Friday, April 30, 2010

Double Barreled Watering

Several years ago I started growing potatoes on the hill above our cabin. There wasn't much soil up there, but over the years thanks to composting and carrying some peat and manure up the hill, I've built up a nice little plot. A big drawback, however, is that it's a long ways above lake level and water in buckets is VERY heavy. Even though we got lots of rain in the spring, summer can get pretty dry.

Soon after starting my hillside garden, my good friend John designed a water barrel and rain catchment system. Because of the hilly location, he could install the system higher on the hill and gravity would feed a hose for easy (if a bit low in pressure and slow) watering.

A heavy duty plastic tarp is suspended between three trees. A 2X4 angles the tarp towards a large funnel into the top hole of a 55 gallon plastic barrel. It has remained in place through many wind storms over the last three years. Then this last month, John upgraded my system by adding a second storage barrel.

The two barrels are connected by a hose at the bottom (click the picture to the left for a better view). As the first barrel fills, the second barrel follows suit. This was a fairly easy expansion. The hose attachment to the first barrel didn't even have to be altered. Just as the water level rises equally between both barrels, the outflow draws equally between them. Now when it gets dry this summer I'll have twice the watering power with my "double barreled" watering system. Thanks so much John. -- Margy


  1. John is so clever, great idea.


  2. Good job on the rain barrels and collectors--I was reading in High Country News about southwest residents (Arizona?) getting arrested for collecting rain water from their roofs--seems ag users are zealous about their water rights.

  3. It is a against the law to have a rain barrel collection system in Colorado, because of the water rights that were given to people downstream! So if is best to have a semi hidden system. Although I have not heard of anyone arrested, several have been told to take their systems out here in Colorado Springs


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy