Rainwater Barrel – a garden must-have

In the Pacific Northwest we really do get quite a bit of rain, at least November – April. The good news, you can capitalize on that rain! In an effort to save resources, money, and the environment, it is time to invest in a rainwater barrel or cistern. As you head into the garden off months, this is the perfect project. DSC_0007

3 reasons to invest in a rainwater catchment system:

  1. Save water – For many months of the year, I water my garden beds and other plants in the yard directly from the water I harvest in my rain barrel.
  2. Save money – By watering my yard and garden with rainwater, I am using less water and ultimately saving money on my utilities bill.
  3. Keep waterways clean – Since you are collecting water from gutters on your roof, less storm water is flowing into sewer pipes. Ultimately this keeps our waterways more clean and decreases overflows.

To create your rainwater catchment system, you can either make a rainwater barrel or buy one. If you are in the mood for a project, I found this “How To Build A Rain Barrel” guide. There are also plenty of rainwater barrels available for purchase, this rainwater barrel looks similar to the one that I have. For everything you need to know about a rainwater catchment system, check out King County’s Rain Barrel Information and Sources.

I promise that this investment will give back for years to come. DSC_0008

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Don’t forget to plant flowers

It is easy to get wrapped up in your vegetable garden. I definitely like to focus my energy and efforts on growing food, but almost just as important are flowers. Not only do flowers brighten your yard, but they can fill your house with color, sweet fragrance, and happiness. Plus, they are so easy to grow!

DSC_0005Right now, my yard is full of dahlias, sunflowers, gladiolus, and roses. Do you want these next year? Follow these easy steps:

Dahlias – In May, buy a bag or few (in different colors) of Dahlia tubers (bulbs). Dig holes wherever you want them to sprout up and plant the tubers. It is that simple. They will start to sprout up in July and give you flowers from August – October.

Sunflowers – In May, buy a pack of sunflowers seeds and sow them directly into the ground. Again, spread themDSC_0002 around your yard, especially in sunny spots. These will also start to sprout up in July and be in full bloom from August – October.

Gladiolus – Same schedule, in April or May (after your Spring frost) plant these bulbs in the ground and enjoy their bright colors starting in July. Be sure to plant in full sun. Good news, these perennials will reproduce for blooms next year!

Roses – These definitely take a lot more TLC than dahlias and sunflowers, but it will be worth it. Spring is an ideal time to plant bare root roses or container grown roses. Be sure to choose a spot that has full sun. I planted a container grown rose bush in May and had roses all summer and into the Fall. The most important thing is to harvest the roses so that they continue to sprout new rose blooms.

I just purchased ranunculus and tulip bulbs to plant in the ground within the next few weeks for blooming in the Spring. Last year, I planted daffodils and tulips at this time, which will reproduce again next Spring.

Before you know it, you will have flowers year round to enjoy outside and inside of your home! DSC_0004