It’s summer and as it starts heating up, entire families will spend their days in their gardens, relaxing and enjoying the shade or cultivating their tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc. Later, will be the time to eat their produce, enjoying a barbeque with friends y family. Taking care of the garden is a fun hobby in most countries, uniting various generations, dedicated to growing vegetables, while choosing the right fertilizers and protecting their plants from pests. However, there is a factor that usually gets overlooked and never seems to get the attention that it really deserves.
We’re talking about water quality, a fundamental element to determine not only the success of your harvest, but also the health and taste of the produce that we cultivate.
After all, vegetables our made up mostly of water and they accumulate in their interior the quality that they receive. If the water used is contaminated or contains elements that are undesirable for the human body, our fruits and vegetables will be affected, both in quality and taste. It should be vital to irrigate with a good, clean quality water, free of contaminants.
In many cases, water from a well or a canal is used for irrigating a garden. While quality always differs from zone to zone, it’s never advisable to use well water, without a previous water analysis, due to possible presence of bacteria as well as pesticides and herbicides that can come from neighboring farms. With water from a canal, if it’s close to a road or highway, we can find the presence of motor oils, gasoline and other residues. If the water has not been disinfected, in can turn into a veritable nest of bacteria. Water from the tap will always be more secure, especially from bacteria but it isn’t the best solution either for watering your garden. This due to the presence of CHLORINE. Also, in many arid areas the tap water can be very hard, with large quantities of salts like calcium, sulfates and chlorides.
Let’s look at how these various factors can affect our plants:
Chlorine is present in all municipal water systems, working as a disinfectant to assure that water is potable for use by local residents. It also works to impede the formation of algae and fungi in the distribution pipes and water storage tanks. In summer, due to high temperatures favoring the growth of bacteria, the municipalities will increase the amount of chlorine added to the water. These greater quantities of chlorine are noted in the smell and taste of your tap water and many people opt not to drink it, using instead bottled water or home filter systems. Of course, if the water isn’t great for drinking, your plants don’t want to drink it either. Another problem is that while chlorine works to kill off bacteria in your drinking water, it also will kill off beneficial bacteria that are in your soils and that interact with the root systems to promote better absorption of nutrients. The use of organic fertilizers is to increase the potential of these beneficial microorganisms, however, again the chlorine does not discriminate in which bacteria and microorganisms it kills off. So, we see that chlorine neutralizes the positive effects of organic fertilizers, while also burning the plants vitally important uptake roots, limiting the availability of nutrients.
Depending on the region, your local water can be very hard, with high levels of mineral salts such as calcium, magnesium, chlorides and sulfates. These salts increase the electro-conductivity (EC) in the water, which affects your roots absorption capacity. The EC levels that your plants can tolerate has its limits. The higher the quantity of mineral salts dissolved in the water, the less the capacity the roots will have of incorporating the essential nutrients.
Better water, better quality
In summary, the goal is to achieve an abundant and healthy harvest, one that is also beneficial for the human body y gives satisfaction to the grower for a job well done. In this sense, controlling the quality of water we use in our gardens gives us better control of our growing process, eliminating unknown variables when troubleshooting problems, while also permitting a better control of the nutrients our plants receive.
The quality of water we use for our plants directly affects their production and their health. If we irrigate with an unknown quality of water, our results will also be unknown. This can affect the taste, smell, look and nutritional value of our what we produce. On the other hand, using good, clean, quality water will permit your plants to correctly absorb the nutrients that you add and will result in more abundant, delicious, healthy and quality fruits and vegetables. If we choose to drink cleaner, healthier water for our own consumption, why not the same for our plants and gardens? There solutions available to achieve better water quality for our plants and gardens, so next time you water, ask yourself: Am I giving my plants the best quality water? And would I drink this same water that I’m giving to my plants?
Horticulture is an inherent human activity that allows us to evolve and survive as a species. From thousands of years of experience, starting life from all types of soils, we have to add the enormous advances and developments that have been introduced in the last 20 years, all which have allowed us to optimize the quality of what we grow. One fundamental part of what we’ve learned is our comprehension of the importance of the quality of water and how components such as EC (electroconductivity) and chlorine can affect our crops.
No grower, from the most tradtional to the most technical, forgets the importance that water has on their plants. We need to keep in mind that water not only has the most weight in our plants, but it’s also the main medium through which we can introduce, inadvertently, foreign substances that can weaken our plants and lower the quality and quantity of our yields. Even basics like taste and nutritional value of fruits can be changed.
What are you giving your plants to drink?
When you water your plants with regular tap water, there’s also a series of chemicals, depending on your region, that can be introduced in varying concentrations. In areas of hard water, there can be an abundance of calcium, magnesium, lime scale, potassium and sulfates. These salts will increase the electro-conductivity (EC). In areas with soft water, though there won’t be excessive salts, you will almost always find the presence of chlorine.
Why should we lower the EC and eliminate chlorine from our water?
The following are 5 reasons why it is important to lower the EC and eliminate chlorine from the water we use for our plants and gardens.
- Higher quantity of nutrients y higher nutritional efficiency:
The electro-conductivity (EC) measurement gives us a good estimate of the quantity of dissolved salts in the water. Each plant can only take in a limited concentration of salts, in EC value of between 1,4 and 2,2 ms/cm, depending on the type and phase of development. This is due to their roots capacity for absorption. If we start by giving our plants a water with 1,0 ms/cm, then the quantity of nutrients we can thereby safely give them is only 0,4 to 1,2 ms/cm, as the maximum. On the other hand, if we start with a water with very low EC, then we can give our plants a greatly superior quantity of nutrients. Also, if we give our plants a pure water to start, then they will not inadvertently absorb undesireable elements (chemicals), which of course will allow us to achieve 100% efficiency in the nutrients and ferilizers we administer.
2. By lower the EC we maintain a much healthier root system
Hard waters contain a high concentration of mineral salts that can produce lime scale and incrust and block plants roots, reducing their capacity of absorption and affecting the nutrition of the plants. In fact, these mineral salts, such as lime scale, sodium and magnesium among others, together with the nutrients that we add to our plants, can cause a saturation of the roots and an effect known as “nutrient lock out”.
This effect is the incapacity of the plant to continue to absorb any more nutrients, which of course can kill the plants, if not remedied. By reducing the EC of the water we can improve the health of our plants roots, by avoiding obstructruction of the root system and avoiding “nutrient lockout”. The root system will be able to absorb the necessary nutrients with maximum effeciency.
3. Protection of microorganisms in soils and extracts
Most organic soils contain beneficial microorganisms that collaborate in a plants health, maintaining clean roots systems so that they can use their complete capacity of absorption for nutrition or in the case of mycorrhiza, even increase the capacity. These microorganisms also protect plants against invasions of molds and pathogens. When we use regular tap water for our plants, we are killing off these beneficial mircroorganisms. The reason; Chlorine.
Chlorine is a chemical disinfectant used by municipalities to guarantee potable water, by killing off any bacterias that may be present, while also impeding the proliferation of algae or mushrooms inside of the distribution pipes and storage tanks. But chlorine isn’t selective, and as a disinfectant it eliminates all microorganisms, even the beneficial ones. So, this is another reason why we should never use water straight from the tap, especially if we cultivate with beneficial microorganisms or biofertilizers.
4. Greater general growing control, less problems. By lowering the EC in our water we achieve a greater total control in our cultivation methods. For example, with a lower concentration of salts we’ll have a more balanced pH, optimal for our plants. Also, with a purer water, we will be able to detect the origen of any problems that arise with more precisión, since we will already have eliminated a series of unknown variables that come with water straight from the tap. We’ll know exactly what type and what quantity of nutrients our plants are receiving
5. Higher quality production and yield for our gardens.
By reducing the EC and eliminating chlorine we’ll have a higher quality and larger yield in our plants. When you think about, watering your plants with water that has unknown composition, you are incorportating an unknown quantity of substances, that will end up in your plants, fruits and vegetables. In general, you are affecting the quality of your product; it’s taste, aroma and nutritional value, while also reducing the quantity of your yield. Your plants should be able to take 100% advantage of the nutrients that you supply, without having to worry about the additional components of a high EC water. Your plants should be able to benefit from the good microorganisms that you add to them, without adding chlorinated water that will kill them off.
In summary, good water quality is the foundation on which a great harvest is built. Quality water is fundamental and has direct effects upon the health and quality of your plants and the yield in your gardens. When you water your plants, you need to ask yourself; What am I really giving them? Is it a water that I would like to drink myself? If not, what can I do about it?
At GrowMax Water we are experts in Water Filtration Systems for Hydroponics and Gardening. To help improve your water quality or your installations, we offer you a range of “Kits”.
GrowMax Water filtration systems eliminate up to 99% of chlorine from water, while the RO systems, in addition to eliminating chlorine, also help you to lower the EC (up to 95%) and stabilize the pH. In addition you can also complement your RO systems to get ultra pure, 000ppm water by adding our De-Ionization Filter Kit. We also offer a Float Valve Kit, to avoid water overflow of your holding tank water, a UV Lamp to kill viruses and bacteria from well water, and RO Pump Kits to get more inlet water pressure, to boost production and quality.
All accessories have been designed to complement the GrowMax Water units to get you the best quality water and satisfy your growing needs.
I need more inlet water pressure for my RO unit: RO Pump Kit
The inlet water pressure is the most important factor for good operation of a reverse osmosis system. So, once you have your RO system installed, you need to check the pressure gauge to see the inlet water pressure.
According to all reverse osmosis membrane manufacturers the mínimum inlet pressure needed for a working production is 3kg/cm2 or 45psi.
All membrane manufacturers base their production calculations on 60 psi (4,3 kg/cm2) and advise that the mínimum pressure neccesary for a good operation is 45 psi (3kg/cm2) for an RO unit. That’s why with a good strong inlet pressure, RO units will produce a good quantity and good quality water, while also sending less water to drain. With a low inlet water pressure, the RO unit will not produce a good quantity and quality of water, also the drain will increase.
To avoid these problems, if after installing your RO unit the pressure gauge is under the minimum requirement (40 psi – 3 kg/cm2), you should install the RO Pump Kit for Power Grow 500 and Maxquarium 000 PPM, or the High Flow RO Pump Kit for the Mega Grow 1000 unit. These kits will increase the inlet water pressure for the membrane work in good conditions, and both include all necessary for their easy installation.
I want Ultra Pure water with any RO water system: De-Ionization Filter Kit
Using a RO system, you lower the EC from the water up to 95%, which means eliminating almost all the salts and heavy metals dissolved in the water. But if you would like an ultra pure water, of 000 ppm and 0,00 EC, then you must use a De-Ionization filter, installed after the RO.
Our Maxquarium 000 PPM reverse osmosis unit, already includes a de-ionization filter, however we also offer the possibility of installing a de-ionization filter kit after any reverse osmosis system, to achieve ultra pure water. The De-ionization Filter Kit is available in 10” and 20”, according to the flow of water you need.
The De-ionization filter contain both anion and cation resins that will eliminate 100% of the remaining salts, having already passed through the reverse osmosis membrane. This filter is replaceable and it’s recommended to change it when your EC meter shows higher levels than 0,00.
I want to avoid water overflow when I fill my holding tank: Float Valve Kit
Maybe on more than one occasion you have forgotten about the water as you were filling your tanks…. and the water overflows. This is a typical situation that has happened to more than one of us.
But you can avoid this using the GrowMax Water Float Valve Kit. This will stop the production of the Filter or RO unit, when the water reaches the Float Valve height in the tank. Thus, water overflow as well as water waste is also prevented.
I want to kill viruses and bacteria from well water: UV lamp Kit
GrowMax Water RO systems eliminate Chlorine, sediment and dissolved salts from water, providing pure and clean water. But if you are using water from an underground well, it’s very probable that this water also contains viruses and bacteria, and a good way to eliminate them is with the UV Lamp Kit.
UV lamps kill up to 99,99% viruses and bacteria from water, which especially live in well water or tanks with rain water accumulation. These bacteria can do damage to your plants, as well as doing damage to the RO membrane, causing it to fail. If you are a possible contaminated water, you should install the UV Lamp Kit before the RO system.
I need more tubing for my installation: Tubing Kit
All GrowMax Water systems include a complete installation kit with a 3 meters of feed water tubing, 3 meters of product water tubing and 3 meters drain tubing.
However, some installations may require more meters of tubing, as the tap water connection or the pure water tank is far from the installed unit, or simply because the drain is an extra few meters away. For these cases we offer separate Tubing Kits – containing 10m in each.
Now you know the GrowMax Water accessories. Ask for them in your local Hydro Store and Grow Shop or contact us at email@example.com
Irrigation is one of the most important elements in urban garden care. The quality of vegetables and fruits, even their flavors, depend on what quality water you will use. Water is the basis for growing and gardening. But irrigating in a wrong way or with inappropriate water, can damage plants. To prevent this, you can follow some of the useful tips for watering your urban garden that we explain you in this article.
1. Control the soil before plant
Before start planting your urban garden, you must keep in mind the kind of soil where we will sow the seeds, because depending on its features, water frequency and amounts can differ.
If you have sandy soil, must irrigate more frequently because this kind of soil doesn’t hold moisture well. On the other hand, if we have clay soil you must take care not to water in excess because we can rot the plants roots due to the high humidity.
2. Control the Plants watering needs
It’s important to know the plants needs when we irrigate them, because not all plants in the urban garden need the same water care. Some will need more water, some less water, so it will be helpful to spread them in the plot according on their water needs:
-Leafy vegetables, like spinach, lettuce, cauliflower, Swiss chard…, they need a lot of water, so it’s important to irrigate them more frequently.
-Fruiting vegetables, like tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, capsicums…, they need moderate irrigation during the flowering stage. If they receive a lot of water while they are flowering, it could be harmful for their growth. Once they have borned fruit, you can go back to a regular irrigation.
-Onions, garlic and other similar vegetables need moderate watering.
-During summer and dry seasons, it is recommended to irrigate urban garden more frequently to prevent problems because of the lack of water, like dry leaves or damaged plants. It’s important to irrigate early in the morning or in the evening to protect plants from sun effects.
3. To use the appropriate irrigation system for our urban garden
There are different kind of irrigation systems for urban gardens. Depending on the plot area, the distribution of what we plant, and our irrigation needs, we have to decide which better fits into our plans to get our urban garden in the perfect conditions.
Watering with a Garden Hose:
If we have our garden on a terrace or small yard, this system is ideal and least costly. We should water like a soft rain, so that the water pressure doesn’t remove the nutrients from the soil and also keeping in mind that in many cases it is counterproductive to water the plants leaves.
If we have a bigger urban garden and we don’t have appropriate hose and not enough time to irrigate by hand, there are other automated systems that will distribute the water around all the plot easily:
this system use sprinklers that distribute the water around the garden like rain. If you want to use this system, you need a good water pressure so that water arrives everywhere on the plot. This irrigation system allows you to program the irrigation, and guarantee that the water will arrive to all the plants in the same measure.
this automated system uses water more optimally and avoids loss of nutrients in the soil. That’s why is the most recommended for urban gardens. Water is infiltrated to the roots plants by a pipe system and drips around the garden.
4. Use quality water for irrigation
We can follow the irrigation advice previously written to achieve the best results, but if we do it with chlorinated water we won’t get them. Vegetables and fruits won’t be of such quality as we want, because chlorine will interfere on the results.
All municipal water supplies contain chlorine, a chemical disinfectant used to kill off deadly bacteria and virus in the water supply, especially in summer. We know our tap water contains chlorine because of the smell and the taste. If we are growing our own food because we are looking for healthier and organic quality fruits and vegetables, with genuine flavor, it makes no sense to irrigate them with chlorinated water. We need the best water quality posible to achieve organic results and authentic taste.
Besides of this, watering our urban garden with chlorinated water will not only damage the vegetables final quality, but also cause growing problems in plants, like burned roots, yellow leaves, problems with compost… To get quality water, free of chemicals and pesticides, you can use water filtration systems, which eliminate chlorine up to 99%, and also reduce the herbicides, pesticides and other contaminants.
If the water also has a high concentration of mineral salts (hard water) this can be a problem too, because high mineral water can harm your plants and vegetable final quality. In this case, you can install a garden reverse osmosis system, which will eliminate up to 95% of salts and heavy metals dissolved in the water.
These filtration and reverse osmosis systems come with easy indoor and outdoor connections to the tap and the garden hose and even to the water tanks, and are easy to adapt to other irrigation systems. They are also available with different flow capacity, for small, medium or even industrial size gardens.
At GrowMax Water we are specialists in water systems for hydroponics and gardening. Visit our website and inform yourself about how these systems could help you to maintain a healthier urban garden. They are great for organic growers who want organic vegetables and fruits, with the best final quality.
We know that using reverse osmosis systems we lower the EC from water and get healthier plants and bigger productions, among other benefits. But did you know that reverse osmosis besides to protect your plants also helps your humidifier to works better and for a longer time?
Reverse osmosis and the humidifier
Humidifier helps to regulate humidity in the indoor growing. It works adding water to the tank, which then escapes as steam, humidifying the air and preventing withered plants and diseased plants due to the dry environment.
GrowMax Water reverse osmosis systems lower EC and eliminate up to 95% of salts and heavy metals from water, and also eliminate up to 99% of chlorine. The result is a quality water, pure and free of salts and chemicals, perfect for using with your humidifier and your plants for some reasons.
Reasons to use reverse osmosis with the humidifier
1. Prevent precipitated limescale inside the humidifier’s tank
As hard water cause precipitated limescale in our water installation as well as in bathrooms, or washingmachine, the same situation will occurs in the humidifier’s tank using hard water. Limescale will be accumulated inside the tank, interfering in the way the humidifier works, producing less steam and increasing it maintenance.
If we use reverse osmosis water to fulfill the tank, we ensure a better maintenance of the humidifier and a better steam up capacity, increasing the humidifier’s usable life, because the precipitated limescale inside it will disappear.
2.Get quality water steam
Using water free of salts, (with a lower EC) to fulfill the humidifier’s tank, we avoid limescale precipitations, but also we ensure that we get a quality water steam, so the result will be a quality environmental humidity too.
3.Protect our plants
Providing a quality water steam, we avoid possible problems in the plants leaves, since they will be save from limescale effects and other dissolved salts into the water. Also we protect plants roots, which won’t be blocked by precipitated limescale.
Keeping in mind these three reasons, our range of reverse osmosis systems will be the best ally for your humidifier, because they will help you to take care of your plants with the best water quality possible.
Other uses of reverse osmosis
In addition to use reverse osmosis water with the humidifier, it’s also recommended to use it if there is a water softener installed. These devices don’t eliminate calcium and magnesium, but covert them in sodium, sometimes in toxic levels. If sodium exceeds the 50 ppm, plants can’t get their genetical potential.