A barrel of wine can only produce a single vintage, after which it is usually broken or pulled. Since the well-built barrel can remain sturdy for years, this practice seems a waste. With a little time and effort, you can turn a barrel of wine into a bowl for rainwater, which can then be used to grow an outdoor garden. In this way, you can put two items to good use that would have been left out.
Preparation of the barrel
- Fill the barrel from a garden hose to determine if it is airtight, especially if it has holes. Seal the holes correctly.
- Dig a hole near the base of the cylinder, just a little narrower than its pin. The force of gravity will move the water, so the smaller the spike, the greater its access to water in the barrel. Insert the dowel.
- Select a location for your barrel; it will be placed under a down tube so you can pick up the rain quickly. Locate it near the plants you want water so that the hose can be reached.
- Place the cement blocks so they can support the weight of the cylinder. Do not allow any cannon to go over the edge of the blocks. Raise the spike higher than the plants you plan to water with the rain barrel.
- Make a hole in the top of the barrel large enough to fit your rain peak. If it is a space between the wood and the spout, attach a fine mesh sheet over the opening. The mesh prevents mosquitoes from using the barrel as a breeding ground, as well as minimizing the amount of debris it enters.
- Place the hose on the tap. Use the garden hose to fill the barrel to give the apparatus a test.
Tips & Warnings
- If your barrel appears to contain enough water for your needs, boost the system with a second barrel. Just repeat the process of making the barrel of rain; then place another hose to the new barrel from the top of the old one. The drain of the original barrel will fill the second one.
- Humans and animals should not use stored water in this way as bacteria can grow in untreated water which can have serious health consequences. After conversion, you can decorate the rain barrel.
- Significant amounts of water are surprisingly heavy. According to Robinson’s rain barrels, they can weigh up to 200 pounds easily. Even a properly insured rain barrel carries the potential of an accident. Be alert about safety when using the irrigation system per barrel of rain.
- If you live in a place where the temperature drops below zero, you must remove the barrel during the winter. The water expands when it freezes, which will damage the barrel.