Installing a Rain Tank for the Raised Vegetable Garden

Rain Tank

Check out my new 300 gallon rain tank! It’s the newest addition to my veggie garden heaven, previously the useless sunny strip next to the back driveway.

Greg Whitfield from The Rain Well installed it yesterday. I like this particular tank because of its low profile and small footprint. It’s 34 inches in diameter and about 7 feet tall, which tucks up underneath most house eaves. It’s also dark green, which keeps out algae-causing UV rays, but also looks pretty sharp. My dad was convinced it would be orange or camouflage or something.

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The tank system is made up of these parts:

The big container that includes a basket strainer on the top

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A spigot fitting that works like a hose bib on the bottom

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An overflow PVC pipe to divert rain once the tank is full

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I bought the tank both because rainwater is much better for plants, and because there’s no hose connection anywhere near this spot in my yard. Up ’til now to water the spot I’ve either lugged a 3 gallon watering can or fussed with a 150 foot hose that usually lives in the front yard.

It took nearly 2 hours for the installation, much of which was making sure the ground was level and built up enough to mitigate future sinking into soft soil. I watched the entire process and at first thought it was something a DIY-er might do on her own. There are quite a few special parts to get, though, and while it appears simple to set up, knowing how to keep the fittings from leaking, etc., makes hiring installation worth it.

Now I just need for it to rain!

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20 responses to “Installing a Rain Tank for the Raised Vegetable Garden

  1. That tank is very, very awesome! The only ones I had seen so far were barrel shaped, which is not very tall. The size you installed is a great use of space!

  2. My company supplies underground rain tanks for commercial use here in Houston. The cool thing is that you can configure them to fit almost any landscape situation. For more info you can visit http://www.constructionecoservices.com

  3. very cool. i’ve got a similar setup with 55gal rain barrels. i’m not happy with the distribution however. how does yours work…by gravity and you just run the water out into the bed? i’ve been trying to figure out how to hook mine up to a drip system but i can’t get enough pressure to make it work. thoughts?

  4. Rich – check out my new post on the rain barrel pump. Perhaps that could help.

    Or, alternatively you might try raising your barrels on a cinder block or two, which I believe would increase water pressure.

    My system currently runs off gravity. I haven’t used it much yet, so we’ll see how that works.

  5. My back yard slopes down to a creek. There is a 10-12 foot drop between where I would keep my barrel(s) and where I would need the water. It would definitely be an issue for some applications though.

  6. I did NOT need to see that, because I’m in a place where I could fill up a 300-gallon tank with one reasonable downpour. I don’t have any problems with it, but my wife would have, oh, what’s the phrase, “a homicidal fit”.

  7. That is… AWESOME.

    I just had my gutters cleaned yesterday and got to hear the WHOOSH! of water that had been plugged up there for weeks.

    Just imagine if I could have directed that mineral-rich liquid gold into my garden!

    Keep up the great work. Adding you to our blogroll today! 🙂

  8. What kind of vines did you plant to screen the tank?

  9. I wasn’t concerned about screening it. The plants in front of it are vegetables. This is behind my garage, so looks are not so important. Honestly, though, since it’s dark green and petite it wouldn’t bother me to have this partially exposed in other parts of my landscape.

  10. This is really great! Does anybody know of a tank supplier/installer around upstate New York (Woodstock/Kingston/Saugerties)?

  11. Erin, Greg sent me your blog info. Very nice! You are doing it right and serve as a model for Dallas. I recently retired from TAMU. Greg installed many demo sites for me across West Texas from El Paso to Odessa. We use RWH for home, business/public buildings, livestock, wildlife and fire fighting. Visit McDonald Observatory and see the 20,000 gal. tank we installed for fire fighting water on top of the mountain – catches stormwater runoff from parking lot. Lots of ways to use it wisely. Take a look at our task force website. Thanks for using our precious water so wisely.
    PS (higher is better for all tanks = more pressure)

  12. Nice size tank – we installed two 80 gallon rain barrels we bought from http://www.aquabarrel.com

  13. Erin,

    I’m looking to convert my 9-unit condo building to rain barrels, and I LOVE your 300 gallon tank. You say the Rain Well installed it– did you buy it there too? What is the actual name of the tank? I’ve been searching the web but I can’t seem to find this exact tank… it’s the one I want! Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

    • Melissa- the rain well installed the tank and sourced it too. Not sure of its actual name, but if you search for water tanks that hold 300 gallons and that are 36″ in diameter you will likely find it. I think the rain well has it listed on its site too.

  14. http://www.aquabarrel.com offers a large variety of rain collection devices, down spout diverters and more. Check them out!

  15. Erin, thanks for this ground-breaking blog post!! We just got finished with the first stage of our residential system here in greater Houston. We did something similar to what you’ve done, only we took both the analysis and the development a bit further. I discuss your system during the course of our resulting blog post:
    http://caylawral.blogspot.com/2011/09/rainwater-harvesting-from-start-to.html

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  19. Just a question. The link the the rain well company doesn’t work. Is there a new link you can provide for that company?

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