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meyermike_1

Do you collect rainwater for your plants? Call me crazy)

Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
2 years ago
last modified: 2 years ago

Call me crazy, but every chance I get I will either fill gallon jugs or use a hose and drain my barrell out into others into my basement. Every chance I get, even in winter.

Do you?

I refuse to use tap water on my, citrus trees, orchids and many of my houseplants. What a differnce it makes)

Here are a few pics of just the crazy lengths I'll go through to get this 'gold' substance for my plants. lol

I collected water today as soon as the ice melted and right after yet another rain storm. I am so grateful I can collect it even in the middle of winter!

I use a gutter and collect all of it from my roof. At times my hands will almost freeze from the very cold water. I can't wait for spring.

Gallons everywhere.











Mike

Comments (60)

  • westoh Z6
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I use to collect rainwater, it was always an ordeal. I then heard that the final rinse cycle at a manual carwash uses R/O water. For about $1.50 a week I could get 7.5 gallons which handled my weekly needs, I filled my 3/2.5 gallon jugs every Sunday for 5+ years. I now use straight tap and my 70+ orchids and various other plants do fine. I fertilize weakly/weekly 3 times and flush all plants with plain water every 4th week. I'm one of the lucky few who now has decent tap water as two neighboring municipalities constructed a new water treatment plant a few years ago which produces really decent water and saves me a Sunday trip.

    Bob

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked westoh Z6
  • robinswfl
    2 years ago

    I used to collect and use rain water for all my plants and they thrived with it. I live in a condo community, so I had to do this manually when it rained. Am not allowed to put any kind of rain collection container outside on the common property. When I was younger, before I needed joint replacements, it was easy and, of course, the plants loved it.


    As I have aged, I have stopped collecting it and now use tap water. It's relatively decent and the plants do okay -- but I would prefer to have rain water any day. (So would the plants.) It's the best. Living in Florida, I used to be able to collect enough water in the summer to last through the whole year. I would keep 50-70 jugs of it in my garage. Miss those days.

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  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
    2 years ago

    I use the rain water because it is still easy for me. I do use a whole house water filter with carbon and a PUR faucet filter for even better filtering. Mostly for removal of Lead, Chlorine, Mercury, and what ever cleaner agent they add. Trace minerals are welcomed but I prefer to add them myself. I would highly recommend the use of PUR faucet filter for anybody. People or plants.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
  • jane__ny
    2 years ago

    When I lived in NY I used multiple rain barrels during the warm weather. Over winter it wasn't possible as they froze. I would collect snow and let it melt...crazy. Then I had a RO water system hooked up to my kitchen sink. The tank would make 13 gallons and that became my winter water.


    Since moving to Florida, I have rain barrels catching water from the roof. I use it during the rainy season but do not trust it during long dry spells which is most of the winter. I again had RO installed on my kitchen sink and use that for some orchids. I have too many now to us it exclusively so I do use the hose. When it rains I use the rain water.


    I think the combo works well enough. It is so humid here during the summer you almost don't need to water very often.


    In Florida, I have found nemotodes in the rain barrel water. It bothered me however, I'm not sure if its bad. I now let the barrels empty and pour a little bleach or Physan into the barrels before a rain.


    Jane

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  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
    2 years ago

    Yea, I used to get some weird things growing in my tubs of rain water like blood worms. A few gold fish did the trick. Couldn't use the fish in the smaller drum due to a heavy rain would wash them out. I would end up doing the same as you, wash it out and let dry between rain showers.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5
    2 years ago

    Jane,

    The cap of bleach works - covering them so sun doesn't interact with the water also is a large help.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5
  • Paul MI
    2 years ago

    Those of you with gutters, drain spouts, and barrels ... that's not crazy. Crazy is collecting the tall/deep plastic lids from cakes et cetara and covering your third floor balcony with them to catch rain water or snow.

    My tap water is so heavy in iron that when the fire hydrants are flushed in the spring, the parking lot turns orange. I have a lot of carnivorous plants as well as orchids that are sensitive to mineral salts and need pure water.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Paul MI
  • Lars
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I do not, at least not intentionally, but when I do happen to find rain water collected in containers in my back yard, I do use it. My orchids still bloom regularly, but most of them are watered by rainwater, except during the dry months, which account for most of the year here. I think the main thing that my plants like is having fresh outdoor air all year. And a lot of outdoor plants don't like being watered much at all.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Lars
  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Lars. make a lot of sense. Where do you live? In a tropical climate? What do you use when they do dry out?

    Paul, thanks, my water is horrible too. Stinks. Lots of Magnesium Sulfate which burns the roots of mine and turns the leaves and clay white and crusty, let alone salts and chlorine.

    Photo, you bring up a great point. I too have to collect very clean water and actually wait a few for the debris to stop falling in. I also wash the barrel out so that there is nothing in it. If I use water with debris, I can use my bottle sprayers They get clogged and then break. Someone mentioned using a very fine strainer. I might try that as I am pouring the water into gallon jugs if it gets bad enough.

  • Photo Synthesis
    2 years ago

    It's raining as I type. We have a chance of rain all week. But for the time being, I don't need any rainwater at the moment. I did spend most of the day watering my plants with some diluted fertilizer yesterday. I moved all of my plants outdoors last week, and now that they've had some time to soak up the fertilizer I gave them yesterday, they're getting flushed out with all of this spring rain.


    To collect any rainwater, I just place these flexible plastic buckets on my back porch under the overhang from my roof. It's not an issue right now, but many of the trees are beginning to wake up and bloom, so pollen will be all over everything before you know it. This can make collecting clear rainwater a bit tricky. I haven't tried this yet, but I heard that you can use cheese cloth to strain out any debris. You can find cheesecloth for sale at any grocery store for fairly cheap.


    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Photo Synthesis
  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Photo, what a great idea! I like it. I wish I was getting rain. I think I am becoming another California on the East coast.

    NO snow or rain for months. It'spretty scary. We are going into spring with a deficit of 40 inches of snow and no more rain than a 1/4 inch at any time. Only enough to wet the surface of the soil. I am hoping we get rain. I ran out of full gallon jugs and now I am working on my 32 gallon barrels in the basement full of rain water. Let me tell you the calories I burn going up and down the stairs. lol

  • Photo Synthesis
    2 years ago

    Meyermike, it still fascinates how vast and different our country is and can be. Here where i live in Arkansas, we get a ton of rain and thunderstorms. Which is fine with me, I love thunderstorms. Towards the end of summer, we can sometimes go thru a dry spell. Though the humidity doesn't go away. Just as long as i water my plants, they don't mind the scorching hot weather. Spring and Autumn are my favorite times of the year; not too hot, and not too cold.

    Anyways, I digress. I took a screenshot of the ten-day forecast for my area, just to show you what I was referring to...

    This is a great time for me to collect and bottle up all of the rainwater that I could possibly need. Needless to say that my plants are loving it, HaHa.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Photo Synthesis
  • westoh Z6
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I use to do the exact same thing as PS. Gathered rainwater under downspouts in a large container and then used cheesecloth to strain into smaller containers. It filtered the big chunks out anyhow.

    I also agree about rain, never too much because come mid-late summer I usually wish we had more rain. The only issue, it occasionally interferes with my other hobby of fishing.


    Bob

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  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I use a window screen to cover large opening of rain barrels. I cut large round of it and tie around to secure, so it doesn't get blown away. Some of the barrels have top cover/lid with a ring to secure, so I just store the lid or use as a saucer, and secure window screen with the ring. It filters out lots of quite small debris - there are some needles from evergreens that blown around and on 1 barrel I used also filter cloth to make sure they do not get inside. Water is clean of organic debris, so nothing rots in it. And, screen protects from mosquitoes...

    I have 2 barrels under each of 4 downspouts. They are connected so rain fills up both. There is 1 spout at the bottom of one, so I can get water when needed, and a hose connected to 2nd barrel close to the top for overflow. Hose from overflow goes to a flower bed that is under threes, so it doesn't get as much water even if it rains.

    I usually fill up rain barrel in a breezway with a hose, just before temps start dropping below freezing. It is 55 gal. That, and more water stored in 4 gal jugs (I have 9 of them...) is usually enough to water succulents during winter. But I also get some water when snow starts to thaw, usually few 5gal buckets.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Elena
    2 years ago

    I just have one rainbarrel so I only use the water for the indoor plants. (It would run out far too quickly in my dry California summers otherwise.) It was overdue for cleaning so I've been watching the forecast like a hawk. This week I finally got it drained, scrubbed and bleached ahead of enough rainfall to fill it back up and I'm so pleased! I continue to be amazed at how quickly it fills up from light rain.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Elena
  • aztcqn
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    RIght? The last storm here in Los Angeles was medium heavy and topped off my barrels in one night.


    @ Meyermike

    Heck no, you’re not crazy. Although I might suggest a reservoir with a spigot for your water to make storing easier.


    I definitely collect rainwater. Los Angeles water is hard and will eventually burn my orchids roots with a layer of calcium salts. There are 6x55 gal barrels (all currently full) in my patio, passively collected from patio roof runoff. I took advantage of an L.A. city program giving barrels away during our last drought.


    NO comparison. My orchids LOVE this water, healthy roots, green with no tip die-off on roots or leaves. My collection of echinopsis enjoy a slightly more acid water as well, so they benefit.

    I do carry water in buckets if the watering job is small. I consider it my “cross fit” carry heavy things workout. But, when I need to water all my orchids I will use a pond pump I set in a bucket while leaving the spigot of a barrel open and water all my plants this way. Only real task is unwinding and winding the hose.


    I am grateful for the blessing of rain and what it does for the plants I love. If I ever move I’m taking my orchids. cactus and barrels with me.






    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked aztcqn
  • Paul MI
    2 years ago

    Nice Iwanagara you have there, Aztqn. :-)

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Paul MI
  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Stush, I was going to say the same thing. What a beautiful fish! I also love fish tanks. Too funny, seems like most of us here have the same interests other than the same plants)) Hope you are well and safe these days under the circumstances.

  • suzabanana (6b Boston/N. Shore)
    2 years ago

    I used to but stopped bothering because I didn't see a noticeable difference. What has made the biggest difference in my growing is putting my orchids outdoors over the summer. I ignore them completely when they are outdoors (no supplemental watering) and they adapt. That said, I stopped bothering with orchids that can't handle dry winters indoors. My sunroom gets plenty of light, but is rarely above 30% humidity these days. I have far too many other things on my plate than to worry about my orchids on a daily basis.

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Suza, I thing we all have too much to do much more important than our fussy plants but for me I need the extra drama of them to make my life more baring. Hard to explain. I guess that's the reason we all do it. You are smart to be able to over come your plant addition. I need help.


    Mike, My big fish is a butterfly koi. Love them due to they are easy to care for and live a very long time. Maybe 50 years or so. They are not fussy with the water. No heater required and that saves money. They do require the water changes and that is a pain in the ***. But the good thing is the water is the best for house plants to reuse.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
  • visualdei
    2 years ago

    I used to, then I started my plant business and there's just too many plants and too little rain in California! hopefully once I have my own property I can set up a good rain collection system and make a difference

  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    All my plants get rain water so do I . I drink it bathe in it Flush it ( darn that hurts but I do). The well water around here kills appliances because of its extremely limey character. The water table is about 900' - 1000 ' down We are a 98% rain water dependent. I say 98% because we ran out last Fall and had some trucked in. That was a first time in 12 years. It is a 20K gallon system of 2 10 K gallon tanks. Here are some picks of me hiring some guys to clean our tanks and put some pressure gauges on them to measure the amount of water. I am thinking about putting another tank on our porch which has a 70 X 13' stretch that is not collected. I stop my vegetable garden when Tomatoes stop producing due to heat because watering non stop in Texas heat really eats it up. I do use a system of Ollas in the garden and that reduces the amount of water used . It is better than drip irrigation.


    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    mara

    Great water tanks! I would like those too...

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked rina_Ontario,Canada 5a
  • Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
    2 years ago

    I used to only use tap when I ran out of collected rain water (in 5 gal. buckets) which, never filled up very fast due to lots of large maples around house. Then we got a letter from our city water that said they were adding chloramine to combat the newly-explosive people load to its system. (Ft. Wayne is growing rapidly & they are turning nearby farm country into several little developed “neighborhoods“- 3 new this year!) the letter stated if you were on dialysis or have kidney issues, do not drink this tap. Yikes! (And I worried first about my plants, 2nd about us LOL) I then found out Meijer (similar to Walmart) had gallon jugs of r/o water you could refill for $.33/ea. So I did that, till I got tired of trucking 13 jugs around in my trunk, which would cause commotion when I stopped or turned :0/ So I chucked the jugs & decided to start using water from dehumidifier in basement and also, we have a creek nearby so I run over there & fill up (3) 5-gal. Buckets when I run out of “dehumidifier water”. Kayakers/fishermen look at me oddly as I wade out into creek w/ my rain boots on, big green buckets in hand. I’m like “I paid my water bill! Just getting water for my plants!” 😂 I also melt snow when we get it-“dehumidifier water” is hard to come by in winter.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Rebecca ; Do you have gutters? Put a small 50 gallon tub or 2 under it and sit tight without working so hard. Then go swimming for fun in your creek.. A storm came through last night. I took a bath in rainwater as my husband watched twenty tornado signatures on the radar. It was a dud . we got 1.5 and down the road got three inches. Under Canyon lake got 13" last week. Hit or miss.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
    2 years ago

    Yes, we have gutters. I would LOVE to have rain barrels put under them but I’ll admit, I havent taken the time to research where to find them here. I worry about open containers b/c of mosquitoes but someone mentioned above they lay screen over top of opening to prevent that. I do have plenty of storage totes but that would require me to remove a portion of the downspouts & Im not all that handy. Tornadoes! I absolutely love storms but don’t like to hear of people getting hurt. I drive through Dayton, OH to visit my dad & last Memorial Day, an EF4 hit an area to the north, obliterating several homes in a row but leaving the end-capped ones relatively untouched. The damage is jaw dropping & sad. A brick ranchw/ roof gone & the whole front (exterior) wall of house bowed in like it was hit by a 20-ft tall cannonball!

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Signatures on the radio do not mean that there is a tornado just circulation.They do make us stare at the radar. I did not hear of any touching down.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • westoh Z6
    2 years ago

    I live in the Dayton OH area (Vandalia a north suburb), 14 tornadoes (1 or 2 were F4, the rest lesser) hit the area on 5/27/2019, Memorial Day evening. Pretty scary and there are still areas that haven't recovered or been rebuilt. Tough year for Dayton as they also had a mass shooting last summer and now the 'Chinese Disease' (I definitely blame the Chinese for the world pandemic),


    Bob

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  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago

    I find that plants need less water when it is rain water. Just a suspicion. No scientific proof.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • blue_skink
    2 years ago

    Good for you. I collect some rain water, too, for the garden. The price is right. We do live in the country and have a deep well but when I use the hose to water my garden, that is wear & tear on the pump, isn't it.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked blue_skink
  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
    2 years ago

    Westoh,

    Not the Chinese but the Chinese Communist Party (government). I think that's want you meant.

    Rebecca,

    For mosquitoes, I use mosquito dunks which I buy on line cheaply. I have to put them in a plastic bottle with lots of holes drilled in to keep them from washing out with hard rains. It's been too cold now for use.

    Also check a big hardware store for a insert that goes into the downspout that has a valve (flapper) that diverts it into a drum. Easy switch to go back and forth when ever you want.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago

    Lets not do politics. This is a garden forum. There is always Hot Topics. ... Iam getting my first mosquitos. So it goes.

  • jane__ny
    2 years ago

    Rebecca, I have four rain barrels and they are sealed at the top. No mosquitoes. I'm in South Florida and the mosquitoes are horrible. My gutter spout goes down into the barrel and the top is enclosed. Nothing can get in except the stuff in the gutter but there is a screen on the barrel which prevents that.


    My gutters get full of leaves and they wind up all over the barrel but they do not get inside.


    They weren't expensive, I've had them for years and I think I got them from either Amazon or one of the garden sites. I know I ordered on line. If I find them I'll post a link. They are great and I use them for my orchids.


    Jane

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked jane__ny
  • jane__ny
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Rebecca, this is similar to the barrels I use. I did not pay this price. Mine are clay color but that's not important. The shape is similar.

    This has a area at the top where the gutter fits in. It is covered with a plastic screen. It works well and even if bugs got inside the barrel, they would die because there is no light and no air. I think I bought them about 8 yrs ago for around $50.00.

    Shop around, they are great....

    Jane

    rain barrel

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  • Alain (Pacifica, CA;10a)
    2 years ago

    Collecting rain water as well, however not very useful in the summer here in California. Recently moved out of San Jose to Pacifica, only 40 miles away but a very different climate, still very dry summers but with cooler temps and many foggy days. I will play with fog harp design and see if doable as an alternative to rain water.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Alain (Pacifica, CA;10a)
  • Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.)
    Original Author
    2 years ago

    Alain, what's a fog harp design? Wish there was a way to collect rain out of fog.

    Jane I am thinking about using that during my summer months. Great idea.

  • Alain (Pacifica, CA;10a)
    2 years ago

    Mike, plenty of info on that on YouTube, one example here. It's pretty much a mesh of vertical string that catches fog droplets that accumulate on the strings then fall in a collector. Plenty of DIY options to play with.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jv2GE1xfyUY 

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Alain (Pacifica, CA;10a)
  • Rebecca/N. IN/z6A
    2 years ago

    jane_ny & stush, ty for the advice & helpful link. I lives 7 yrs in FL (Daytona & Orlando) w/ friends in Ft. Lauderdale so I understand the ant. of rain AND mosquitoes!! I don’t miss those no-serums, love bugs & cockroaches though! Ew. But I can’t get the FL out of my blood- I STILL wear a hoodie if temps are less than 75F! I suppose I would need like a hacksaw to shorten the downspout so it fits into the rain barrel? I’m constructionally challenged but have SOME understanding of which tools do which job. LOL Boy that should instill some confidence in my abilities, ay?

  • cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5
    2 years ago

    Rebecca, as someone who lived in San Diego for nearly 20 years, I feel for your temperature sensitivity, But I stand here to tell you, without too much further palaver, that it can go the other way. As long as I have a hoodie on, I have learned to handle temperatures down to 32F or so while wearing shorts. The key, of course, is to not stop using one's legs.


    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked cactusmcharris, interior BC Z4/5
  • HU-130437294
    2 years ago

    my gutter water is really brown, I’ve read squirrel and bird droppings can contaminate it. Do you guys successfully use this water for your house plants? I’m worried about contaminants.


  • HU-130437294
    2 years ago


  • HU-130437294
    2 years ago


  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Have you cleaned your gutters. This looks like tea from leaves in the gutter. I drink my gutter water but my gutters are clean and I chave a leaf collector in my collection system that gets emptied . I also have 2 filters and a anti bacterial UV lamp on mt water system.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago

    What kind of trees are above your roof?

  • Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
    2 years ago

    I never got brown water before. What's your roof like? If we had a long drought it some times gets a little dirty but never that brown.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked Stush2049 Pitts. PA, zone 6
  • wantonamara Z8 CenTex
    2 years ago

    My sister used a weak tea as a fertilizer for her high dollar orchids. Orchids in their native environment get fertilized by tea from the leaves of decomposing leaves in trees.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked wantonamara Z8 CenTex
  • jane__ny
    2 years ago

    I wouldn't worry about brown water. Its from the leaves. I collect in rain-barrels and it doesn't appear brown in my watering cans, but if it was, I wouldn't care. I have lots of oak trees around my house and get my gutters cleaned out every Fall and once in late Spring. The plants don't seem to mind the dirty water.

    Jane

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  • morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
    2 years ago

    I'll go with rotting leaves as well and just go with it. :-) Think of it as a light compost tea, quite literally, from the gutters. Although I might not use it on plants that are intensely sensitive to salts or salt build-up in containers.


    Unlike Jane, I don't have the gutters cleaned. There's fifteen years of &#^@ in there. The gardens, where the downspouts drop into and fan out, look fantastic.


    As I think on it, rainwater wouldn't have the fluoride that tap water does, nor the monochloramine that our municipality uses in the water. That might be an advantage for plants that are a bit sensitive to salts. I have a corn plant that absolutely insists on distilled water.


    My local water is very soft, so that's neither here nor there as far as rainwater goes.


    I swear--utterly without proof--that the fluoride slows growth on some plants as well and that natural rainfall is "better." And yet the photos really don't show much difference between dry and wet summers, so I think I'm just having a bit of confirmation bias on that one. Plus the pots, which see far more house water, grow enormously.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked morpheuspa (6B/7A, E. PA)
  • bea (zone 9a -Jax area)
    2 years ago

    Jane I too collect rainwater. Although I water my GH with water from our well. I like your idea of putting bleach in the rain barrel. Mine is a 30 gallon. How much bleach do you think I should use.

    Meyermike(Zone 6a Ma.) thanked bea (zone 9a -Jax area)