Thursday, December 3, 2009

JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS----------GIFT CERTIFICATES------------

WICHITA RAIN BARRELS now offers Gift Certificates!
Want to get you favorite gardener a GREAT GIFT?
Get them a gift certificate and let them choose the color this spring !
Just email me and we can make all the arrangements!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Here is a VERY CREATIVE hydroponics setup using a WICHITA RAIN BARREL








Below is a great hydroponics set up that a client of Wichita Rain BArrels has done. He has had great success with it. Here is a bit of info he sent me.

 These pics are a few of my proto-type gardens I built myself.  Not prettiest things in the world but they save on maintanence (weeding, daily watering, etc.).  I never have to do anything but look under the lids and make sure the water level is up to par. 

 
I'm in the middle of building another one that I plan on selling in the next growing season, the one that auto fills itself and is simular to the "earth box".  I might try to grow some winter crops like lettuce or brocolli just to see what happens. 
 
A few quick tid-bits about the gardens, the large "stand up" one is called a NFT (nutrient film technique) system and is great for pretty much anything as long as you don't mind the roots traveling down the hoses, but my pepper plants got a little top heavy late in the season (maybe something smaller next year).  The tub looking one is a aero system in which the roots of the plants are suspended in the air and a sprinkler system mists the roots.  The Aero is best for your larger plants, see the picture of the roots of my 2 tomato plants under the lid. I built a 2 tub system, but never filled the whole thing up (too late in the season), maybe next year.  Both systems need nutrients (macro AND micro nutrients) put into the water which I get cheap online, cheap for hydroponics that is, and I use a TDS/pH combo meter (these get REALLY expensive) to measure the correct amounts about 1 time a month.   I have only filled the Aero up once this summer (about 20 gallons, and the NFT about 4 gallons every 2 weeks since the supply is smaller and it evaporates. Anyway, if you have any other questions feel free to call/email me.  I LOVE TALKING ABOUT IT.
Joe Nestelroad

 Thanks Joe for ALL THIS GREAT INFO! If anyone wants to send me a request I will forward it on to him.
 





NFT (nutrient film technique) system


Friday, August 14, 2009

Wichita launches a new project to clean up the Arkansas

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Wichita WRAPS Banner
City of Wichita launches WRAPS project
The City of Wichita Environmental Services Department is launching a new project aimed at improving the water quality of the Arkansas River and its tributaries that flow through the city.
The Wichita Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) will help identify water quality priorities and actions. The initiative is funded by a $50,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) as part of its Kansas Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy. KDHE has assigned a high priority for restoration of the river basin in the Wichita area.Wichita WRAPS will focus on restoring the Lower Arkansas River Basin watershed.
“We’ve known for a long time that the Lower Arkansas River Basin does not meet surface water quality standards and have taken actions for improvements”, said Kay Johnson, Environmental Services Director. “However, this grant permits us to engage citizens in determining the interests and needs of the community for watershed protection. We’d also like to find partners to help implement water quality improvement actions.”
The project will begin with a developmental phase to identify community interest, followed by three additional phases of assessment, planning and implementation.
The City will use the grant funds to retain Geotechnical Services, Inc., (GSI) to gather citizen input and hold informational community meetings. The project also includes launching a Web site for posting local Arkansas River water quality information and an online survey.
For more information about Wichita WRAPS or upcoming community meetings, visit www.wichitawraps.org . E-mail questions and comments can be submitted to info@wichitawraps.org.
Project funded by an EPA Section 319 grant

Could You Be a Stakeholder?

Anyone with an interest in the watershed's resources is a stakeholder. In reality, everyone who lives in a watershed is a stakeholder in the restoration and protection of that watershed.

Examples of stakeholders include urban and rural residents; local, state or federal government agencies; elected officials; agricultural producers; recreational users and wildlife enthusiasts.

If you are interested in participating as a stakeholder fill out the stakeholder information form and someone will contact you within 48 hours.

Take the Stakeholder Survey

click here

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

New Custom Painted Rain Barrels





Here are three new custom painted Wichita Rain Barrels done by a local artist by the name of Michael Hunter. These will probably be the last three he will do. He is packing his belongs up and moving to Fairbanks Alaska (has something to do with a woman) so when there gone.......there really gone!


If you are interested in one let me know before there gone, go to Wichitarainbarrels.com and email me.

New style rain barrel made with a screen





Friday, August 7, 2009

The President likes CARROTS!

I Promise to update soon! I have been swamped with WRB request lately and have also been working on a new variation of our standard rain barrel! Until then eats your carrots!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Water cost is rising in Wichita.......

Well it was bound to happen....not that I do not want to help as much as I can to get the country out of debt...but IF YOU BUY A RAIN BARREL YOU WILL SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WATER BILL. And now you will recoup your cost even faster. See the story in today's paper.


Wichita eyes increasing water usage rates to close budget gap

BY BRENT D. WISTROM
The Wichita Eagle
If the city raises water rates for its most consistent group of customers by 21 cents per thousand gallons, it could close its budget gap.
But the move would be expensive for some of the city's biggest employers.
Council members asked the water utility to look at increasing usage rates as an alternative to a proposed $2 surcharge and 5 percent usage hike.
Water officials say increases are necessary to continue a project aimed at recharging the Equus Beds aquifer north of Wichita to give the city water through 2050.
The increase is also needed to maintain the utility's AA- bond rating, which affects its borrowing rate on multimillion-dollar projects.
Under the scenario presented Tuesday, "block one" rate users — those who don't sway more than 10 percent above their average monthly usage in the winter — would see their rates go from $1.17 per 1,000 gallons to $1.38.
For many people that would be less than $2 a month.
But for big industrial businesses, it could mean tens of thousands of dollars.
Spirit AeroSystems is one of the city's biggest water users. Under the rate hike, it would pay $86,370 more each year for water.
Likewise, Hawker Beechcraft's bill would go up $31,363 a year, Wesley Medical Center would see a $12,008 increase, and Wichita State University's bill would climb by $978.
Wichita City Council members asked the utility to examine the rate hike, but utility director David Warren said he doesn't recommend it.
Instead, he stands by his original proposal to increase rates by 5 percent and increase the base charge — or surcharge — by $2. That would give the utility a reliable cash flow that's not dependent on how much people use.
The unusually rainy weather the past two years is one of the reasons the utility is struggling financially now.
"Right now, I think it's important that we not do things that would adversely affect our industrial base," he said. "This has the possibility of showing a negative economic impact on the people that provide the jobs in this community."
City Council members came to no conclusions after the presentation.
But they will likely decide on a rate increase when they adopt the 2010-11 budget in August.
The rate increases would start in January.
The utility has already delayed equipment purchases, put off improvement projects and held open 19 vacant positions.
The open positions save $824,000 this year and would save $978,000 next year.
The utility also plans to lay off 19 workers, saving about $915,190 next year. Most of those workers — clerks, engineers and environmental scientists — would fill open positions in water utilities or elsewhere in City Hall, Warren said.
The layoffs probably wouldn't come until October.
Mayor Carl Brewer acknowledged the hard choices the council faces.
"This is difficult here today," he said. "But we're going to work through it."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Spining composter redesigned.


After playing around with the original design, we have made some changes. We raised it up off the ground so a wheel barrow could be used under it. Here are the pics!
We are also looking at making one using a 35 gallon barrel for an apartment size spinning composter.......pics to follow soon.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It’s Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado, heres another article about the legalities of rain water ! who would have thought!

It’s Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado

Rick Scibelli Jr. for The New York Times

Todd S. Anderson used to keep his rain harvesting a secret.

Published: June 28, 2009

DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West.

Skip to next paragraph

Related

Times Topics: Water

Rick Scibelli, Jr./The New York Times

Janine Fitzgerald, associate professor of sociology at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., depends on rainwater and solar power.

Rick Scibelli Jr. for The New York Times

Tom Bartels of Durango said he had been “so willing to go to jail” for catching water on his roof and watering his garden.

Rick Scibelli Jr. for The New York Times

Watering a lawn in Durango, Colo.

Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago.

Now two new laws in Colorado will allow many people to collect rainwater legally. The laws are the latest crack in the rainwater edifice, as other states, driven by population growth, drought, or declining groundwater in their aquifers, have already opened the skies or begun actively encouraging people to collect.

“I was so willing to go to jail for catching water on my roof and watering my garden,” said Tom Bartels, a video producer here in southwestern Colorado, who has been illegally watering his vegetables and fruit trees from tanks attached to his gutters. “But now I’m not a criminal.”

Who owns the sky, anyway? In most of the country, that is a question for philosophy class or bad poetry. In the West, lawyers parse it with straight faces and serious intent. The result, especially stark here in the Four Corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, is a crazy quilt of rules and regulations — and an entire subculture of people like Mr. Bartels who have been using the rain nature provided but laws forbade.

The two Colorado laws allow perhaps a quarter-million residents with private wells to begin rainwater harvesting, as well as the setting up of a pilot program for larger scale rain-catching.

Just 75 miles west of here, in Utah, collecting rainwater from the roof is still illegal unless the roof owner also owns water rights on the ground; the same rigid rules, with a few local exceptions, also apply in Washington State. Meanwhile, 20 miles south of here, in New Mexico, rainwater catchment, as the collecting is called, is mandatory for new dwellings in some places like Santa Fe.

And in Arizona, cities like Tucson are pioneering the practices of big-city rain capture. “All you need for a water harvesting system is rain, and a place to put it,” Tucson Water says on its Web site.

Here in Colorado, the old law created a kind of wink-and-nod shadow economy. Rain equipment could be legally sold, but retailers said they knew better than to ask what the buyer intended to do with the product.

“It’s like being able to sell things like smoking paraphernalia even though smoking pot is illegal,” said Laurie E. Dickson, who for years sold barrel-and-hose systems from a shop in downtown Durango.

State water officials acknowledged that they rarely enforced the old law. With the new laws, the state created a system of fines for rain catchers without a permit; previously the only option was to shut a collector down.

But Kevin Rein, Colorado’s assistant state engineer, said enforcement would focus on people who violated water rules on a large scale.

“It’s not going to be a situation where we’re sending out people to look in backyards,” Mr. Rein said.

Science has also stepped forward to underline how incorrect the old sweeping legal generalizations were.

A study in 2007 proved crucial to convincing Colorado lawmakers that rain catching would not rob water owners of their rights. It found that in an average year, 97 percent of the precipitation that fell in Douglas County, near Denver, never got anywhere near a stream. The water evaporated or was used by plants.

But the deeper questions about rain are what really gnawed at rain harvesters like Todd S. Anderson, a small-scale farmer just east of Durango. Mr. Anderson said catching rain was not just thrifty — he is so water conscious that he has not washed his truck in five years — but also morally correct because it used water that would otherwise be pumped from the ground.

Mr. Anderson, a former national park ranger who worked for years enforcing rules and laws, said: “I’m conflicted between what’s right and what’s legal. And I hate that.”

For the last year, Mr. Anderson has been catching rainwater that runs off his greenhouse but keeping the barrel hidden from view. When the new law passed, he put the barrel in plain sight, and he plans to set up a system for his house.

Dig a little deeper into the rain-catching world, and there are remnants of the 1970s back-to-land hippie culture, which went off the grid into aquatic self-sufficiency long ago.

“Our whole perspective on life is to try to use what is available, and to not be dependent on big systems,” said Janine Fitzgerald, whose parents bought land in southwest Colorado in 1970, miles from where the pavement ends.

Ms. Fitzgerald, an associate professor of sociology at Fort Lewis College in Durango, still lives the unwired life with her own family now, growing most of her own food and drinking and bathing in filtered rainwater.

Rain dependency has its ups and downs, Ms. Fitzgerald said. Her home is also completely solar-powered, which means that the pumps to push water from the rain tanks are solar-powered, too. A cloudy, rainy spring this year was good for tanks, bad for pumps.

The economy has turned on some early rainwater believers, too. Ms. Dickson’s company in Durango went out of business last December as the construction market faltered. The rain barrels she once sold will soon be perfectly legal, but the shop is shuttered.

“We were ahead of our time,” she said.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Rapid Composting Method The author is Robert D. Raabe, Professor of Plant Pathology, Berkeley. and new show dates

Hello everybody. Wichita Rain Barrels has been accepted to the Downtown farmers market! I will be setting up there for three Saturdays in July. The 4th, 11th and 18th abd then on the 25th will be at the Sedgwick County Extension Center for their annual TOMATO DAY FESTIVALE.

I will be introducing the SPINNING COMPOSTER and of course be selling and talking about the RAIN BARRELS.


The link( double click the title) that is attached to this article will direct you to a paper written at Berkley about RAPID COMPOSTING. It is a short read and VERY informative.

I have also remade the spinning composter, I will upload pictures later today so check back and I hope to see all of you at the DOWNTOWN FARMERS MARKET next Saterday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Intorducing the Spinning Composter
















Well everybody, here is the NEW Tumbling composter that many of you have asked for. It is made from the same barrels as we use on our Rain Barrels. The advantage to a tumbling composter is that is can complete a full cycle of composting in a little over 14 days.YES THAT IS 14 DAYS! The trick is that all you need to do is give it a turn every day and that allows the microbes to get sufficient air flow which encourages them to feed and make COMPOST . To the right is the pin that keeps the composter steady for when you are filling it, or when you want to make sure you have it in a different postion then the day before. More information will be forthcoming on our website so look for it soon. Check out Wichitarainbarrels.com!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

WRB is in the Wichita Eagle Beacon and on their website with a Video!

Area residents learn benefits of collecting water


Say, say, oh playmate,

Come out and play with me

And bring your dollies three

Climb up my apple tree

Shout down my rain barrel

Slide down my cellar door

And we'll be jolly friends

Forevermore


My mother taught me this nursery song when I was little, and I recall it every time the subject of rain barrels comes up. Which has been quite often lately: Rain barrels are making a splash this growing season. One Wichita man is selling two to four a week, even Lowe's touts them, and you can learn to make your own at a Botanica seminar on June 14.

It takes only a couple of rainy weeks followed by a few sizzling-hot dry days to show the wisdom of collecting rain. Not only does it save money and resources and reduce pollution, but gardeners know that the water that falls from the heavens is better for plants than what comes from the tap -- it's softer, purer, of the right temperature.

So it's no wonder that what's considered environmentally friendly these days was common-sense necessity in the days when the nursery ditty was written. And the water went not only for plants but for cleaning

I actually have a cellar door these days, but the closest I get to a rain barrel is a collection of watering cans and pot saucers that accidentally catch the rain. They usually don't make much of a dent in my watering rounds.

But some area gardeners are quite sophisticated in their use of rain barrels. Diane Dorsch of Derby, who will be giving the seminar at Botanica as well as a lunchtime lecture next week, diverts rainwater to a rain garden that was once a swamp in her backyard. Peter Daniels of Wichita, who has become an accidental rain-barrel maker, runs soaker hoses from a couple of his barrels to three raised vegetable beds.

Both Diane and Peter had started out looking for rain barrels to buy but found no stores offering them. The rain barrels they found online cost around $200 -- plus $50 shipping. So they got on the Internet and learned to make their own.

Peter, who lives in Riverside, made a rain barrel for himself last summer, and then a neighbor wanted one, and then another neighbor did, too. Peter and his wife had a new couch to pay off, so he made a few more barrels and took them to the farmer's market. One couple bought all three, and the couch was paid off.

"I thought, 'It was fun while it lasted.' I never considered going any further with it," Peter said.

But after local garden and water experts showed interest in buying barrels, Peter's dad mentioned trying the garden show. So Peter set up a booth there at the last minute and ended up selling and taking orders for 60 barrels.

"I've sold two to four a week since," Peter said. "It has been very unexpected."

Peter charges $100 to $125 per barrel (at www.wichitarainbarrels.com) and each comes with a downspout adapter, a spigot and an overflow hose. The new owner has only to supply a couple of cinder blocks for the barrel to sit on and about five minutes of hacksawing on an aluminum gutter to accommodate the barrel.

The barrels start out white, recycled from their use as holders of Pepsi and Mountain Dew syrup. Barrels slated for rain collection should be food-grade because chemicals from other barrels would kill plants. But the barrels aren't pretty.

"People use these around the world, and most people who have them don't decorate them," Peter says. But he painted the one in his front yard green and has another that's been painted with flowers. He can also make a privacy-fence-type enclosure to hide a barrel in a covenant community, but that's a pricey option that kind of defeats the purpose of the barrel. His neighbor's white barrel is hidden on the side of her house by a large, lush bush.

Diane Dorsch notes that now that she and her husband have perfected their barrel-making -- they found 100 ways of making a barrel on the Internet before putting their first one together one cold day in January -- many stores are selling them. But Diane likes the idea of recycling food-grade barrels discarded by restaurants. The restaurants have to pay to have them hauled off by a trash service, and Diane has gotten some of her barrels from a trash service. But she'd like to cut out the middle man and get them straight from restaurants.

Diane says rain barrels are an answer to what used to be constant flooding in her backyard. The Dorsches put in a rain garden year, making it a bit of saucer at the back of the yard. Extension hoses carry water from two rain barrels to a French drain down to the rain garden.

"We've had tremendous success," Diane says. "It'll have 3 or 4 inches of standing water in it, and 24 hours later it's gone."

She taught a seminar at the garden show about making the barrels and has been asked to reprise it at Botanica. She'll give a lunchtime lecture about rain gardens and rain barrels at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday and a workshop in which participants will make their own barrels from 1 to 4 p.m. June 14. (The cost for the workshop is $45, or $40 for Botanica members. Class space is limited; register by Friday by calling Karla Jahn at 316-264-0448.)

Diane expects the Botanica workshop to fill up as quickly as her rain barrels do, and she said she would do a repeat in that case.

"I'd be glad to do it every month as long as we had people who were interested."

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com.

Now you know

INSTALLING A RAIN BARREL

Here are some tips for installing a rain barrel:

Make sure the area where you place the rain barrel is level; otherwise, the barrel tips over.

Set it on cement blocks so that it is high enough for you to be able to get water out of the bottom.

If it is in a really windy area, you may need to put a stake on each side of the barrel to keep it upright when it's empty.

Connect a short piece of hose to the overflow spout at the top of the barrel and direct the hose away from the foundation of the house and impermeable surfaces such as the driveway or sidewalk.

-- Extension agent Bob Neier, Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

LOW IMPACT WEED KILLER, I wonder is Ed Begley knows about this!

Here's a simple, inexpensive, organic solution for eliminating pesky weeds that invade those spaces wherever they can find a patch of gravel, cracks in concrete or asphalt, spaces between pavers, bricks and stones:

Simply bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or pot with a handle, carefully tote it to the area where weeds are invading your driveway, walkway, garden path, porte cochere or courtyard. Pour the boiling water over the weeds, letting it seep into the ground. The weeds will immediately begin to shrivel all the way down to their roots. Within a couple of days, you can sweep away their dried leaves and pull out the dead roots with ease.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jack Johnson and Rain Barrels

One unfortunately common misconception about "going green" is that doing so means drastically changing ones life or abolishing all luxuries. While a crucial part about living an eco-friendly lifestyle is reducing ones consumption and therefore minimizing ones waste, one thing I love most about trying to live a sustainable life is noticing how doing something the "green" way is often just the smarter way. Using rain barrels to collect rain and reuse around your house is a perfect example of this.

In this TreeHugger Tip, musician and activist Jack Johnson, talks about how he's installed a rain collection system and how he's used it to teach his children about conservation.

The Benefits of Using Rain Barrels
Rain barrels are smart for a couple reasons. They save you money by reducing the amount of clean water you have to buy from the city to water your plants. And they help the environment by reducing the demand for clean water from the city, which requires energy to process.

As you probably know, keeping a lawn requires a lot of resources. A lawn requires a massive amount of water - a third of all residential water use in the United States goes towards landscaping - and many people use gas-powered mowers to cut it. If you're not ready to turn your lawn into a garden, but do want to have a nice green yard without as much eco-guilt, using rain barrels to collect the rain water off your house will help.

We've already covered reel mowers and electric lawn mowers, which work great, save you money on gasoline and allow you to reduce your pollution while maintaining your lawn. Rain barrels are just as sensible. Collecting rain water can help you cut down on the amount of drinking water you waste on your lawn, which will not only reduce your monthly water bill saving you money, but will also help the environment by saving that clean drinking water from the city for your other water needs.

Even if you only use the rain barrel water for a percentage of the water you use around the outside of your house, doing so will help reduce your consumption.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Wichita Rain Barrels will be in the Newspaper

I was interviewed today by Annie Calovich from the Wichita Eagle Beacon. She is doing a story about Wichita Rain Barrels, it will be published this Saturday. They also did a short video of me talking about the manufacturing process and about how it all started. It will be posted on their website and here when it is published.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Something from NPR today. Its about Colorado and the fight to use water conservation.

Morning Edition, June 1, 2009 · The West remains one of the fastest growing regions of the country, and that continues to put pressure on scarce water supplies.

So, Colorado recently made it legal for some homeowners to capture and collect the raindrops and snowflakes that fall on their own roofs. That had been considered stealing because the water would flow into a stream or aquifer, where it belonged to someone else; Utah and Washington state have similar bans.

The change in Colorado may seem minor, but this could signal the beginning of a water-law revolution.

Water law in the West is different than in the East. In the West, there's essentially a long line for water rights; those who signed up for rights first are in front. And in some cases around the West, Native Americans are near the front of the line because they've lived there for so long.

For five years, Karl Hanzel "took cuts" in that line because he illegally collected water from the snow that fell on his home outside Boulder, Colo.

"I struggle to understand the argument for these laws. It doesn't really make sense to me," says Hanzel. "The water that I'm detaining here, I'm not exporting it to Mars … We have a leach field; we water the garden; that water is still returned to the earth … We're just holding some of it for awhile."

Colorado takes this sort of illegal harvesting of precipitation seriously. If caught, Hanzel could have faced fines of up to $500 a day. Luckily for him, a law recently passed legalizes his collection system. It's a narrow exception to the ban for people who would have to dig a well or have water trucked in.

But in Washington state, Tim Pope is still breaking the law. He owns Northwest Water Source, a business that has installed about 200 rainwater collectors in the San Juan Islands, north of Seattle. Pope says state regulators tend to look the other way.

He's also president of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, and he's on a mission to get rid of the bans.

"Western water-rights laws were done in the 1800s, and they need some serious overhaul," says Pope. He says the first-in-line basis is inefficient.

"It needs to be based on need — it needs to be based on proper use of water. We don't need to be using drinking water to wash cars and water lawns and gardens and flush toilets," he says.

Those near the front of the line disagree. Western tribes guard their historic water rights, as do municipalities like Denver.

"You have a basic foundation for how water is owned and administered in Colorado, and a wholesale change — to say, 'Oh yeah, take all the water you want off your roof,' — is actually a fundamental change in that," says Chips Barry, general manager at Denver Water.

Barry says he's not upset by Colorado's recent exception to rainwater harvesting — the effect on senior water-rights holders will be minimal. But he says if the practice were to become widespread, that could unwind a complicated system that has long determined who gets the limited water available.

There seems to be little risk that such a wholesale change will happen anytime soon. Recent efforts in Washington and Utah to get even minor exceptions to the ban on rainwater harvesting failed.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

WICHITA RAIN BARRELS was on Johnson's Garden Center RADIO SHOW!

Well Marty Johnson from Johnson's Garden Center has done WICHITA RAIN BARRELS another solid favor. He has really helped me get things going from letting me set up in his stores to now throwing out my name and WICHITA RAIN BARRELS on the air waves. He does a live broadcast every Saturday morning and today he and his son began a conversation about WRB! follow the link to hear it, its about 1/2 way through the show.

sit back, relax and listen, they always have good advice for ALL gardeners.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Those pesky bugs!

Something that I have been using to help keep the mosquitoes from over populating is OLIVE OIL. No not the cartoon girlfriend of POPEYE but actual olive oil. With just a few cap fulls, it will create enough surface tension to smother the larvae and kill off the existing mosquitoes. Plus with the Wichita Rain Barrels when you begin to irrigate your garden the olive oil is NON TOXIC and there are no unknown chemicals. We live very very close to the Arkansas river and we try and avoid polluting it as much as possible, plus we have a few raised beds for veggies and do not want to add any unnecessary chemicals into what we are eating. When the water level begins to go down the olive oil actually adheres to the sides of the Rain Barrel. When it rains again it will float back up to the surface of the water. Sometimes it will flow out through the overflow hose, but with just a few cap fulls it is a very inexpensive way to keep the bugs out.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wichita Rain Barrel with a unique set up

Here are some shots of a Wichita Rain Barrel set up we did not to long ago. You will see in the first shot the WRB (Wichita Rain Barrel) is already set in place on four cinder blocks. What you do not see are the four paver path stones that I placed down before. I did this to give the WRB a bigger foot print. Since I was going into a garden spot where the dirt had recently been tilled I wanted to make sure that the cinder blocks were going to be stable. After getting the cinder blocks put into place we placed the WRB on top and began looking at where we wanted the overflow hose to drain off to.
We decided to cover it up by sinking it down into the ground just a few inches and allowing it to drain in between the steps and the garden edge. We then trenched out a bit of dirt from the left hand side of the WRB making sure not to disturb the footings(the pavers).
In this photo you can see that we were able to cover up the overflow hose with just enough dirt to hide it. Soon we will be planting some vine's like ivy or "vincka" to cover it up even more.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Go Green with an ECO-FRIENDLY Lawn This Summer

Go Green with an Eco-friendly Lawn This Summer

Article By
Jessica Jensen

Summer is just around the corner, and this is the time of year when we really ramp up our lawn activities– watering, fertilizing, mowing, etc. And all of these can have major negative environmental consequences. Did you know that over 50 million Americans mow their lawns each weekend, and contribute as much as 5% of the country’s air pollution? And it’s staggering to realize that the average American grassy lawn can use over 20,000 gallons of water each summer! So, a major part of any green home strategy should be to embrace eco-friendly lawn and garden care.

Here are 12 ways you can make sure you have an eco-friendly lawn this summer

1. Collect rain water and use it for your plants. Getting a rain barrel or two for your yard is a simple way to collect and reuse Mother Nature’s water. Just put it under your gutter’s down spout and you’ll be amazed how fast it fills up. Check here for more info> wichitarainbarrels.com.

2. Make sure you’re not over-watering. Most of us over-water our lawns. Do you have moss growing on your driveway or sidewalk or in your garden? That’s a sign you’re watering too much. Do you have pools of standing water anywhere? Another sign. You can buy a very inexpensive lawn moisture meter that will tell you if you’re over-watering. You might also consider getting an intelligent irrigation control system that attunes your watering to the weather and your lawn’s needs.

3. Don’t hose down your sidewalks and driveway. That water is a valuable resource and the water you send into the gutter is carrying oil and a host of chemicals out as run-off that go on to pollute our rivers, lakes and oceans.

4. Get a push mower for your lawn. Traditional gas mowers are horrible for our air quality and contribute to global warming. They are major environmental offenders. A good-ole push mower is the eco-friendly solution. (Or if you can’t go all the way to push style, get a plug-in electric model– better than gas.)

5. Say no to leaf-blowers! The gas-powered leaf blowers some people use are major carbon emissions culprits. Say yes to a broom! Your waist-line will thank you too.

6. And when you’re done mowing, leave your clippings on your yard. Those grass clippings make great mulch and will help you save water as well.

7. Be sure to compost your other yard waste. If your city doesn’t collect green waste for composting, please get a composter and do it yourself. It’s super easy and the composter will turn your waste into great mulch for use throughout your yard and garden. Find composters here.

8. Embrace native plants. Plants, flowers and grasses that are native to your region are the most atuned to soil, climate and water particularities. They are great water savers and will thrive with less care than tropical and other imported varieties. And they are gorgeous! Learn more about native landscaping here with our book collection. Or contact a green professional landscape designer or maintainance provider from our green services directory. We have eco-minded landscaping experts listed across the United States.

9. Are you addicted to the look of grass but live in a high-drought area? You may want to consider synthetic grass. It uses no water, lasts over ten years, and looks & feels surprisingly real. Learn more about synthetic grass.

10. Why not start your own organic food garden? Nothing could be better for the planet or your health. Learn how to get started with organic veggies, at Johnsonsgarden.com

11. Use non-toxic fertilizers and pest-control agents for your garden and lawn. Not only are these better for your plants (particularly any food you might eat), they reduce the amount of toxins that run-off into our waterways. Find safe alternatives here.

12. Use solar or LED lighting in your lawn. Solar lighting is obviously an energy-saver. If you don’t find solar lights bright enough, check out LED lights—they are very bright and use very little power. They will last 5-10 times as long as standard outdoor lights. Find energy-efficient lighting options here.

For more information visit Low Impact Living.

Monday, May 4, 2009

A very informational posting by DAVID

Just stumbled upon this post by a local guy. He has some very good ideas on container watering. I will be using them very soon in my wooden herb barrels.
http://sewa-ania.blogspot.com/2009/04/again-with-watering.html?showComment=1241489220000#c3236166531203288439

Its been a busy SPRING!



Well it has definitely been a busy spring around the Wichita Rain Barrel shop. With almost 100 Wichita Rain Barrels being sold in the last 2 months! I have almost forgotten the whole reason I started to make these things, well it was for my own garden. I took off a week from production and focused on my own little piece a greenery. This year we planted three raised beds. Two of which are made from pressure treated wood purchased from the Sedgwick County Extension sale at the Wichita Garden Show this last month. The other raised bed was made from a combination of native sand stone and a fallen tree. We have planted a combination of things that we like to eat around our house from Roma tomatoes to green beans and some Texas 1015's. We also have 50 or so sweet basil plants that are getting bigger every day as well as lettuce, spinach and some carrots.

For the raised beds we are using a dual Wichita Rain Barrel system. It is set up to collect in one Rain Barrel and when the first one is filled it will overflow into the other. This setup can be used with multiple Wichita Rain Barrels, and has been. The first 4 Wichita Rain Barrels sold at the Garden show this year was to a 75 year old woman that was going to "daisy" chain the four Wichita Rain Barrels to two other existing barrels, for a total of 6 rain barrels. Above is my set up.

Thanks Peter "the rain barrel dude"


Please feel free to post questions/comments/suggestions. All is welcome

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Getting Ready for spring

With spring quickly approaching now is the time to start planning any expansions or "renovations" to your existing gardens. This year here at Wichita Rain Barrels we will be putting together a short video demonstrating how to use one of our Rain Barrels to is fullest potential.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

First sale of 2009

Well it was 20 degrees and snow was falling but that did not stop a sale from happening.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

WHY HAVE A RAIN BARREL

WHY HAVE A RAIN BARREL?

· One-inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square-foot roof generates 623 gallons of runoff.

· In the summer, 40% of a typical household's water use goes to watering gardens and lawns.

· One barrel with a 125ft. of soaker hose attached will irrigate a flower/vegetable garden for over 6 hrs!

· Rain water is usually soft and free of dissolved minerals. This untreated water is great for indoor plans, your garden and lawn or washing your car.

· Neighbors will be jealous of your new garden toy.

· Once the water is collected IT’S FREE!

· According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, a rain barrel can potentially save most home owners about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months.

For more information about purchasing a rain barrel, contact PETER DANIELS pmd1131@yahoo.com.