Drunken Plants

Want your own aesthetically pleasing rain catcher?  Most of the reasonably priced rain catchers for sale are made from ugly plastic containers.  Therefore, I’ve held off from incorporating a rain catcher into our landscape since plastic is not part of the decor.  I’m not sure where I first saw the wine barrel rain catcher, but I knew that was the solution I was looking for as soon as I saw it.  Ironically, it was raining too much for us to pick up the barrels when I was first inspired.

Follow these steps to create your own wine barrel rain catcher.

Step 1:  Go to the wine country to pick up barrels in your dad’s van.

Step 2:  Load a 7/8 spade bit onto your  drill .  You’ll need to make a few holes.

The source of the water is the downspout from the rain gutter.  We cut the gutter about  six inches above the barrel and attached a flexible hose.  Next, we traced the outline of  the hose so we knew where to cut.  It is better for the hole to be a little too small than too big because you want a tight fit for the hose.  We drilled four holes in the corners and connected the dots with the saw-zaw.  The oak was about 3/4 inches thick and wasn’t the easiest to cut into.

The final holes go on the side.  One at the top and one at the bottom.  Since we plan on leaving the gutter hose attached all of the time, we needed a way for the overflow to drain out.  Hence, the hole at the top.  The bottom hole should be far enough down to minimize the amount of unused water, but high enough to fit a watering can or bucket.

I assumed I could connect a water hose to the bottom and the weight of water would force it out.  Newton’s law gets me again since the hose would be above the opening and gravity would prevent the water from jumping up and out of the house.  Oh well, a watering can will work just fine. Step 3:  Plug all of the holes.

Insert the gutter hose to the top and a bung in the bung hole.  My friends and I call each other bung holes.  I thought it was a word they made up.  Apparently not.  Fun fact:  a bung is a stopper for the opening of a cask so a bung hole is the opening itself.

To attach the spigot you’ll need silicone, a rubber washer and an un-threaded spigot.

Put the rubber washer and a layer of silicone around the base of the spigot.  I layered it on like toothpaste on a toothbrush.  Next, insert the spigot into the freshly drilled hole and watch the excess silicone ooze out to form the outer seal.  Let it cure for at least 24 hours to make sure you have a good seal.

Lastly, don’t forget to elevate the barrel.  Air needs to circulate underneath to prevent dry rot.  You wouldn’t want your barrel to unexpectedly deluge your yard because moisture loving fungus attacked your wood.  We used  three 1/2 inch pavers to lift it up.

Step 4:  Squeeze any remnants of wine into a glass.  Drink.  Relax.

Notice that we put the spigots on the side with the least amount of traffic to make it look like a plain barrel.

Finally, wait for a few April showers to catch rain water and reap the wine soaked water.  Fill your watering can and quench the thirst of your drunken plants.

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2 Responses to Drunken Plants

  1. Rob-Dawg says:

    Very interesting… The final product looks amazing!

    Do you ever plan on cleaning the inside? Is there a filter on the gutter to prevent leaves from coming down?

    My parents went with the plastic container method and they like it (even though it is very much an eye sore). Instead of a drainage spigot on the top, they built a selector above the tubing that allows them to direct water away from the rain barrel and drain normally if the barrel fills up. They had to do that a couple times last season during some of the big storms. I’ll send you a picture of there setup next time I am at their house.

    • nailpolishpaint says:

      Yes, there is a filter at the top of the gutter to prevent big leaves from getting in. We can’t take the lid off and the barrel alone weighs about 100 lbs so we probably won’t be cleaning it.

      I was also thinking about doing the diverter in the gutter, but couldn’t find the parts at Lowes. I hope the spigot is good enough since it is considerably smaller than the gutter and will take a little longer to drain. Worst comes to worst, we take the flexible gutter off and let that drain straight to the ground. The plastic containers are ok if you can hide them, but as you can see, ours is in the middle of our patio.

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