The addition of chloramine may be making your municipal water toxic. The last thing you want in your vegetable garden is water that’s designed to kill bacteria!
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Raise your hand if you turn on the hose to water your garden when it’s thirsty. I suspect that most of us do at least some of the time. That may not be the best way to hydrate your plants, though. Especially if your municipal water is treated with chloramine. That toxic water could be doing your plants damage.
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For years, municipalities have been adding chlorine to water supplies to make it safe for drinking. At a recent community event I learned that our municipal water provider has switched over to something called chloramine, and other municipalities are embracing chloramine as well.
Both of these treatments kill bacteria and microorganisms in our household water, making it safe for use.
The difference is this: The chlorine in water will dissipate if you leave a container of water uncovered for a few hours. Chloramine is not removed from water by boiling, distilling, or by standing uncovered.
Avoid watering the garden with toxic water
Here’s the rub: Good healthy soil is home to lots of living bacteria and microorganisms.
It stands to reason that water that’s been treated to kill off bacteria in our drinking water might also kill off the good bacteria in our soil, making it harder and harder to maintain healthy soil.
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How to remedy municipal water
Contact your water department to determine what chemical they’re using to treat your water.
If it’s chlorine, consider adding a water barrel or two to your garden area that you can fill with municipal water. Let it sit so the chlorine can dissipate before you use it to water the garden.
If it’s chloramine give some thought to creating a filtration system to remove this toxic water additive. This site has some good information on creating a water filter from a recycled fuel drum. (Your choice of receptacle might vary.)
If at all possible, consider rainwater collection. If you live in an area that gets rain throughout the growing season, you can probably get by with a couple of small barrels to supplement during dry spells. Residents of arid locations will have a tougher time of it and need a bigger system.
I’m doing everything I can to bring my soil back to a living, teeming collection of microorganisms. I use collected rainwater when I can. So I was disappointed to find out that my municipality is sending us toxic water that could be damaging our soil.
What do you use for watering your garden? Have you had success addressing this issue?