This year's Earth Day got a bit overshadowed by the sad news of Prince's passing, so I'm writing today with some good news:  You can water your flowers and shrubs all summer long without increasing your water bill.  I just got a rain barrel.  It's positioned under the downspout so it will collect rain as it falls.  The big plastic barrel will hold 55 gallons of water.  The garden hose will attach to the barrel's nozzle instead of hooking up to the house's water supply.  

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Rain barrels help conserve resources and money according to the Rutgers Cooperative Extension.  They offer rain barrel workshops in Ocean County and their website http://ocean.njaes.rutgers.edu/ag/RainBarrel.htm  offers instructions on how to build your own rain barrel!

I actually ordered mine from Amazon so it was delivered right to the house and I didn't have to deal with trying to fit it in my car.  Home Depot, Lowes, and other retailers offer them in a variety of shapes, colors, and styles.

Have you seen rain barrels at any local Ocean County garden centers?  Let us know in the Comments section below.  Do you use a rain barrel to water your plants?  Any advice for those thinking of getting one?