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How to Make a Simple Rain Gauge

Written by Mindy on April 13th, 2015

Believe it or not, knowing how much rain your local area receives is very important and when I say local I mean your property.  While you can listen to the weather, your local amount can and probably will, fluctuate from that account.  In doing so, the best way to know how much you receive is to create your own rain gauge.

Why is it important to know the amount of rain that you receive?   Well, let’s say if you have plants that require one inch of water a week.  How are you to know if you need to water?  You could do the finger test but that really does not tell you whether your plants have received their quota of water.

Crafting a Simple Rain Gauge

rain.gaugeA rain gauge does not have to be anything fancy.  Its entire purpose is to collect water.  In doing so, all you will need is a clear container, marker, paint, and ruler.

To begin the process of making a simple rain gauge, one will need to clean the container.  Remove any food particles and stickers that may be on the outside.  Once that is done, take your ruler and mark off one inch increments on the side of the container.  If you are very serious about recording your rain amount, take the one inch marks and draw a line from each that goes all the way around the container.  These marks are how you will know how much rain you have received.

While marker will rub off, you can make the lines permanent by applying a thin line of paint on top of the one inch marks.  If you want to do the line all the way around, make sure the line is not so thick that it blocks out your ability to see the level of the water.

Once that is done, you are ready to put your rain gauge outside but……..there are a few areas by which you should never place a rain gauge.  One, do not place it under a tree.  While the one I have created does not have a stake by which you could place it in the ground, you could hang it.  Having said that, do not hang it from a tree branch or place it on the ground below a tree.  The latter situations will give you a false reading.

Also, do not put it up against your home or on your windowsill.  Either one of these will also give you a false reading.

The best area to place your rain gauge is just out in the open.  It can go on the lawn or even on a table.  Once it rains, go out and read your rain gauge.  After you get your reading, do not forget to pour out the water.

The last thing you need to remember is there is no need to leave your rain gauge outside when it is not the growing season (winter).  So once your lawn turns brown, bring in your rain gauge.  While this time of year is sad for me, I like to place it on my desk with seed packets in it.  This way I can look at it and dream of the next gardening season.


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