Allow Me to Rave About My Rain Barrels

Teresa Roberts
4 min readAug 7, 2022

On the Road to Self-Reliance

All hail the rain barrel (my photo)

I own two rain barrels.

But before I start raving about rain barrels, let me issue a warning. I’ve included quite a few photos in this article. If you don’t like photos, you might find the scroll tedious.

Okay, let me begin again. I own two rain barrels.

One is connected to a rain spout on the corner of my house in the backyard. You can see it in the lead photo. It kind of matches the house. It’s amazing how quickly it fills to the brim with water if and when it rains. In a matter of a few minutes it’s full.

Of course, I have a garden hose connected to city water as well, but I rarely have to use it.

It’s there in case I run out of rain water. The spigot on the rain barrel is high enough from the ground that I can place a bucket under it, fill it to the top, and then carry it around and spot water my garden. I have an old glass mason jar that I use to scoop water out of the bucket and then empty at the base of various plants. It works well.

I’m convinced that gardening is good for my mental health. (my photo)

I do a lot of container gardening.

I started a few years ago. I like it because it cuts down on weeding and I can move things around. If I get tired of a portion of my garden, I just lift the bucket and move it elsewhere or get rid of it entirely.

Container garden against a fence (my photo)

I’ve grown tons of tomatoes and green beans in containers. I also have raised beds which are handy because I can put chicken wire around them and little critters aren’t able to get inside. Although my resident chipmunk has found a way once or twice. I place containers within the raised bed as well. So once again, I can move them around. In the spring, I started a lot of plants in containers in the raised beds that I later moved to my fence row. Then I rearranged the containers that remained so they weren’t so crowded.

Container gardening within raised beds (my photo)

I don’t live in an an area of the US where there’s a water shortage.

So, I’m not using my rain barrels because I’m forced to collect water. I do it because I think my plants prefer rain water. I also hate to waste anything even when there’s an adequate supply.

I don’t live on a farm or in the country.

My house is in an association neighborhood at the edge of a city of over 260,000 people. It sits on a lot of less than a third of an acre. I’ve raised green beans, loads of tomatoes, swiss chard, beet greens, radishes, kale, spinach and herbs at one time or the other.

It’s amazing how much food you can grow on a small piece of property.

I’m convinced that gardening is good for my mental health as well as a useful survival skill. I can’t explain how it makes me feel when I spend a few hours watering, weeding, rearranging, deadheading, and talking to my plants. Yes, I talk to my plants. I love that my garden attracts bees, butterflies, birds of all kinds, and other critters.

I grow sunflowers for the birds. They deserve it.

My husband has volunteered more than once to raise my rain barrel higher off the ground with cement blocks. I think I’ll take him up on that next year. I’m still pretty spry but as we age little accommodations help.

You’ll see!

I generally paint my buckets and cement blocks when I have the time. I love bright colors. Quite a few years ago, I tried to design my backyard and patio area with a Mexican talavera twist. I’ve spent many, many months in Mexico and love the way they use color. No drab grays, browns and beiges in the village.

My tiny backyard (my photo)

As I continue my move toward more self-reliance, gardening remains at the top of my list of acquired skills. Do you have any interesting garden habits that have saved you water and time?

Please feel free to share.

Teresa is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.



Teresa Roberts

Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. She’s also a top writer on climate change and the future.