Rain barrel workshops were started in 2008 as a partnership between the Extension Master Gardeners and the Northern Neck Soil and Water Conservation District. The Northern Neck Master Gardeners soon took over this project, conducting workshops and offering rain barrels for sale at venues such as farmers markets and special events.
Workshops have taught members of the community how to build more than 600 rain barrels. The 50 gallon recycled pickle and olive barrels have been made into a functional and affordable rain barrels, complete with a spigot, screened lid to keep out mosquitoes and debris, and 2 overflow pipes to carry water away from the barrel itself. While we no longer conduct workshops, rain barrels are still available for sale.
Capturing water from a downspout, the barrel provides storage for future watering needs. This water can then be distributed through a spigot and hose attachments. Rainfall of more than 1/3 inch can easily fill a 50 gallon barrel.
Rain barrels provide the homeowner with a source of clean, sodium-free water for the garden, limiting dependence on well water for garden needs.
Additionally, rain barrels reduce run-off from rain events into nearby streams and rivers and ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. The environment benefits from reduced flow of sediment and fertilizers from gardens and lawns into local waterways.
Ready-made rain barrels are available from a number of commercial sources.
Virginia Cooperative Extension programs and employment are open to all, regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. An equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.