Collect rain, protect the Island

Rain barrels collect rain that would otherwise be wasted, and provide water for thirsty plants, in an environmentally friendly way. — Photo by Michael Cummo

In the coming months, hot sunny days are likely to outnumber rainy ones. Plants and gardens around the Island will suffer if they don’t get the water they require, but water pumped from coastal ponds can be expensive, not to mention harmful to the Island’s natural resources. The Lagoon Pond Association (LPA) offers a solution to keep your plants thriving in an environmentally friendly way year-round: the Ivy Rain Barrel Program.

Rain barrels are large plastic containers that connect via downspouts to the exterior of a house, preferably near a garden. The LPA lists the following reasons as the top 5 for rain barrel use:

1.To protect rivers, streams, and ponds from runoff pollution

2.To divert water from the municipal storm drain system

3.To conserve a vital natural resource and reduce water bills

4.To use the nitrogen-rich rain water to grow healthy and lush plants

5.To control moisture levels around the foundation of your home

The 42’’H x 22’W x 18’’ L Ivy Rain Barrel, which is made from recycled plastic, sports a child- and bug-proof lid and holds up to 50 gallons of water. Valves toward the barrels’ underside can be fastened to hoses and irrigation drip systems, allowing for immediate reuse of the water collected during a storm that would otherwise soak into groundwater and cause nitrogen levels, and therefore algae, in local ponds to increase.

Ivy barrels, $81, are available for purchase at the Tisbury Farm Market or Middletown Nursery on State Road. For more information visit