Your Green Life: "Rain Gardens and Rain Barrels"

By KBJR News 1

August 4, 2010 Updated Aug 4, 2010 at 2:16 PM CST

Summer temperatures were close to normal this season, but after a very wet start during the month of June, it left August thirsty for rain.

During hot and dry times like this, up to 40 percent of household water gets used in the yard.

But there are ways to conserve water like collecting excess rainwater.
Steps like this are important for the environment as meteorologist Shannon Murphy explains in, "Your Green Life."

Many gardeners spend countless hours and many dollars keeping their plants alive during the dog days of summer.

But some green thumbs have taken some green tips by incorporating rain gardens into their landscaping.

"It's one of the good solutions for treating storm water run–off from given areas. They can be used in place of holding ponds. And provide some natural systems to treat ground water or storm water and return it to the ground water." -Joel Peterson, MPCA

Pollutants and sediment get swept off streets from the currents of heavy rain.

But the amount of run–off can be reduced through the filtering system of a rain garden.

Plants that are best for rain gardens include standard garden plants, wild flowers, swamp grass, trees, or any plant that likes having their feet wet.

"Native plants often have a better root system than our local grasses that you put in your lawn."

But even rain gardens need water during the parched periods of summer.

Capturing the abundance of rain during the wet times can make times of drought better for your plants and the environment.

"The plants like the rain water much better than ground water because it doesn't have the minerals in it, and its ambient temperature so they don't get shocked by cold water."

Just one half an inch of rain on an average size yard can allow you to capture up to 200 gallons of water in your rain barrel.

And not only can that easy–to–make rain barrel save rainwater from becoming wastewater, but it can reduce your summer water bills at the same time.

In Duluth, Meteorologist Shannon Murphy, the Northland's NewsCenter.

Tips on making your own rain barrel:

1. Plan to place barrels in areas that will work best for you, near gardens or areas you want to send overflow.
2. You can raise barrels up on blocks for better water pressure and ease in filling watering cans.
3. If you use a soaker hose off a barrel make sure your screening is good. Add a hose filter at the connector to catch debris or algae that could clog the hose.
4. A barrel catching air conditioning condensate will fill in hot dry weather when other barrels are not filling.

For actually information on the construction of your own rain barrel you can click on the following link:
http://duluthstreams.org/stormwater/toolkit/rainbarrels.html

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