Problem with Hot Weather
A friend emailed today with this dilemma: “I got a whiff of a horrible smell near my rain barrel. I looked inside, and there’s a horrible, putrid layer of something floating on the top of the water. I think it might have come from all the fuzz from the trees in the past few days. Do you think I should empty the barrel, scrub it out, and start over? I do have that screen over the top, but something obviously got through it and seems to be “growing” on top of the water.”
Keep your rain barrels clean in hot weather with these easy tips.
It’s important to do these three things to keep the water fresh:
1. Clean gutters to keep leaves, catkins, and other stuff from getting into the barrel and clean the screen at the top of the barrel.
2. Use the water. Don’t let it stand in the barrel for too long. If it’s really rainy water moves through the barrels and helps keep it fairly fresh.
3. A couple of times during the summer empty the barrel, take the lid off, and wash it out with tap water.
4. Winding Pathways has cleaned the screens on our rain barrels several times already and after each rainstorm. They tend to plug up most during the first few rainstorms. It might also help to put a very small amount of chlorine bleach in the water. It’s toxic to bacteria and molds that might live in the barrel.
A little practical maintenance will make using rain barrels a pleasure and help your plants.