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Is It Safe to Use Rain Barrel Water to Water Vegetables?

is it safe to use rain barrel water to water vegetables

More and more people are looking to be as eco-friendly as possible. They aim to use as little excess energy as possible and one of the best ways to do this is to cut down on the intake of clean, processed water.

Water that comes out of your tap at home has been chemically treated to ensure that it is safe to drink. This means that a lot of energy has been consumed in order to make it safe for consumption. Whereas humans need to drink cleaned and sterilized water, plants do not.

So, is it safe to use rain barrel water to water vegetables? The simple answer is yes, it is safe. Your plants do not need the same conditions of water that we do. This means that you can save a lot of money by using rainwater for your vegetables as well as cut down on your energy use.

How Do You Use a Rain Barrel to Water a Garden?

Even if you live in an area where there is a lot of rain, and so your garden will naturally get a lot of rain, if you have any plants that require an excessive amount of water, or they dry out very quickly in the heat of the sun, then using a rain barrel to give them a little extra boost is a good idea.

By keeping a rain barrel you can water your plants whenever they need it without having to rely on the chemical-based water that comes from your kitchen sink. So, how do you use a rain barrel to water a garden?

The process is incredibly simple. Once you have your rain barrel set up then you can either use a hose or a watering can to water your garden. If it is only a small patch of land that needs watering then choosing a watering can will be ideal as the job will be quick.

To do this simply dunk the watering can into the rain barrel (making sure it is firstly clean on the outside if you indeed to also use the rain barrel for other purposes such as washing clothes or drinking).

Once your can is full simply water your garden as much as desired and where needed.

The other method is to use a garden hose. If this is your method of choice then you will need to make sure that the rain barrel is elevated (to a height higher than the area that you want to water). This will allow the water to flow easily down the hose thanks to gravity.

If you want to make the process even easier then you can also attach a drip irrigation system to the rain barrel. Doing this when then allow you to simply flick a valve open to let the water flow down to your garden. However, with this method, you should also make sure that you have irrigated your garden properly. 

This is because the water from your barrel will flow naturally along your irrigation lines and will not target specific areas (like the watering can).

If done correctly your garden will flourish, but if done incorrectly then you may find that certain parts become flooded easily whilst other sections get little to no water. 

We recommend using a rain barrel that is leak-proof and has a high capacity if you utilize rainwater for many daily chores. This collapsible rain barrel by Vingli is high-quality, portable, and reusable. It comes in 50, 66, and 100 gallon tanks.

How Do You Make Rainwater Safe for Plants?

The great thing about using rainwater for plants is that it is already perfect! There is no need to treat it or add anything to it. Once you have collected enough you can simply store it correctly and then only touch it when needed. There is no constant maintenance, unlike with drinking water.

Tap water uses chlorine as a cleaning agent which is good for humans but bad for plants. Rainwater is free from this chemical meaning that it a much safer (and more natural) alternative. That is because almost all types of plant can react to chlorine by what is know as “chlorine toxicity”. This can change the color of leaves and even burn your plants.

Thankfully you will not need to remove any extra chemicals from rainwater – you can simply leave it be. There is no need to filter it.

Additionally, rainwater contains other nutrients that can be very beneficial to your garden’s health. These can include things such as nitrate and ammonium, which gives plants their green color and can make them look much more vibrant. 

The only thing that you will need to do to make rainwater safe for plants is to ensure that it is kept in a clean barrel. This is so that there are no other contaminants that may negatively affect your plants.

These can include anything from bird poop to pesticides and they can be detrimental to the health of your garden.

How to Keep Your Rain Barrel Clean

So, in order to keep your rain barrel clean you should complete the following steps:

  • Place your barrel away from any trees or structures. If you must place it near something then install a filter to remove any contaminants that may enter the water. 
  • Empty and clean the barrel at least once every week. This will remove any unwanted things such as mosquitos and bacteria. This will also remove any growth from the tank. 
  • Clean the tank using bleach. This will remove any harmful bacteria, but be sure to thoroughly rinse as the bleach will be harmful to your plants.
  • If mosquitos are a problem, add a few drops of oil to the barrel. This oil will form a protective layer over the top (and will not harm your plants) but will stop mosquitos from getting into the barrel.

As long as you keep the water as pure as possible then your plants will thank you for it. Rainwater is the perfect source of water for your plants and garden. It contains all the good nutrients that they need whilst not having any of the added chemicals that are found in tap water. 

Final Thoughts

Rainwater is a great source of water when it comes to your plants or garden. Not only is it a free resource but it is also incredibly environmentally friendly, reducing the amount of energy that is needed for tap water. Since your garden will require a lot of watering this can also save you immense amounts of money in the long run.

Using rainwater to water vegetables is perfectly safe and is actually better than using hard tap water. The soft water contains everything that your plants need. As long as you store the water in a rain barrel correctly, keeping it free of any pests, bad bacteria or algae then you can use this source alone to water your vegetables.

If you find that the rainwater is contaminated in any way then it is best to add a filter. Even if you are unsure this can be a good idea as it will keep your plants healthy and free of any unwanted chemicals. If you keep your barrel clean you can also use it for other purposes. Keep in mind that your vegetables will need a lot of water in the warmer months. 

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