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Using well H2O, what should I test for?

Tecumseh

New Member
I live in an rural area where there is no municipal H2O available. The area in which I live sits upon limerock and red clay. So I need to know what I need to test for in my water and what products are recommended. I've got ph test strips coming in the mail (since they're hard to find) but I'm unsure what else I need.

I'm having trouble getting seeds to germinate and thrive. I'm thinking that I may have a water problem. I don't know. I'm new at this. I'm using well water from an outdoor tap. All indoor water is run through a filter and water softener. I drink the indoor water but I assume that the indoor water would be a no-no for plants due to the salt from the softener.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
 

HorseBadoritz

Well-Known Member
I live in an rural area where there is no municipal H2O available. The area in which I live sits upon limerock and red clay. So I need to know what I need to test for in my water and what products are recommended. I've got ph test strips coming in the mail (since they're hard to find) but I'm unsure what else I need.

I'm having trouble getting seeds to germinate and thrive. I'm thinking that I may have a water problem. I don't know. I'm new at this. I'm using well water from an outdoor tap. All indoor water is run through a filter and water softener. I drink the indoor water but I assume that the indoor water would be a no-no for plants due to the salt from the softener.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.
High Tecumseh, I have a well, too. I had troubles growing, and part of it turned out to the Total Alkylinity of our water. I got a $10 bottle of pool test strips, and the TA was off the chart. I think under 80 is passable, but lower is better. Think my strips go to 140.

You can find companies online that will test your water for free, as long they think they have a chance to sell you a filter!

I'd suspect with limestone, you'd have pretty high TA. Most of the other stuff in well water is okay for plants (and it's stuff that they do need), but well water is not usually something that's a natural occurrence, so a particular well may not have what plants need, or maybe too much. On top of that, a well's water is always changing it's makeup.

The softened water is probably run through salt, not so good for the plants, but great for getting rid of tub rings.

When I use my well water, I have to add 75% RO. It's a pain, but my plants are much happier.
 

Tecumseh

New Member
When I use my well water, I have to add 75% RO. It's a pain, but my plants are much happier.
What is RO? And, Total Alkalinity, that is seperate from ph? I'm unfamiliar with some of these terms and their definitions. Thanx for your input.
 

HorseBadoritz

Well-Known Member
What is RO? And, Total Alkalinity, that is seperate from ph? I'm unfamiliar with some of these terms and their definitions. Thanx for your input.
Hay Tecumseh, Don't worry, I forgot that I thought people were talking in a foreign language when I first came here :)

RO is Reverse Osmosis, a process for purifying water.

This explains it better than I can.

"Alkalinity is a measure of the capacity of water to neutralize acids (see pH description). Alkaline compounds in the water such as bicarbonates (baking soda is one type), carbonates, and hydroxides remove H+ ions and lower the acidity of the water (which means increased pH). They usually do this by combining with the H+ ions to make new compounds. Without this acid-neutralizing capacity, any acid added to a stream would cause an immediate change in the pH. Measuring alkalinity is important in determining a stream's ability to neutralize acidic pollution from rainfall or wastewater. It's one of the best measures of the sensitivity of the stream to acid inputs.

Alkalinity in streams is influenced by rocks and soils, salts, certain plant activities, and certain industrial wastewater discharges.

Total alkalinity is measured by measuring the amount of acid (e.g., sulfuric acid) needed to bring the sample to a pH of 4.2. At this pH all the alkaline compounds in the sample are "used up." The result is reported as milligrams per liter of calcium carbonate (mg/L CaCO3)."

And for pH

"What does pH stand for?

by: Charlene Rennick



Have you ever wondered why the "p" in "pH" is a lower-case letter while the "H" is capitalized? What does it mean?

The "p" stands for potential and the "H" stands for Hydrogen. Okay, so that makes it as clear as mud. What is potential Hydrogen? A scientific explanation would state that pH refers to the plant's ability to attract hydrogen ions. A less scientific explanation says pH is the acid/alkaline balance.

Translated into a language those of us without the Ph D can understand, pH level refers to the amount of acid and alkaline contained inside of both the water and the growing medium or soil. If the environment is too acidic, that means the plant will not attract enough hydrogen, while an environment that is too alkaline will attract too much hydrogen. An environment that continually fluctuates from one extreme on the pH scale to the other is unhealthy for the plant.

Hydrogen is one of four elements any living plant needs to survive. Without hydrogen, the plant would wilt and not be able to take in nutrients. Because the plant contains hydrogen, it continues to absorb hydrogen through the water via a process called osmosis. This hydrogen-osmosis cycle is what keeps the nutrients traveling from the water into the plant. Once a plant has died due to lack of water, there is no amount of water that can be added to it that will cause the plant to be revived.

The level of pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 with 0 representing the highest concentration of acid and 14 representative of the most alkaline. Seven is the magic figure for pH because it means that there is a balance of acid and alkaline in the solution and is often referred to as pH neutral. It is usually sufficient to say that a pH neutral environment is perfect for most plants, but some vegetation requires water or a growing medium that is more acidic than alkaline in order to flourish or have the right colour of blossoms, while other plants prefer the opposite. Testing strips for pH can be purchased to determine exactly what the acid/alkaline balance is in your water, growing medium or soil. This makes it easy to adjust the level for home gardeners or for mixing nutrients for your own hydroponic garden."
 

quietonthe401

On Vacation
If it just for germ. maybe buy a 4L jug of water?
I'll bet my left nut you drowned the seedlings, pretend its not pot, wet the soil,put the seed in, cover, and dont play with it. Don't water it everytime you walk by.
Killed by love.
 

Tecumseh

New Member
That's a lot of info Horse. Thanx. Perhaps I should just use bottled distilled H2O. It seems like in the long run, it would be cheaper and less hassle than trying to correct any problems in my water. Do we foresee any problems with that?

You know, it's funny. I thought growing my own would be easy. I could have bought a good 1/2 lb for what I've spent trying to just get started. A month into my little adventure and all I have are 2 plants. One of those has already exhibited yellowing and ugly cancerous looking brown spots. The other had a problem while sprouting and lost one of it's seed leaves. It recovered but, it got slowed down nonetheless.







Growing mushrooms is so much easier. I can't replaced shrooms for smoke though. I'd end up in a padded room.

I'll keep trying. I'm germinating 6 more seeds now. 3 in coco fiber in peat pots and 3 in peat pellets hydrated with distilled water. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll stumble upon just the right method for me.
 

Tecumseh

New Member
If it just for germ. maybe buy a 4L jug of water?
I'll bet my left nut you drowned the seedlings, pretend its not pot, wet the soil,put the seed in, cover, and dont play with it. Don't water it everytime you walk by.
Killed by love.
I'm sure that's excellent advice. I'm not germinating in water or on a paper towel anymore. There is quite a bit of conflicting info(opinions) out there. I'm sure that I worry about some things too much. I have way too much time on my hands. I will get the hang of this eventually.
 

quietonthe401

On Vacation
Try some plain potting mix soil, the kind from the hardware store. I personally think its more forgiving than some mixes. Its all Ive ever used , right up to a 6" pot.
Don't overwater the soil once your seedlings are in. If the top doesn't look and feel dry, it is not dry at all.
Give them lots of light.
cheers.
 

HorseBadoritz

Well-Known Member
That's a lot of info Horse. Thanx. Perhaps I should just use bottled distilled H2O. It seems like in the long run, it would be cheaper and less hassle than trying to correct any problems in my water. Do we foresee any problems with that?

You know, it's funny. I thought growing my own would be easy. I could have bought a good 1/2 lb for what I've spent trying to just get started. A month into my little adventure and all I have are 2 plants. One of those has already exhibited yellowing and ugly cancerous looking brown spots. The other had a problem while sprouting and lost one of it's seed leaves. It recovered but, it got slowed down nonetheless.









Growing mushrooms is so much easier. I can't replaced shrooms for smoke though. I'd end up in a padded room.

I'll keep trying. I'm germinating 6 more seeds now. 3 in coco fiber in peat pots and 3 in peat pellets hydrated with distilled water. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll stumble upon just the right method for me.
Ha, it'll get better :) A 1/2lb of the stuff I've been able to grow would cost me $2400-3200... payback comes pretty soon ;)

I use dehumidifier water in the summer, which is essentially distilled. Add a little cal/mag (or even some well water?). Just don't store your pH pen in it!

:goodluck:
 

Tecumseh

New Member
Ha, it'll get better :) A 1/2lb of the stuff I've been able to grow would cost me $2400-3200... payback comes pretty soon ;)

I use dehumidifier water in the summer, which is essentially distilled. Add a little cal/mag (or even some well water?). Just don't store your pH pen in it!

:goodluck:
Yeah, I exagerated a little. Maybe a 1/4 lb, LOL.
 

PrairiePoet

Active Member
Test for ph, well water should be ok, the only other thing is that well water is typically "soft" So you'll need to add some nutes to get your plant to thrive
Well water around here is "hard". Most rural homes in this area run some kind of softener for drinking water.

Prairie
 

Maer

New Member
That's a lot of info Horse. Thanx. Perhaps I should just use bottled distilled H2O. It seems like in the long run, it would be cheaper and less hassle than trying to correct any problems in my water. Do we foresee any problems with that?

You know, it's funny. I thought growing my own would be easy. I could have bought a good 1/2 lb for what I've spent trying to just get started. A month into my little adventure and all I have are 2 plants. One of those has already exhibited yellowing and ugly cancerous looking brown spots. The other had a problem while sprouting and lost one of it's seed leaves. It recovered but, it got slowed down nonetheless.
Bottled water will get expensive eventually, I water my mature plants every 3 days with 8 gallons of water. Also distilled water would need micronutes, especially cal / mag.

The yellowing / brown spots sounds like nute burn some pics would help.

I used to grow some shrooms too, at least with plants you don't have to worry about green mold (as much).
 

Tecumseh

New Member
Bottled water will get expensive eventually, I water my mature plants every 3 days with 8 gallons of water. Also distilled water would need micronutes, especially cal / mag.

The yellowing / brown spots sounds like nute burn some pics would help.

I used to grow some shrooms too, at least with plants you don't have to worry about green mold (as much).


I had posted this pic earlier through photobucket. I removed after reading a post requesting all pix be put into the gallery here first. My apology for not having replaced the pic. This plant is looking better now. (maybe because I removed the ugly leaves ;-) )

Thanx for reminding me about the micronutes. It had slipped my mind. I'll just keep an eye on the pH and relax. I think my earlier problems with my plant may have been caused by my trying to fix problems that weren't real. And my germination problems are likely just ignorance and impatience. I'm just gonna relax and keep learning.
 
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