Category Archives: Gardens

Rain Barrels: Catch and Store the Rain

This week’s downpours remind us that nature’s abundance is not always delivered on our schedule.  Erratic weather calls for ingenuity. What could be better than to store all that free water for the coming dry spells of late summer?

Rain barrels, of one form or another, have been around for thousands of years. There are several ways to make your own rain barrel depending on how handy you are with tools and your aesthetic preferences. Plus you can start with just one barrel and add them on for more storage.

A couple of useful videos.  The first is an open screen top barrel:

If you prefer to buy a kit with all the tools and fittings, there are good ones to be found locally. The video below shows the installation of the popular Earth Minded DIY Rain Barrel kit available at Ace Hardware, Home Depot and Rain Brothers:

One more:

You can buy this DIY Rain Barrel Kit at Rain Brothers of Columbus. Make sure you select the right diverter for your downspout size.

So where do you get the barrels? Locally in central Ohio there is Container Management Company,  LLC. They sell a wide variety of refurbished containers for a great deal less than new ones. You can also contact your local soft drink bottler who may also sell syrup barrels to the public.

What about aesthetics, you say? There are lots of creative ways to make those barrels look beautiful as well as useful. Painting your barrels is recommended. It makes them opaque, preventing algae growth inside and preserving your water quality. Plus, barrels lend themselves to coverings of all kinds.  Here are a few ideas:

Of course, if you are not the handy sort, you can buy a ready-made rain barrel. If you are in the City of Columbus or a participating municipality you may qualify for up to $50 rebate on a purchased rain barrel.  Learn more about the Community Backyards Conservation Program.

Store bought rain barrels generally cost around $100 and up.

If you have a rain barrel share a photo and  if you make or buy one after reading this, please comment here and let us know how it turned out.


What’s that weed? It could be Plantain, and it’s edible!

Plantain is thriving in central Ohio neighborhoods right now and it’s edible and medicinal. The leaves are edible raw in salad or cooked as a pot herb, they are very rich in vitamin B1 and riboflavin. Young leaves are more tender.  The herb has a long history of use as an alternative medicine dating back to ancient times.

Always be certain of what your plant is before eating or using. Do your homework first.

Read more about Plantain on this blog article:

Video on identifying broad and narrow leaf plantain:

How big a yard do you need to live off the fat of the land?

I was surprised at how little land this analysis says you need for a family of four.  It seems they did not mean to grow the feed for the animals on their own land, indicated by the very small area allotted for the animals.  In my opinion, living off the land means producing most of the feed for any animals on the land as well.

It is worth thinking about our true carbon food-print. The site is a resource for solar energy options. It’s worth checking out.

Home Solar Power Discounts – One Block Off the Grid
How big a yard do you need to live off the fat of the land?.

Franklinton Gardens Hosting volunteer work days

Dear Friends of Franklinton Gardens,

During the next two weekends in February, Franklinton Gardens will be hosting volunteer work days from 9am-4pm at the Farmhouse, the Franklinton Gardens intern house at 909 W Rich Street. We are in need of many hands to help with remodeling work that we hope to finish by March 1st. Work detail will involve removing wall paneling, removing drop tile ceilings, patching holes in the walls and ceilings, cleaning windows, painting walls, ect. The more volunteers the better, we have loads of work and can accommodate both indoor remodeling and outdoor garden preparation projects, depending on volunteer turnout and weather. If you plan to help out either this weekend (February 18th and 19th), or the next weekend (February 25th and 26th), please notify us at info@franklintongardens, or by phone at (614) 205-3591 so that we can plan accordingly.

Thanks for your support!

Franklinton Gardens is dedicated to promoting urban agriculture and healthy food access in the Franklinton neighborhood. Creation of beauty in abandoned places, the sharing of food among neighbors, educating about nutrition and active lifestyles, and building a just and peaceable community are central themes of the Franklinton Gardens mission. — Nicholas Stanich Americorps VISTA, Franklinton Gardens Franklinton Gardens 909 W Rich Street Columbus, Ohio 43222 Cell: 614-562-4804 Office: 614.224.4770 Email: