Benefits of Rainwater from Rain Barrels

Since the rain water is usually collected from the roofs of houses, it picks up very little contamination when it falls. You’ll of course want to keep your roof clean of debris and potential contaminants to maximize purity. The material your roof is made of is also important in how much contamination the water will carry (see Safe Rainwater Harvesting Catchments). The chemicals and hard water from many of our municipal water systems can produce an imbalance in the soil of your garden. Chemical fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, and drought can also disrupt the balance and harmony of the soil. This imbalance causes trees and plants to weaken and makes them more susceptible to disease.

Trees and plants have an efficient immune system that allows them to fend off diseases and other invaders as long as they have a healthy soil environment and aren’t stressed by other factors such as drought. Trees and plants rely on fungus, bacteria, and nematodes to help them absorb the minerals and nutrients they need. Trees and plants depend on a fungal root system called mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizae attaches itself to tree and plant root hairs and extends the root hair system.





Mycorrhizae uses some of the plant’s energy, but provides the plant with minerals it can’t otherwise absorb. In healthy soil, the mycorrhizae of one tree connects with mycorrhizae of other similar trees. When you look at your garden, visualize it as a vast interconnected community of trees, plants and tiny critters that live in the soil, all interacting and affecting each other. Thus, the type of water you use in your garden will affect the health of this intricate community.



And speaking of community, one of the best reasons to start harvesting rainwater with rain barrels is that if you teach and encourage others to do the same, you will help to spread the culture of rainwater collection and in turn help your larger community and the environment. It is always important to remember that every living thing on the planet needs water to survive so we as humans must expand our idea of community to the plants and animals that surround us.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Funk February 18, 2012 at 10:00 am

are there ways to keep mosquitoes from breeding in the water? granted I’ll be using my gathered rain water for organic fruits/veggies and bonsai, but if I can keep pests to a minimum, that’d be great as there is a pond in the lot next to me that seems to be a breeding ground. During the months of April-October, you can’t even wash the vehicles without being eaten alive. And playing music around the fire is hard enough, so any tips would be helpful.

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steve February 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm

@Chris Funk, Nope nothing to keep the mosquitoes from breading but there is something to kill the larva. Try this: http://www.cleanairgardening.com/mosquitodunks.html

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Peg May 18, 2012 at 10:39 am

How about using the rain water collected INSIDE the house? Dish washing, toilet, maybe even cooking? Drinking?
BTW – love this site! Thanks!

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Ronald July 30, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Toilet water hahahahahahahahah! You’re killing me!

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steve July 31, 2012 at 6:57 pm

@Ronald, We recommend gray water recycling not brown water! hahahahhah!

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Sharon Composter September 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm

We use mosquito dunks in one of our rain barrels and have a fine mesh covering the opening of a second one. Both work well to control the mosquitoes.

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steve September 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm

@Sharon, Great idea Sharon, those mosquito dunks work really well and kill the mosquito larva which directly cuts down mosquitoes.

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