Yesterday was part 1 of watering accessories, where we discussed watering timers and hose splitter, how to use them individually as well as together, and pros & cons of each. Today I’d like to discuss rain chains and water barrels.
Rain chains are a fabulous way to keep your garden aesthetically please while allowing you a level of control over where your water goes. They start at about $35 and the cost goes up from there. Basic rain chains are simply a chain of basic links that channel the water down to wherever you put it, but these can be somewhat inefficient, with more water getting splashed onto whatever is around the chain than down to the bottom of the chain. Other chains are shaped like flowers or cups and have a defined funnel, which means almost all of the water goes where you want it, and doesn’t splash off. Standard chains come at a length of 8 1/2 feet, but custom lengths can be purchased from most places for an up charge.
If you’re really creative and have the materials, you can make your own for significantly less than you would pay at a retailer. You can find installation instructions here. Another advantage of rain chains is the pleasant sound of the tinkling water. You may think that rain chains are a new idea, but that is false, rain chains have been used for thousands of years in China, and even in South America (chain is easier to come by than machined downspouts there).
Water barrels are a way to store rain water and use it when you need to. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes- some look like stone vases, some are made of PVC, and others are just large 55 gallon plastic barrels. You can place a barrel at the bottom of your down spout or rain chain, and when it rains you’ll know that you’ve got plenty of water to use. Most water barrels have a spout at the bottom to attach your hose to. I do not recommend attaching a drip system to your rain barrel due to the serious decrease in pressure. Water comes out of a rain barrel at approximately 8 PSI, whereas the spigot that is attached to your house has a PSI of about 40 PSI. However, it is ok to attach a soaker hose to a water barrel. For more answer to common questions about rain barrels, check out this website.