More Dreams Realized or My Project List Gets Longer

Just this afternoon I made a list of uncompleted projects I have; six was the total. Far to many. This week no new projects will start, but I will finish at least half of my projects.  Fortunately, I think the warmer temperatures and sunny days are “scheduled” so I should wrap most of these projects up.

The middle of last week was nice and warm so I went out to measure my garden beds to make sure I have the room I planned on.  The square garden’s outer beds were a foot short.  After two years of having to install completely new garden beds, extending two beds by a foot is no big deal. This is one project on my list I hope to finish this week.

The bed needs to be extended to have room to plant flowers in my garden plan

It felt great to be outside working in the garden and to be able to take a picture of garden work.

Yesterday I started a project I have been planning for about two years.  Our home water supply is a shallow well, and after last summer’s extended dry we have been talking about ways to water the garden during those dry times.  Installing rain barrels is part of the solution, however, the $100 versions at the home centers is not financially optimal.  So I have been learning about how to make rain barrels.  The most helpful source of information was the class I took from my local Cooperative Extension Office.  In the class they actually demonstrated making the barrel, which I found very helpful.

Start with a clean, and safe barrel.  You want to use a barrel that contained food safe for human consumption.

A local store sells these barrels. It had some type of food product in it.

Assemble to tools and supplies you will need.

Eye protection (I need all the readers I can get), ear protection, saw, measuring device, and marker

I used a reciprocating saw, a combination square, and sharpie to keep me cutting straight.

The first cut is to remove the top, so measure down and inch or two and draw a line all the way around.

The cut should be before where the barrel flares out again

The top cut off.

Then measure a minimum of an inch, but more likely two and mark all the way around the barrel.

I used a piece of scrap metal to help mark evenly around the barrel

This cut is tricky because the barrel lost strength and stability when the top was cut off, so be careful.

This is the goal, the top resting on top of the barrel. The cut scraps (below) give you an idea of how much I cut off.

There are several ways to get the water into the barrel.  The simplest way is to cut a large hole and cover it with screen.  The screen is important to keep out debris and to help limit mosquito growth.

Instead of screen I am using these gutter adaptors I found last year.

This is how the barrel will work when connected to the house gutter system.

After the top is cut and fits well, and the hole is cut for the gutter adaptor you are almost done.  The barrel should be cleaned with soap and water several times. Then drill two holes, one near the bottom for the spigot, then at about 90 degree closer to the top a hole for the overflow pipe. After all the holes and pieces are completed take some plastic screen and cover the top of the barrel, and put the top back on.Finally, put three to four screw in the side to hold the top down.

I still need to do these last steps, another item on my project list.

The seedlings are doing well, I was particularly excited to see my celery come up this week.  They are a tiny plant, according to my seed directions after they come up I can keep them at a slightly lower temperature.

Top Left - Tomatoes; Top Right - Celery; Bottom Left - Onions; Bottom Right - More Tomatoes

Hopefully, I will need the heater running for a few more days.  It sure has gotten busy, but it is fun.

Enjoy this season, learn from last season, and look forward to next season.

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4 responses to “More Dreams Realized or My Project List Gets Longer

  1. That’s a whole lot of cutting! Rain barrels are great, here’s how I did it a couple years ago: http://www.gastronomicgardener.com/vegetable-garden-planting-and-rain-barrel-installation/

    There is less cutting involved, and the barrels filled evenly. Just a thought if you want to add more barrels at a different downspout latert.

  2. Excellent start! I too have been reading up on rain barrels lately – what you’ve done is inspiring! How great that you were able to take a workshop and learn about how to make one. I think finding the 55-gallon drum will be the trickiest part here. Your seedlings are looking great!

  3. Rainbarrels are so awesome. I wish I had ten of them. Thanks for all the good information and letting me know to come take a look. I also checked out the link to the multiple barrels. nice. I

  4. My friends own a winery and receive lots of grapes (consumable by humans in may forms). It’s another source of barrels and they often give them away.

    Can’t wait to see which plant pokes up next.

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