How to collect rainwater in the vegetable garden

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:16 pm

As we all know, water is a sensitive issue, so we must learn to use the water resources available to us. One way to make the most of them is by recovering rainwater. In addition to being a great help in the garden, rainwater harvesting is a great way to fight against floods.

How to collect rainwater in the vegetable garden
Plastic collector in height for easy filling of your watering cans

In urban areas, many soils are waterproofed, so that in case of heavy rainfall, drains and rivers are not able to absorb such quantities of water and result in flooding. Collecting rainwater from the roof helps to avoid them. Some time ago we already talked about Rain Gardens to avoid these problems, and today we present you another alternative: rainwater collectors. Here we go!

How to install a rainwater collector in the garden

How to collect rainwater in the vegetable garden

Investing in a rainwater collector is worth it, because it is easy to amortize its cost after the first irrigation season. Here are some tips on how to install it:

  • Install the rainwater collector in the gutter closest to the vegetable garden, this will reduce the effort of carrying watering cans to the maximum when watering.
  • Prepare a sufficiently high base on which to place the collector so that you can place the watering cans at a lower level and facilitate their subsequent filling.
  • If you cut the gutter, once it is filled the recuperator will overflow, wetting the surrounding soil, so it is better to perforate it in such a way as to allow the gutter to function normally, i.e., the water will reach the sewer system when the collector is full.
  • If the recuperator does not have a tap, install one at the lowest possible level so that the tank can be emptied completely or almost completely.
  • Depending on the configuration and space of your garden, install one large reclaimer or two or three smaller ones. You can distribute them in different gutters or place them all in the same gutter so that they empty into each other by gravity: the excess water from the highest collector will fall into the next level and the same will happen with the rest of the levels. You do not need to raise the containers to different heights, it is enough that the first one is higher than the second one and this one higher than the third one.
  • If you bury the tank, it will be insivable, and in addition, it will be protected from light, avoiding the development of algae or moss and allowing the water to remain fresh; however, you will need a pumping system to remove the water, although it does not necessarily have to be electric, as there are manual pumping systems.
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Of course, the more rainwater you have, the more autonomy you will have with respect to the mains supply. To give you an idea, with 1 cubic meter of reused rainwater, you can irrigate a plot of land of about 40 square meters in a temperate climate, and about 20 square meters in a hot climate. Are you really thinking about it?

How to use rainwater collectors

If the collector is dry, for example, after the summer, fill it with water from the mains, and from there your sprinklers. In this way, you will prevent dirt from accumulating during dry periods and, in addition, you will be able to get an idea of the water you are spending, since you will always have the reference of the collector’s capacity, while if you water directly from a hose, it is much more complicated to have this perception and we tend to waste water.

How to collect rainwater in the vegetable garden
Clay vessel, very aesthetic for use as a rainwater collector

If the water turns green, it is because it is filled with algae and moss, in that case, fill three quarters of the collector with water and pour half a liter of chlorine per cubic meter. Mix it with a stick or a cane. You will have to wait three days to use it as irrigation water, time necessary for most of the chlorine to evaporate and not cause any damage to our crops.
Keep the containers closed to prevent dry leaves and other materials from falling into the water, as they rot and can lead to bad odors and clogging. In the same way, it is important that the gutter is equipped with a grid to retain dead leaves. In addition, you will need to clean this grate regularly, especially during the fall.

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Recycled rainwater collector

A rainwater collector is nothing more than a tank that collects rainfall usually through the roof gutter, as this is the simplest way. As you can imagine you can use an infinite number of containers as collectors, so here are a few:

  • Wine barrels and barrels: It will not be difficult to get them in wine regions at a good price. They also come ready to install a tap.
  • Old garbage cans: Both plastic and metal will serve as rainwater collectors.
  • Plastic containers from different industries: Once cleaned, they are very good because they are very solid.
  • Old fuel oil tanks: They will need a deep cleaning to reconvert them into water tanks.

Of course, you can give free rein to your imagination and decorate them as you like, as we do with our Macetohuerto.

How to collect rainwater in the vegetable garden
Decorate the container to your liking!

So much for our tips on how to recover rainwater. I hope they will be of great help to you in your garden, see you next time!


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.