Simple Rain Barrel Plans

Neat rain barrel DIY system here using recycled materials from our neighbor Priscilla. She had two large water tanks that were not being used, placed on on top of the other, directed the rain water in to the tanks with a piece of leftover rain gutter. You could do the same thing with a rain barrel.

rainwater collection DIY system

The tanks holding the rain water are slightly higher than the vegetable garden, and attached to the bottom of each tank is a spigot. Attach a garden hose to either tank and you have a gravity fed soaker hose system.

Watch these soaker hose drip irrigation videos:

DIY Soaker Hose Drip Irrigation for a Vegetable Garden

Soaker Hose Drip Irrigation for Rooftop Container Garden

I imagine one of our math enabled contributors, maybe Rick or Mike, could figure out how much water rains down on a particular roof during a rainstorm of x inches, and then we would know how much water this can collect. But rainwater collection math is beyond me.

One thing to watch out for with this kind of large open system is mosquito breeding, you can buy these small discs that float in the water and take care of the mosquito eggs, covering such a large tank with screening might be impractical.

Are there other was to keep mosquitoes at bay? What other ways could you improve this rainwater collection system?

Let us know your thoughts below:

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  1. Kris from Hamden, CT says

    GOLD FISH or minnows from a local lake? You could put some invasive species water lilys in the container (they could use a little pretty) – and some of these species are edible I believe… This water is only for planting so why not experiment – if we get anywhere near as much rain as last year you will have plenty of opportunity to drain it and start over! Also with a tub that deep and straight edged you may want to put a branch in it and rest it against the side this way when mice and frogs fall in they will be able to get out.

  2. Kris from Hamden, CT says

    BTW the didn’t mean for you to go out an buy the lilys! There are PLENTY in the local water ways here that would benefit from their removal and you don’t have to worry about them spreading in a contained areas like your tanks.

  3. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    good suggestions Kris, i just heard on NPR that japanese knotweed is edible. i learn stuff all the time, eric.

  4. Renate says

    You can buy feeder guppies at pet stores for 12/$1 or so. They like mosquito larvae and when they grow up you can sometimes sell them as “Endler Guppies” – which means wild-type, which is what the feeder guppies are.

    A betta fish would also happily live in the rain barrel and eat all the mosquito larvae. Their colors get really vivid when they live outdoors and eat live food. It’s fun to look for them in the water. (Just put in 1 per container or they’ll kill each other!) They need to be brought in when it’s cold tho.

    If you can find some “White Cloud” fish they’ll eat all the mosquitoes and don’t mind cold water. Some say they’ll breed outdoors but mine never did. They sell for around $2 each.

    Of course you can use just plain minnows but tropical fish in the yard is pretty fun.

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