A good general test to see your water's purity is to test the water's electrical conductivity (EC). Your water's EC can be measured using a relatively inexpensive device that dips into the water and gives a digital reading. In order to grow plants with the best results, that EC reading should be low, ideally less than 0.25 mS/cm.
IF YOU ARE USING CITY WATER, YOU WILL ALMOST ALWAYS NEED A REVERSE OSMOSIS (RO) FILTER. This is because most cities have both chloramines and chlorine added to their water. Chlorine can be "bubbled out" of your water, meaning you can leave a bucket of water out for 24 hours and the chlorine will evaporate by itself. Chloramines, on the other hand, bind to the actual water molecules and cannot be bubbled out. They must be removed with a reverse osmosis filter.
Using well water may be free of chlorine or chloramines, but calcium and magnesium levels in well water may be excessive. Additionally high amounts of contaminants such as arsenic or boron may be present. Although these contaminants may be in trace amounts and safe for human consumption, they are NOT safe for your plants. If you have a water softener, excess sodium in your water can cause harm to your plants.
Water circulation is important to keep your water fresh and to mitigate bacteria growth. Putting an air stone in your pre-made nutrients keeps your water moving and your nutrients consistently mixing so that particles don't settle at the bottom of your reservoir.
Maintaining a proper pH is essential in nutrient management. The pH measures the acidity of the solution. For most plants, the best pH to stay at is between 5.3-6.3. Again, this range varies for different types of plants, so come talk to us for assistance. pH can be tested either with test strips, solution, or a digital meter. Oftentimes the meters are the more cost effective way to go because they will test several aspects of the water in one device. They are inexpensive and can be used multiple times unlike the strips and solutions.
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