Rain Barrel & Garden Planning

Celeste Longacre

While it’s been cold in a good deal of the country this winter, it’s still time to begin thinking about next year’s garden.

What did you most enjoy? Which crops grew the best for you? What would you like to try different this year?

The Almanac offers a great Garden Planner to which you can subscribe here. If that doesn’t interest you, grab a notebook and make your own garden plan.

  • Remember, it’s important to rotate crops so you’ll want to be able to refer to your old garden plans from last year and the preceding one. I have a three year rotation; four is even better, but I don’t have the space.
  • Think about which plants will get tall and put them at the back of the garden so they don’t throw their shadows on the shorter ones.

If you like to start your own onion plants, now is the time. They can be sown in flats. Seed catalogues are arriving in the mail and now is the time to go through them and put in your order. The early bird does get the worm in this case as they often run out of certain varieties.  I always mark the varieties I want to purchase with a yellow marker and turn down the page so I can find them quickly when I’m making up the actual order.

Now is also a good time to think about incorporating something new into the garden. We have a rain barrel that collects all of the rain water that comes off of our wood shed roof. In the spring, Bob sets up a gutter system to gather it into a 50 gallon drum at the bottom. This drum sits up on some wood to get it up off of the ground. We put some screen at the top of the downspout to catch any leaves or twigs that have landed on the roof. There is a spigot at the bottom of the rain barrel which can either be attached to a hose or used to fill a watering can.

It’s a good idea to clean out the rain barrel periodically with a garden hose. Bits of shingles can sometimes get dislodged and end up there. I don’t use this water for drinking or giving to the chickens for drinking but I do use it for cleaning up messy nest boxes and to water the garden.

Because so many of us have been dealing with winter’s white, I’m going to include some colorful summer pictures here. Enjoy!


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i have rain barrel but do not

i have rain barrel but do not use on my vegetable garden because i have asphalt shingles use for my flowers

Closed Rain Barrel Design I

Closed Rain Barrel Design

I have assembled some instructions for using a rain diverter with a rain barrel. This is a very reliable design that will not overflow your barrel and does not require a separate overflow.