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Rain water is probably the best thing you can give plants, fruit & nut trees, etc.
Any roof with a rain gutter & you are collecting water. Now you just want to store it. Any plastic container works fine like 35+ gallon drum.
You want the drum alittle up off the ground. A few concrete blocks will take care of that.
2 or 3" above the bottom epoxy a water spigot. Now you can use 1-5gal water container to get some water. Or attach a soaker hose to it.

HH
 

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Rain water is probably the best thing you can give plants, fruit & nut trees, etc.
Why?

Rain water is just surface water and any particulates that have been washed out of the clouds. Water from a hose, at least in suburban/urban areas, have gone through some kind of fairly lengthy filtration process. Depending on where you live, rain water can be decidedly unhealthy. If I drank the rain water in Los Angeles, I'd probably get cancer--eventually. About 15 years ago, when I lived downtown, it would rain and my car would get these streaks of orange/yellow gunk from all the smog. Though the air has gotten considerably better. But in urban areas or areas around heavy manufacturing or shipping or what have you, rain water can be not so hot.

Normally you could drink rainwater without becoming ill. However, rainwater contains pollutants, soil, plant parts, insect parts, bacteria, algae, and sometimes radioactive materials that the rain/snow has washed out of the air. If filtered with one of the filtering systems that you can buy in stores nowadays, and then boiled, you could probably drink the water safely. However, it is safer yet to get your water from municipal water supplies or from wells that are frequently tested.

David Cook
Argonne National Laboratory
 

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I use my cisterne only for garden irrigation. If it is not burried deep enough it will freeze in wintertime and destroy the barrel. As Duke said, not only smog contaminants but also all that stuff, that drops out of bird sitting on the roof. I live near a river, lots of seagulls, doves, crows.
Wolf
 

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No mineral contaminants in rain water, no bleach, etc
There's plenty of minerals. Anything in the air. That can be sulfur and carbon and whatever other pollutants exist. I don't believe there's any place on earth that is 100% free of particulate air anymore.

As I recall, you live in Florida? Here is the American Lung Association web site for air quality. The particulate tab is especially cool.

http://www.stateoftheair.org/2011/states/florida/
 

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One main reason that rain water is significantly better for plants than most tap waters is the fact that it has a slightly acidic PH up to neutral. Where as most taps across the country are very hard water. Remember our city's filter our water for "our safety". Plants have been on this earth many many years longer than man and have only ever had rain water till the last 2-5 hundred years depending on who and when we are talking about. A softer water may contain less nutrients than say tap water that has minerals added to it for flavor, but that doesn't mean that the plant can assimilate the nutrients if the basic acidic/alkalinity of the water is not where the plants need it to be.

It might be that the plants have to expend more energy to convert the water to a useable form. I know that plants that receive controlled light that contains no uv radiation (ie. led's) actually grow faster and are stronger. vs plants grown in the sun. The plants actually use energy to get rid of the uv before they can make energy out of it. There is a very good chance it is similar with hard vs. soft water.
Just my thought and experiences

hth
 

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Rain water contains particulates, always, if there were none the rain drops could not form, but compared to ground water is quite mineral free, almost distilled. If you irrigate with ground water and there's little to no rain, you get salt buildup that eventually poisons the soil (another reason relying on CA crops makes me nervous, altho hopefully they have that problem in hand since I took high school Earth Science). But I don't buy what people say about magic properties either way- rain water is often said to be better because of its "ions", but the fact is that when it rains the air is also damp. One of my farmer grandfathers used to say that a heavy dew was better than anything- I'm betting that's why, because of the humidity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I gardened for 10 years here & well water would basically keep the plants alive. Some rain & you could almost watch the plants grow. So what you say makes sense to me. I just know that plants thrive on rain water.

HH
 

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I use my cisterne only for garden irrigation. If it is not burried deep enough it will freeze in wintertime and destroy the barrel. As Duke said, not only smog contaminants but also all that stuff, that drops out of bird sitting on the roof. I live near a river, lots of seagulls, doves, crows. Wolf

To minimize the above conditions, it's recommended that when it starts raining you initially divert the water from your storage container system. There are downspout diverter systems available online. Let it rain good and hard for 10 minutes on your roof before diverting water for potable water usage. The first 10 min of water could be stored in another tank for plant usage. Of course before potable water usage, it should be put through a good filtration/purification system. To me the roof system sure beats any river or standing water source of supply. Rivers and standing water still get the same contaminants that your roof would get. dozier
 

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The original post was only about collecting rain water for plants & fruit/nut bearing trees.

HH
Sorry HH, I just took it one step farther using it for a potable water source also. I live rurally and don't have a heavily contaminated air problem, we do get a fair amount of annual rainfall; so this is a natural solution if townwater gets shut off. I have an alternate source of a irrigation/water drainage ditch 50' from my back door. I would consider that first for my plants, and the rooftop rainwater as a better potable source. dozier
 

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Many times over the year we've remarked at the difference rain water makes on the grass and the garden. As HH said, you almost think you can see the stuff growing.
 
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