At the encouragement of a friend, last year we started collecting rain from a downspout on the pool house to use when watering container plants or anytime we need to water with the can. Originally, we were trying to find a good way to water my pelargoniums without subjecting them to the high sulfur content in our well water. Word from our friend, who is a hybridizer for a large company in California, is that pelargoniums don't like sulfur.
Romie brought an empty 55-gallon barrel home from his work and the next time we got a rain, he directed the downspout right over the top of the barrel. Now, I couldn't figure out how that was going to get enough rain water in there to do enough good. I mean, it takes the clouds a long time to pour down an inch or two of rain into the rain gauge, so how on earth was that barrel going to get full enough, often enough, to provide us with water for our plants?
I didn't take physics in high school or college. Maybe I should have, but I got a lesson in it at age 48 anyway. It happens like this - the rain falls on the roof, runs down the roof into the gutter, and from there it runs through the downspout into the barrel. The bigger the roof, the more water we get.
And it was an amazing thing to behold. If we get an inch of rain, that's enough to fill that barrel almost to the top. I understand how it works now, but I'm still astounded by it. I think it's that little rain gauge that's messing with my brain on this. Maybe it's more amazing that only an inch gets into that little glass tube.
The pelargoniums did do better once we started watering them with rain water --- fewer yellow leaves.
I like the idea of using water directly from the source, too, without it being filtered through our soil and who knows what's in that, deep down. We live in farm country and I'm sure there are all kinds of chemical residues that have made their way into the water table. We have our own well, but we have an extensive filtering system on the water that comes into the house. I actually like the unfiltered water for drinking, but the filtered tastes even better and I feel more comfortable drinking it. It smells better, too.
We hadn't had rain for quite some time until a few days ago, and the rain barrel was getting very low. So low that I could no longer dip my watering can into it for filling. But now it looks like this: