Did you know that one inch of rain on a 1,000 sq. ft. roof will yield 623 gallons of water? Yes, that is hard to believe…until you attend a workshop, receive your rain barrel, take it home, hook it up and it rains. With an average annual rainfall of approximately 50 inches, each household can save more than 31,000 gallons a year if it had sufficient storage capacity.

We offer Rainwater Harvesting workshops one Saturday a month at the Extension office in Seffner for a cost of $5. At this workshop, you will learn that a rain barrel is any device 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.

These benefits are extremely important because of the decrease in the amount of water you purchase and the soil washing away from your landscape (erosion) and stormwater runoff, which moves fertilizers, pesticides, oil, gas, trash, etc. from your property into a storm drain and ultimately into Tampa Bay, resulting in algae blooms, fish kills, etc.

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

Instructions are provided on painting rain barrels, safety considerations and the 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.

Triple workshops (rainwater harvesting, composting and microirrigation) are offered nearly every month of the year in Seffner. These educational programs are $5 per household per workshop, attendance being 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 rain barrel that the staff and Master Gardeners have drilled and spigoted. After composting, you will receive a compost bin, kitchen compost bucket and compost thermometer. After microirrigation, you will receive a microirrigation kit, hose nozzle and rain gauge.

Preregistration is required. Visit http://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hillsborough/upcoming-events/ for a calendar of events.

For horticultural assistance, contact the UF/IFAS Extension, Hillsborough County at 744-5519 or visit at 5339 CR 579 in Seffner.

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