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H20 - Part 1: Your Hydroponics Plants Need Clean Water Featured

Your hydroponics plants need pure water! Your hydroponics plants need pure water!

Many hydroponics growers ask me about water, and it’s easy to see why. Without water, your hydroponics plants die. Without water, you can’t deliver nutrients into your plants. No wonder hydroponics growers are concerned about water quality.

But the harsh fact is that water is polluted or otherwise unfit for your hydroponics plants in most locales. Heavy metals, harmful organisms, runoff from pesticides and herbicides, runoff from streets, industrial pollution, coal-burning mercury pollution, and anti-bacterial chemicals placed in water by water suppliers are all bad for your hydroponics plants.

Your hydroponics plants easily absorb heavy metals like mercury and lead. Fluoride is another problem. E. Coli outbreaks have been traced to water sources. If you foliar spray your plants with contaminated water and then consume them, you can harm your health.

In many situations you won’t know it but gunk from water has stored in your hydroponics plants, making them taste and smell bad, and lowering their market value.

You also find that polluted water sometimes has so much stuff dissolved in it that it interferes with your hydroponics feed program. If you measure your sourcewater and find it has more than about 100 ppm, you can almost be sure that trace elements such as calcium, iron or arsenic are in your water in amounts that are interfering with how you hydroponics nutrients are mixing into the water and how easily available those nutes are to your plants for easy absorption.

When your sourcewater has high originating ppm, it affects how your hydroponics nutrients feed your plants, and the effects usually aren’t good. What you get is slow growth, nutrient toxicities or shortages, and smaller than average yields.

Polluted sourcewater also affects your hydroponics irrigation systems. It can clog pumps, drip emitters and aeroponics misters. It can also leave harmful residues in your hydroponics root zone.

It is troubling that government water suppliers are adding harmful amounts of chlorine and chloramines to water supplies. They say they do this because harmful organisms increasingly taint water supplies, and they have to kill those organisms to prevent us from getting sick. Unfortunately, their “cure” can mean death for the beneficial microbes you should install in your hydroponics root zone.

Beneficial microbes include helpful bacteria and fungi that fight root zone diseases, increase the size and functional strength of hydroponics roots, and increase growth rate and yield size. It’s easy to install them. You just pour them into your root zone and add a carbohydrate product to feed them.

It’s also easy to kill them. If you use hydrogen peroxide in your hydroponics root zone, or if your sourcewater is loaded with municipal antibacterials such as chlorine and chloramine, your beneficial microbes suffer or even die.

If you fill your hydroponics reservoir and leave it sitting open overnight, most chlorine evaporates. But if your water has chloramines in it (chloramine is molecularly-altered chlorine), you can’t evaporate the chloramines away, and they will wreak havoc with your beneficial microbes.

Look for part two of this article for additional important information on hydroponics and water, but for now, I highly suggest that you get a home water distiller so you can purify your own drinking water. I don’t recommend using a water distiller to produce water for your hydroponics plants, and you will see why in the next article. But water does matter, and it would be good for you right now to contact your water provider and ask them to send you an analysis of what’s in your water.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 07 August 2012 13:12

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