diverter allows downspout to remain functional
- Removable lid makes cleaning simple and easy
- All fixtures included; faucet, drain plug, and connections
- A choice of colors; Terracotta, Granite, or Evergreen
- Ability to link two or more barrels for even more capacity
- Downspout cover to winterize in northern climates
- Sealed system blocks access from mosquitoes and wildlife
If you’re interested in adding a rain barrel to your landscape check out the EarthMinded website for more details and information on the purchase, installation, and use of their lineup of RainStations that are both attractive and functional around the home and garden.
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