Are you looking for sustainable ways to water your garden? In this post, we discuss saving water during dry spells with rain barrels.

During the summer months, it seems my area of NW Ohio keeps missing any substantial amount of rain.  Watching the rain develop around us according to Weather Channel radar and we miss it. The neighboring community in Toledo, Ohio water source was declared toxic and over 400,000 residents were advised NOT to drink or water vegetables with the city water.  My home garden was not affected by this because we draw our water from the well.  After this local event, it really made me take a closer look at water and what I can do to keep my garden growing healthy.

Saving Water

front of garage rain barrel

We recently had a new roof put on our garage which has 2 rain barrels attached to catch rain runoff.  When collecting rainwater from roofs homeowners need to be very careful.   Rainwater flows over a roof surface it can pick up pollutants such as bacteria from birds and other animals, and chemicals from roof materials.  Check out information on the EPA site. 

There have not been many studies done to decided if rainwater is safe for vegetable gardens.  Check out information on Testing and Applying Harvested Water to Irrigate a Vegetable Garden website: https://njaes.rutgers.edu/fs1218/

A Few Reasons to Save Rain Water

new rain barrel to save water for garden

Below are a few reasons to save rainwater to use in your home garden.

  • Collecting water is a great way to converse water.
  • Collecting roof runoff in rain barrels reduces the amount of water that flows from your property.
  • Rain ‘harvesting’ is free water for use in your landscape.

In my garden, I have a few different places to save the water and I know this will not work for everyone because we all live and garden differently.

Tips to Help Conserve Water

Below are a few tips to help you conserve water in your home garden.

  • Install rain barrels in your garden and home to help collect water for watering the landscape.


  • Turn off the facet that is attached to the house, not just the hose.  This will keep your hose from leaking and wasting water.
  • Water your garden in the evening or in the early morning to avoid evaporation.
  • When you are expecting rain … set out buckets and wheel barrels to collect the rainwater to use for watering the garden.
  • Sweep your pathways and porch rather than hosing them down with water to clean.

Here Comes The Rain … are you ready?

More Spring Rain

Rain Barrels Suggestions

Before the next storm arrives I have listed a few rain barrel designs I recommend for your home garden.   If you like my slate rain barrel featured in this post I found one similar to it by Algreen Castilla Rain Barrel with Brass Spigot. Mine is by the same company only I think it is was a show special because I’ve not been able to find the design anywhere after bringing this one home in 2013.  Another favorite is the design featured on the side of the garage in the image above.

Let’s Connect

Do you have any water-saving tips you use in your home and garden?  Please share them with me on this blog post because I’m looking forward to making a difference with you! Consider visiting my contact page and reaching out to me there as well.

Happy Gardening and Saving Water,

7 Responses

  1. Bren, thanks for the info. I had been wondering about what might be in the water collected from the roof, but it sounds like it would be fine for the lawn and ornamental plants–but not for edibles like the vegetable garden and fruit trees.

  2. Since our drought has started there are many I never thought I would use that are common to everyone around here. 1. Save leftover drinks to pour onto your plants…they love sugared drinks. 2. pipe the gray water from your home (shower, bath,kitchen sink, and washer) to your garden or a storage tank. This can not be done with toilet water (black water). When taking a shower add a bucket in the shower with you to catch some of the water.

    1. — USEFUL information TexasDaisey – I never thought of using the grey water from our home. Catching the water from the shower … BRILLIANT! Thank you for sharing on my site.

  3. I love collecting rain water, it’s been a blessing to have it available because sometimes during the summer we can go weeks before a heavy rain fall. Great information.
    Carole @ Garden Up green

  4. Great tips! I love that you have a reliable weather predictor and use that to make the most of a rain event. One of the most creative ways to save water came from a friend of mine. When she steams veggies, she saves the steaming water and uses it to make rice, boil pasta, make bread, make hot cereal, etc. That way, it saves water and we benefit from the veggie nutrition which has leached into the water. Here’s a list I found with more great water-saving ideas: http://www.charlottesville.org/Index.aspx?page=1681

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