The USF Botanical Gardens strongly believes in USF's sustainability goals. Here are a few tips to make your garden at home more sustainable.

Rainwater Harvesting

Did you know an 1,800 sq. ft. roof can collect 750 gallons of water in a one inch rain? Rainwater is generally clean enough for non-potable uses such as watering planting beds. Just clean out the rain barrel periodically. This is a great way to supplement landscape watering and reduce dependency on potable water! For more information visit the Southwest Florida Water Management District website.

How to Make a Rain Barrel

Materials Needed:

  • Drill
  • 15/16" Drill Bit
  • Plastic Drum (55 gal.) Drums must be for food use only - no chemical storage! A two piece lid is best. Check your yellow pages for drum source.
  • 3/4" Spigot (male threads)
  • PVC Cement
  • Silicon Caulk (optional)
  • Fiberglass screening to keep out mosquitoes and roof/leaf debris
  1. Drill 15/16" hole approx. 6-8" from the bottom of the drum along the first even part.
  2. Screw in 3/4" spigot.
  3. Apply PVC cement when spigot is about 3/4 of the way in and finish tightening. Make sure to leave enough room to turn handle!

If using a two piece lid:

  1. Cut piece of fiberglass screening large enough to cover opening of drum with a few inches of overlap. This keeps out mosquitoes, debris from the roof and trees.
  2. Remove inner solid lid and secure screen in place with outer lid piece.
    If using solid lid: Cut a hole large enough to fit down spout or to catch water as it pours off roof, or leave lid off entirely.
  3. Raise the barrel off the ground with cement blocks (the higher you raise it, the more water pressure)
  4. Attach hose to spigot or use spigot to fill watering can.
  5. Decorate your rain barrel any way you wish! Paint it the color of your house or trim to blend in or paint a beautiful mural to stand out! Be creative and have fun!

Note: 1/2 inch of rain will fill the rain barrel!

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