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DIY rain barrel and the perks of using one to water cannabis

Published Jun 20, 2022 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / okugawa

With summer fast approaching, many of us are working up garden beds and purchasing seeds to get ready for the upcoming growing season. This is when all of the hard work takes place while creating the ideal oasis for cannabis plants to thrive, and there’s a lot to do, but if you’ve got the time and space, we highly recommend taking on one more project – the DIY rain barrel.

A fresh supply of chemical-free water

Tap water is neverending in most households, without limits, but it comes with one big problem, and that is added chemicals, which can be hazardous to fragile cannabis plants. Instead of figuring out how to make tap water safe for plants, you can skip that step entirely by maintaining your very own rain barrel. This water doesn’t have to be treated, filtered, or altered in any way, and it’s always available to use whenever you need it.

Save money

You might be thinking about the addition to your garden as an unsightly eyesore or something that takes up too much room, but when you look at the amount of money you’ll save over time, the transition is more than worth it. Never again pay to turn on your hose for costly water treatments that may be required when relying on tap water.

Easy watering

Grab a watering can, turn on the tap, and fill, it’s really that easy to make use of a rain barrel collector, and if you want to go the extra mile, it’s quite simple to turn one into an automatic watering system, with the addition of some extra hose, and rubber rings. Imagine watering all of your gardens being as easy as flipping a switch because, with an upgrade, that’s exactly how incredible this DIY project is.

How to make a rain barrel

Even if you aren’t overly keen on DIY projects, this one is a cinch, and you don’t need any fancy tools or skills with a wood saw to get the job done. What you will require however is a small list of materials, so be sure to go over the list before getting started to avoid any unanticipated interruptions along the way. Of course, it’s all made simpler if you’re game to splurge on a rain barrel kit, but for the sake of simplicity and saving money, we’re going to keep things simple by listing each material separately, all of which are available at your local hardware store for a fraction of the price of kits.

You’ll need:

  • 1 20-gallon garbage can (with removable lid)
  • Drill
  • 1-inch bit
  • ¼ inch drill bit
  • Mosquito screen (or another soft mesh screen)
  • Spigot
  • Bulkhead fitting
  • Teflon tape
  • Garden wire


  1. Thoroughly wash the garbage can because you just never know what could be left behind, even if it comes straight from the factory.

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  • Drill a 1-inch hole in the side near the bottom of the garbage can, and then install the bulkhead fitting by threading it through the opening.

  • Install the spigot and adjust it as much as necessary to ensure the tap is facing downwards.

  • Seal the spigot with Teflon tape to prevent leaks.

  • Drill a ¼ inch overflow hole above the spigot towards the top of the garbage can.

  • Now, it’s time to move onto the lid, where you’ll need to drill anywhere from 6-12 holes in a uniform fashion, taking care to ensure they’re spread out to gather the most water, even on days where there isn’t much rain.

  • Place the newly made rain barrel where you want it to be and remove the lid.

  • Cover the opening of the can with mosquito netting and place the lid on top; only you’ll want to flip it upside down to funnel the water downwards.

  • Drill anywhere from 6-12 ¼ inch holes around the outer rim of the lid. This will give you a way to attach the two pieces with wire.

  • Thread the wire through the newly drilled holes, and then twist them to hold the whole thing in place.

  • Voila! You’ve officially finished making your very own DIY rain barrel water collector!

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