Master Gardeners plan rain barrel workshop at Menokin historic site
, 2014

Master Gardeners plan rain barrel
workshop at Menokin historic site

The Northern Neck Master Gardeners will hold their final rain barrel workshop of 2013 from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, August 24, at the Menokin Visitors Center in Richmond County. At this hands-on workshop, participants will make their own rain barrels and learn about different installation options, including how to direct rainfall from roofs where gutters aren’t present.

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Master Gardener Priscilla Wellford (left) helps Ashley Johnson attach a spigot to her rain barrel during last year’s Menokin workshop.

The workshop will be held rain or shine and the Master Gardeners will furnish all necessary tools and supplies.

 “Rain barrels are a way to store cheap, sodium-free water that can be used later for plants, indoors and out,” said Master Gardener Edna Roberts. “They also benefit the environment by reducing storm water runoff that would otherwise wind up in the bay,” she said.

“Though rainfall has been plentiful this year, we know from experience not to count on it throughout the growing season,” said Roberts. “And using well water to irrigate uses electricity, depletes the aquifer, and can actually harm plants. The high sodium content of much of our well water can be harmful, especially to indoor plants, from the build-up of salts in the soil.”   

The cost of the workshop is $50 for each rain barrel made. The workshop will begin with a PowerPoint presentation about rain barrels and how to make and care for them. Then, with help from Master Gardeners, participants will construct their own rain barrels to take home and install.

Roberts added the following advice for those who plan to participate: “This is a messy project, so wear ‘work’ clothes. A rain barrel is about 44 inches tall by 24 inches wide, so make sure your vehicle can accommodate it. Also, if you have an open vehicle, bring rope to tie your rain barrel to the vehicle.”

Questions about the workshop or how to obtain ready-made rain barrels should be directed to the Northumberland Extension Office at 580-5694, or Master Gardener Edna Roberts at 435-6086.  Ready-made rain barrels and composters cost $60 and $75, respectively. 

Directions to Menokin are available on their website,, or by calling 804-333-1776.

If you are a person with a disability and desire any assistive devices, services or other accommodations to participate in this activity, contact Kathleen Watson in the Northumberland County Extension Office at 580-5694 during business hours five days prior to the event.  *TDD number is 800-828-1120.

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