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>

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

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.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

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.

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