The North Carolina Cooperative Extension is hoping participants will have a “barrel” of fun July 24 at the Mount Airy Farmers Market.
“We have recently had people call and ask about rain barrels,” said Extension Agent Joanna Radford. “We then thought we’d do a workshop.”
One old saying is that you don’t know the value of water until the well is dry.
Collecting rainwater for use during dry months is an ancient practice. Some historical records indicate that as far back as 2,000 years ago in Thailand simple clay containers were used for rainwater storage. Some historians even speculate that rainwater collection pre-dates the barrel, which itself dates back to Babylon and Roman times.
Rain barrels have come back in vogue recently as homeowners have used the old concept to offset the rising costs of municipal water and in the face of drought restrictions. Most construction, operation and maintenance of the simpler systems is not labor intensive.
Rainwater also is lauded by gardeners. Radford explained that rainwater is valued by gardeners because it tends to be more acidic than municipal and well water.
“Blueberries and azaleas, for instance, love water that is a little on the acid side,” added Radford. “Using water collected in a rain barrel also reduces runoff water along buildings.” She estimates that a typical roof of 1,200 square feet would yield 200 gallons of water with as little as three-tenths of an inch of rain falling.
Radford said that a short program will cover basic components and common installations problems. Only the first five paid participants will assemble a 55-gallon rain barrel to take home. The workshop is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. at the farmers market, which is held in the Mount Airy Post Office parking lot.
Participants in the workshop will build a 55-gallon rain barrel using a food-grade cistern or barrel. The speaker for the class is Extension Master Gardener Joe Sloop. Radford suggested that since some participants will have the opportunity to take their own barrel home, they should bring a vehicle to transport the finished rain barrel.
While the lecture is free, there is a charge for the workshop and preregistration is required by calling the extension service at 401-8025. Payment needs to be received in the extension office in Dobson by July 23 for those who would like to make their own rain barrel at the workshop.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.