An easy to construct rain water collector for the home garden
In 2007, the city of Nacogdoches, Texas, gave a 7 acre plot of undeveloped land near downtown to the Nacogdoches Master Gardeners. At one time, the land was the site of a chicken processing plant. Following the closure of the plant, the land sat empty for many years. When the Master Gardeners approached City Fathers with a plan to turn it into a demonstration garden, they knew they had a win-win situation on hand: blighted land would be beautified and the Master Gardeners could have a "living laboratory" for educational purposes.
Since 2007, the Master Gardeners have created a butterfly garden, laid down azalea and camellia beds, and planted a large bulb garden to beautify the boulevard of a busy city street. The 7 acres also displays a variety of common Texas trees and shrubs such as the bald cypress, maple, oak, sycamore, and crape myrtles. They also planted a large vegetable garden and, because the Master Gardeners are a teaching organization, they're on hand Friday mornings from 9-12 to answer questions from tour groups or garden visitors.
In addition to laying down more than 4,000 feet of drip and irrigation lines, the Gardeners have designed and installed a rain water collection system that substantially cuts down on water costs and makes the most of what nature provides for free.
The photograph here (above) provides all the information needed to construct a similar rain collection system for the home or market gardener. The materials needed are 2x4s, a sheet of galvanized or tin roofing, a gutter to catch runoff, and plastic or metal downspouts connecting the gutter to a 55 gallon barrel. The barrel has a spigot threaded for a garden hose. For planning purposes the roof should slant at least 5 degrees but no more than 10 degrees.
We'll be constructing this innovative and simple rain catcher sometime in the next few weeks. Recycled materials--construction waste and so on--will be used as much as possible. We'll keep you posted about our progress. In the mean time, we hope you'll construct a Nacogdoches Rain Collector too. Let us know how it goes!