My barrels, let me show you them.
Here they are.
That’s the inside of what our friends call our “Chester the child molester van,” but what we simply call “big red.” Receding into the distance is the Hyattsville Pepsi bottling plant, where these 4 food-grade barrels came from. Two are 55 gallons, two are 30 gallons. All are intended to go around the edge of my house to be used as rain barrels, though we may end up not making use of them all.
Pepsi charges a nominal $5 per barrel fee to sell them to you, which is a steal compared to what you’d pay a commercial outfit. In fairness, I’m going to have to put on the necessary attachments myself before they can be used, to say nothing about washing out some leftover syrup sludge. Unless you can tell me for sure that tomato plants and daffodils are fans of lemon-lime, that is.
If you’re not quite as cheap & handy as I am (in that order) you can pick up barrels from the Arlington Echo Outdoor Education Center. $60 is more than the $5 plus parts and time I’ll spend, but you won’t have to show up in Hyattsville at 6:30am to be assured of getting one either.
If you like to walk the path less
traveled sensible as I do, instructions for making a barrel are provided here by the Maryland Environmental Design Program or you can use the contact link and ask the Fairfax Country Conservation District program to contact you the next time they run a rain barrel construction workshop.
If you’re thinking this sounds a little too hippie-dippy for you, I had some initial qualms about that as well. However I pretty much made up my mind to do it because of two things. One of them is probably unique to me: the previous tenants in our house left behind a number of soaker hoses, so we’d like to make use of them. The other factor I am sure applies to you as well: water is expensive. Since Arlington – and many regions - base our sewer bill on our water consumption, we don’t just pay the $3.34 for each 1,000 gallons we pour out onto our lawn and garden – we also pay an additional $5.86 to cover the cost of spiriting it away down the drain and off to the stinky water treatment plant… even though there’s no drain in our vegetable garden.
So if I put all 4 of my barrels to use, that’ll be a combined 170 gallons of water on hand to use rather than the $1.56 worth that comes out of the tap. Not a money saver right out the door, but combined with the lazyness factor of letting the soaker hoses do the work without any accompanying worry about them rupturing and costing me money, I think it’ll be worth it.
Besides, it’s yet another do it yourself project I can add to my overstocked pile. What more could I ask for?