Utility of Rain Barrels for Irrigating Home Gardens

pin icon Typically 50 gallon drum used as storage cistern

pin icon Summer evapotranspiration (ET) (loss of water from soil surface through leaves) is .25 inches/day, if sunny day.

pin icon Water holding capacity of loam soils is 2 inches of water/foot of soil.

pin icon Effective rooting depth of many garden plants = 1 foot

pin icon From a plant management perspective, irrigation is best if no more than 50% of water holding capacity is depleted. For loam soil irrigate when 1 inch of ET.

pin icon So in summer, if irrigating for plant management (not drought management), irrigate every 4-5 days, adding one inch of water.

pin icon 1 inch of water = .62 gallons over 1 square foot

pin icon 50 gallons/.62 = 80.6 square feet of garden rooting area until cistern is refilled.

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