View Full Version : rainbarrel caution

03-26-2009, 09:34 PM
Ok to the point. WATCH WHAT YOU USE FOR RAINBARRELS! Last year I used empty 55 gal. drums that I got for free from a local dairy farmer to store rainwater for my garden. The barrels had contained either a peroxide solution or an iodine solution. I did rinse the barrels out with water before I used them to store rainwater. My garden plants grew just fine. I even shared some of my tomatoes with my friends at work. They thought they were great. My only problem with using the iodine barrels last year was this. I had only one watermelon plant and I had thinned it to only one melon. I picked it when I thought it was ready. I brought it in house and cut it open. I was just about to take a bite when I smelled IODINE! :eek: I even tasted a tiny piece just to be sure and sure enough it was iodine. I'm going to hypothesize that watermelons are very sensitive and can pick up unwanted chemicals such as iodine very easy. I will not be planting watermelon this year(no room):( and I will probably not be using any empty Iodine drums as well. Anybody else want to shed some light on this subject? Warren

03-27-2009, 09:27 AM

I think that really shows us how important it is to know what the barrels that we use last contained. The barrels that DH got for me had previously contained food products (can't remember what exactly).

With the iodine, this element is found naturally occuring in the soil already in minute quantities. Plants do obtain it from the soil also. I had read in a medical report that farm land was deficit in iodine (because farmers only replenish nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium compounds with synthetic fertilizers). This had lead to an increase in the amount of people with thyriod problems. Also, in the poorer countries this is also a very big problem where farm land is repeatedly used and the soil is not replenished.

Watermelons take up a large amount of water and maybe this is why you really noticed the taste and smell of the iodine so much while you didn't in the other veggies you grew.

03-27-2009, 09:42 AM
Wow! thanks much for the heads up.

03-27-2009, 09:51 AM
Hmm, I've always read to only use food grade barrels for rain collection, but I'm not sure how I would have treated iodine. As Judy said, it's natural. What did you clean them out with and does the barrel still smell?

Sorry you lost your watermelon. Thanks for the heads up.

03-27-2009, 10:10 AM
Thanks for the post. I think it is always important to be extra cautious when you are reusing materials. Many times in my videos I show the least expensive way to do something and only reuse materials that just make sense. Purchasing a rain barrel can be pricey so I can understand that alternative solutions are sought. If we can all just reuse and compost the things that we know are safe, that would be a big step in the right direction. Things like water barrels are crucial to conserving water and saving money. So it is worth an investment that will pay off very quickly and last a long time. Safety when reusing things is the most important. Warren, what are you using now?

03-28-2009, 05:59 PM
I still plan on using the peroxide barrels only this year. I stored all of them in the basement over the winter and have yet to buy rain gutter, pipes and fittings and connect them together. I will be taking them to the local car wash and rinse them out with soapy water. I also plan on taking various water samples and have them tested. The iodine barrels were washed out last year and still have the smell of iodine in them. I can give them back to my friend the dairy farmer when I go get more old peroxide barrels or I can conduct experiments on the iodine barrels over the summer. I will keep you all posted. warren