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My family and I rang in the New Year at the Outer Banks of North Carolina this year. It was a nice reprieve from the monotonous urban landscape that characterizes winter around here. The Carolina beaches certainly are not tropical this time of year, but they make for a great escape, perfect for star-watching, long walks on the empty coast, looking for beach glass and the traditional beach bonfire on a cool evening.
While sitting around the bonfire this year I started to mull over some of my 2015 garden resolutions. In years past, I typically came up with big resolutions that never quite seemed to get done. So this year, I went with a few simple goals that should make my gardening slightly easier and a little more environmentally friendly.
I Resolve to Save Water
My primary goal this year is to improve water conservation in the front yard garden. This will involve the installation of the best Christmas gift that I received this year: two large rain barrels made of 100-percent recycled plastic. Rain barrels are a great choice for an eco-friendly gardener: They save water for your garden, help prevent excess water runoff into the sewer and drainage systems, prevent erosion, keep moisture levels down around your home’s foundation, and can save you a few dollars on the monthly water bill as an added bonus.
The barrels I received are perfect for my needs. They have a series of spigots (one near the base for attaching hoses and a higher one for filling watering cans), an overflow hose that can be used to link two or more barrels and a cover with mosquito screening. The screening prevents mosquitos from laying eggs in the barrel which is essential for folks living in South Carolina when three out of four seasons have plenty of these noisome insects.
Siting the Barrels
When siting your own rain barrel, try to place it out of the direct sunlight to prevent algae build-up and find a spot somewhere near the area you’ll likely be watering. The exact site may be limited by downspout locations. If your house doesn’t have gutters, find a spot along the roofline that seems to catch more rainwater and place the barrel there.
Because I fall in the no-gutter category, I will need to wait for the next rainstorm to scout out the perfect site before officially placing my rain barrel. Before installing yours, think about raising it off the ground on some sort of leveled platform, like landscaping pavers, to give you better gravity feed when attaching hoses.
I am excited to use the newly collected rainwater to hydrate my ornamental and edible container plantings. Happy New Year from my garden to yours!