Rain barrels growing in popularity
Mary Jo Golley, who works at the Health Education Center, has five 55-gallon rain barrels at strategic locations around her home. As a result, her certified Florida Friendly Yard requires no city water. Over the years, Mary Jo has saved hundreds of dollars and thousands of gallons of potable water through this one simple conservation effort.
It’s not hard to see why Mary Jo uses no city utilities to water her grass free yard; a 1,000 square foot roof can fill five 55-gallon rain barrels with only one-half inch of rainfall.
Mary Jo uses the stored water to water both potted and landscape plants, as well as to refill her pond and store water in anticipation of hurricanes.
Pinellas County Extension offers a rain harvesting workshop at its facility in Largo. The workshop provides set-up instructions and a reference booklet.
“Our rain barrel classes are very popular,” said Vestina Crayton, sustainable living educational instructor at Pinellas County Extension. “In fact, all remaining workshops scheduled this year are full already.”
Dale W. Armstrong, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Coordinator said the recent drought “is obviously a contributing factor as well as, I believe, more and more folks adopting sustainable lifestyles and the movement towards living green.”
For $65, Mary Jo purchased five concentrated juice barrels she found on Craigslist and turned them into rain barrels using zip ties, PVC pipes, PVC adhesive, silicon caulk, spigots, and hoses. Had she purchased the rain barrels commercially, each would have cost $100 or more.
“In addition to conserving water, harvesting water in rain barrels reduces storm water runoff and pollutants that often end up in nearby lakes and rivers,” said Jason Green, SPC’s Sustainability Coordinator.
For more information on rain barrels or future rain barrel classes, visit Pinellas County Extension http://pinellas.ifas.ufl.edu/. For a very detailed rain barrel guide developed by Southwest Florida Water Management District, visit http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/publications/files/rain_barrels_guide.pdf.
For do-it-yourself recycled barrels:
- D & C Brothers (Chris) – Hercules Road, Clearwater (727) 447-1733
- Don’s Marine Salvage – 5601 126 Avenue North, Clearwater (727) 576-8577
- Thomas King – 13042 Gibson Lane, Odessa (813) 920-8112
For complete rain barrels:
- Carroll Brothers Nursery – 4950 38th Avenue North, St. Petersburg (727) 527-5418
- Country Club Nursery – 9850 Starkey Road, Largo (727) 397-4438
- Dolin’s Garden Center – 801 62nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg (727) 525-3434
- Twigs ‘n Leaves Nursery – 1013 Dr. MLK Blvd. South, St. Petersburg (727) 822-5400
- Wilcox Nursery – 12501 Indian Rocks Road. – Largo, (727) 595-2073