Rain barrels and rain gardens

If, like me, you’re a gardener whose water comes from a well, no doubt you’re reluctant to water your plants during summer dry spells for fear of running the well dry.

Rain barrels to the rescue – park one under your eavestrough, and you’ll be amazed at how little rain it takes to fill it.  You can buy rain barrels at garden centers and other stores, or you can just get a used 40 gallon drum.  If you like, it’s easy to install a tap with a drill and a few parts from the hardware store.  (Send me a note if you’d like a list of parts.)

This is a ‘home-built’ from our home, under the downspout of our garage.  It and two others like it have provided about 99% of the water I’ve needed for my modest flower and veggie gardens over the past several years.

Rain barrel

If your problem is too much rain, consider installing a rain garden to help reduce runoff and erosion.  Here’s a great guide from Canada Mortgage and Housing.

With climate change bringing more weather extremes, rain barrels and rain gardens are both great solutions!

Get angry about excessive packaging

Have you ever had Wrap Rage?  Probably, if ever you’ve bought a product that came in packaging that was:

  • Way bigger than the product itself;
  • Attractive, but completely unrecyclable (or a blend of materials that were impossible to separate for recycling); or
  • Impossible to open without a pry bar, jackhammer or chain saw

Beyond causing grief, excessive packaging causes excessive waste.  Here are two things you can do to fight Wrap Rage:

  1. Make wise choices: when possible, choose products that are more reasonably packaged
  2. Nominate a product for CBC Marketplace’s first annual Wrap Rage Awards.  Nominations are now open, and winners will be announced on television next season.  (There’s nothing like a little embarrassment to coax a manufacturer to change.)  Learn more about the awards here (one minute video); or submit your nominee – and see David Suzuki’s nominee (45 second video) – at CBC Marketplace.  Oh, and my nominee is here (100 second video)

Together, we can put an end to Wrap Rage!