I’ll let everyone in on a little secret of mine. This is available to everyone and the best part about it is that it’s free. It contains high levels of life sustaining minerals and can do magical things to your grow.
I know that several of you soil growers focus on using RO water or distilled water. Something that has not gone through the city treatment plant is usually ideal. Most of the chemicals, such as chlorine and fluoride, can take a toll on our precious ladies. Not to mention the fact that it has a pH typically somewhere in the seven range. So with those two items in mind you can already see the issues with using water from the tap. It’s almost as you have to revert it back to a natural state kind in the same fashion that RO does.
This is the main reason that I do not use tap water if i don’t have to. I take too much pride and time into each and every plant I start to have them destroyed by attempting to give them what they need to survive. So I had to come to a solution in where I didn’t have to go to the store all the time and purchase distilled or RO water. Or even worse sink more money into a RO system for the home. So I started doing what I know best and have done for years as a Veggie Gardner. I started harvesting rain water.
Now most of you may think that there isn’t much that this stuff can do over RO water or distilled water but I beg to differ. Before you decide to skip to the next thread hear me out a little. I started using rain water on my plants years ago now. There are a few things that I do to the water before feeding, and ill cover them, that help keep it balanced. First thing that I will tell you is that it falls at almost the ideal pH range for our ladies, coming in at anywhere from 5.0-6.0. Almost every ounce I have harvested has been right at 5.8-6.0, and I just add a buffer to the water to maintain the same pH level until that gallon is gone. Now this may vary from area to area based upon climate conditions and pollution, which results in acid rain, in the area.
When I was using RO water I would have to constantly monitor the pH, whether in soil or hydro, and most of the time I had to take it down like most of us do. This was a pain in the ass to me. There are already enough things that I have to monitor and look at that I didn’t really need another and I had to find a solution to this to make it work like clockwork. I wanted to be able to test the water at any time and get the same results as I did the last time I checked levels and it be consistent. I tried a few things to develop a more balanced consistency in the water and with the RO this did not happen. Leading me to find something cheaper as well as more stable. This is when I began to place buckets outside and catch a little rain water and begin my testing.
First round went well, after collecting a little over a gallon of water I began my first set of tests. The water at that time came in at 5.9, so I decided not to buffer it and see how many days it took to balance out to 7. It took 5 days to come all the way back to 7. In my experience with RO water it was back to 7 in 2-3 days. So this cut some of the time I was spending checking levels in my water back. Then I decided to buffer the water to 6.0 with a solid pH up additive. After making this change to the water I was able to hold the water at 6 for over a week. This was great for me. I now could check the water once a week and know that I know it’s the correct pH. Mind you I am very obsessed with the pH of my water as I have learned it can destroy everything you have worked so hard for.
So with this new found access to free life essentials for my ladies I began pushing it further. I wanted to get as much out of what I had as well as keep it fresh and clean for my ladies. After a few more tests and placing a few theories into place I found a way to keep the water pH perfect and loaded with Oxygen for the entire time the water was being used. I typically prepare two gallons at a time as I keep a small grow most of the time.
At the time I had the advantage of having an additional fridge in my garage that was only being used for the freezer, so I had tons of room to store the water chilled. This was part of the process of keeping the water at good pH levels. Not only did this assist in keeping the pH levels right but it also prevented any bacteria that may be in the raw water from growing, so no disease. Once I began this I realized that over time of storage that the water would lose any oxygen that it had in it. I needed to find a way to keep it in there as I used the water for feeding. Now I usually feed every three days, unless the soil becomes dry before then, but within those three days I know the levels of O2 were depleting and by the time I reached the end of the res the O2 levels had to be minimal if any. So I figured that I would give something a try that I knew kept another form of life alive for quite some time in water. This was the little tabs from Wal-Mart you can get for your portable Minnow bucket Yes they sell little tablets that you can place in the water to keep O2 levels at peak for any reason, whether it be minnows, or in my case high levels of O2 for a special root system.
Now things have changed a bit, I now have everything on pumps and in a cool area. I no longer use a fridge because I no longer have access to one. The nice thing is I do operate in a basement so its naturally cool down there anyway. Another thing that I learned with the cooler water temps was the fact that you can get more O2 in the water that way. So that when its ready to be fed to the plants its saturated and once it hits the warm soil it releases that extra O2 into the soil and the root system. Seems that it has always done wonders for uptake of water and nutrients as the next morning after a water they always had the most aggressive leaf lift. Oxygen has always been a massive assistant to my grows and I swear by keeping the water saturated with it. It just seems to perk the plants up and they are all around healthier than plants that I have not ran this method on.