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Making a Difference with Rain Barrels and Composters

We all learned a lot about soil health and stormwater at our recent “make and take” Rain Barrel and Composter Workshop in Woodstock on October 22, 2017.  It’s a pleasure to give gardeners and homeowners the tools they need to make a difference. Thanks to everyone who helped out and attended. Keep reading to learn more. 


This event had two parts: the first half focused on building rain barrels and learning about storm water pollution; the second focused on rotating compost barrels and basic instructions on composting.

The workshop price of $45.00 was affordable thanks to a grant from the Pure Water Forum. This workshop was a joint collaboration between the Northern Shenandoah Valley Master Gardeners, Friends of the North Fork, the Lord Fairfax Soil & Water Conservation District, and the Town of Woodstock.

In the monthly “Conservation Corner” article from the Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, Harvesting a Barrel of Monkeys, Alison Sloop, a conservation specialist stated that “Rain barrels help capture rainwater from your roof, which can be re-purposed to irrigate your garden and lawn. This helps mitigate storm water runoff, and it can help save you some money on your next water bill.”  

Jay Pinski, education and information coordinator, also stated, “According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food scraps and yard waste make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, and should be composted instead. Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”

Pinsky continues: “Other benefits of composting are that it enriches the soil, helps retain moisture in the soil, suppress plant diseases and pests, reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create humus, a rich nutrient-filled material.”

We are already planning our next rain barrel and composter workshop in June, as well as another rain barrel workshop in Shenandoah County.

Our goal is to increase the number and diversity of local citizen steward and local governments that actively support and carry out conservation and restoration projects that achieve healthy local streams, rivers, and a vibrant Chesapeake Bay.

Let us know if your town or business would like  to help host or sponsor a workshop!