Install a rain barrel to keep that garden growing

We’re entering the hot stretch of summer, when temperatures hover in the 90s and rain doesn’t arrive often enough to keep our vegetables and flowers sufficiently watered.

It also means the water table will start to drop. In fact, the U.S.G.S. is already showing areas of the state that are nearing — or already in — a drought. rb-f5-1

One of the simplest ways to keep your plants from wilting while still conserving water is to install a rain barrel (or several). We’ve written about this often in the past , but it’s important enough that the topic bears repeating.

Rain barrels collect water that your spouting would otherwise divert away from your house. By diverting a downspout into a barrel — we use 50 gallon barrels — it can be stored until you need to give the plants a drink. It’s simple to set one up (there are many tutorials online — here’s one to get you started.) and you can often find free barrels that can be converted into a rain-collecting system by searching on Craigslist or Freecycle. Just make sure your barrel wasn’t used for chemicals.

You can also buy one at just about any big-box store, through online retailers such as Amazon, or at hardware stores and garden centers.