Did you know that we offer triple workshops (rainwater harvesting, composting and microirrigation) nearly every month of the year at our office in Seffner? These educational programs are free to attend, one time only, as a Hillsborough County resident. If you have not attended, think about this: after the rainwater harvesting workshop, you will receive one free rain barrel that staff and Master Gardeners have drilled and spigoted. After composting, you receive a free compost bin, kitchen compost bucket and compost thermometer. After microirrigation, you receive a free microirrigation kit, hose nozzle and rain gauge. But, let’s focus on harvesting rainwater.

At the rainwater harvesting workshop, you will learn that a rain barrel is any device that is used to collect rainwater mainly for landscape irrigation. The benefits of capturing rainwater include reductions in potable water use for a landscape, erosion and stormwater runoff. We will explain the reasons why these reductions are important to the environment and each of us along with how to make these reductions happen.

Did you know that one inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof will yield 623 gallons of water? Yes, that’s hard to believe…until you get your rain barrel home, place it appropriately and the rain falls! With an average annual rainfall of approximately 50 inches, each household can save more than 31,000 gallons a year with sufficient storage capacity.

Attendees will learn how to make their own rain barrels, how to set up their barrel at home, the ideal locations with or without gutters and how to create a stable platform/base for their rain barrel. Attendees will also receive information on why an overflow is important and how to create one, how to connect multiple rain barrels and the maintenance needed.

Instructions are provided about painting rain barrels, safety considerations and use of products to kill mosquito larvae. Harvested rainwater can be used on ornamental plants but not edibles and this will also be fully explained during the workshop.

If you have not attended a rainwater harvesting workshop with us in the past, you may want to consider registering for one now. If you are at our office for one workshop, you may want to attend all three as they are on the same Saturday, back-to-back. Pre-registration is required. Check out our website which contains the calendar of events at: http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/.

For horticultural assistance, contact the UF/IFAS Extension Hillsborough County, 813-744-5519, or visit at 5339 County Road 579, Seffner, FL 33584. We hope to see you at our upcoming workshops on September 8, October 6 and/or November 3, 2018. Remember to reduce, reuse, recycle and repeat.