Rain has benefits that tap water simply can’t deliver to plants

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

In my experience living in Pearl River County, when it rains, it pours. Although these gloomy days may seem sad, they sprinkle life upon many gardens throughout the county, providing a healthier water source than any other process.

Now, if someone were to suggest they were going into the yard to harvest fruit or flowers, it wouldn’t be outlandish, but if they mentioned they were going to harvest rain, it might turn a head or two.

Whether you have a garden or just a couple of potted plants, you go through the regular process of watering your plants. However, a recent conversation I had with a neighbor opened my eyes to a more cost efficient and environmentally friendly way to keep my garden at its best. He told me that if I collect rainwater and use that to water my plants, it would make the plants happier and healthier. It made sense, but for some reason the idea never crossed my mind.

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According to the National Climatic Data Center, on an annual basis, 99 rain events in Picayune result in an average of 63.1 inches of precipitation each year.

To harvest this liquid, I suggest setting up rain barrels, five gallons or bigger, to collect water from a structure’s rooftop. In doing so, not only can you harvest the best water source for our plants, you can also decrease the amount of drinking water used to irrigate those plants and save a couple of bucks on your water bill.

Tap water is fine to use, it just lacks the efficiency that natural rainwater provides. Municipal water sometimes contains chlorine and other substances that inhibit proper plant growth and doesn’t soak into the ground as deep as rainwater, according to the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association.

Especially because it can get very dry during droughts in Mississippi, I suggest setting multiple rain barrels with secure tops for when it is not raining to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes in your clean water.