|This brass Y spigot with the ball-valve shut-offs is very easy to operate|
My heart broke last week when – as temperatures dropped – I had to empty three full rain barrels. It seemed sinful, somehow. A long section of hose on the spigot, backed up by a watering can, let me spot water the garden as they emptied. But some water simply had to run down the driveway.
(Picture a sad-face emoji here.)
The value of rain barrels depends so much on when the rain comes – or if. Empty rain barrels can’t water a garden. As I wrote earlier this month, we often had half our usual precipitation in 2015. While techniques like mulching can conserve water, when there’s no rain you need backup.
So I’m thankful I have Mr. TG, who loves solving problems. A few years ago, he rigged me up an easy-to-use watering system, the backbone of which is the two-spigot tap above from Lee Valley. I’m inclined to agree with their catalog when they call it the “best shut-off valves ever.” Trust me on this, we got them using real cash money (and have invested in more since), and I say “I love you” every time I use them. Much easier than those wee wedge turn-offs, these levers have leverage!
|Aqua-Dynamics quarter-turn shut off|
The main shut-off valve (the one that once was red) is a smaller version of the same type of ball-valve system Lee Valley uses – a quarter-turn tap from Aqua-Dynamics (purchased from Rona or Home Depot), which fits better into the tight space at the top.
One side of the Y goes to a soaker hose and gets turned on in emergencies. The other side waters my vegetable containers. Over 2015’s hot, dry July, that became pretty much daily.
I’ll be writing about more of my watering favourites later. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear what you do in your garden when your rain barrels are empty.