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This planting season, I’m fully prepared to water my garden without turning on the hose, unless of course it’s hooked up to my rain barrel.

Not only are rain barrels an eco-conscious way to conserve water, they also provide a water resource for areas lacking water hook-ups. My fifty-gallon wooden barrel has a flat back, so it fits nicely against the side of my house near the vegetable patch where the gardening hose won’t reach. Its brass spigot provides easy water access and screws right on to the hose and other attachments. A screen covers the top of the barrel where rain falls through, keeping leaves, bugs, and twigs from contaminating the supply. For the fastest fill-up, place your barrel under the mouth of a short rain gutter so that the maximum amount of rain is directed through the screen.

Do you have any rain barrel wisdom share? Please comment below.

—Sarah J. Montoro, guest blogger