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Water Barrels
#1
Since we are trying to garden organically it's important to have chlorine and cloramine-free water so you don't kill you herd of soil microbes.  We run two 55 gallon plastic barrels and use a plastic box fully of pea gravel as a filter.the barrels are connect by 3/4 inch hose at the bottom and the water is continually transferred from one barrel, thorough the filter into the other barrel.  Water comes in from the gutter to another gravel filter.

I think we got about 40 gallons of water last nigh.  Rain water here is about 7.8 PH.  City water fluctuates between 8.8 and 9.  This city buffers the water up to protect the pipes but the 7.9 PH rainwater is strange.  Rain is just water distilled from the oceans, so it should be neutral, or 7 ph.  My theory is that our rain mixes with limesstone dust and that's why the PH isn't 7.

Anyone else have a rain barrel?
 
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#2
Interesting. We have one rain barrel & use it to water the potted plants. It's a cheapo Home Depot version with a crappy hose fitting, so we just pop the lid & dip the watering can. I never thought about testing the ph.  Will do so & let you know. 
 

 
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#3
In Colorado you can purchase cannabis, but you have to apply for a permit to have a rainwater barrel. Someone else may have the right to the rainwater that falls on your roof.
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#4
To make rain, water vapor needs dust to condensate against, so every drop of water has a piece of dirt at its core.  You could also gain some alkalinity from your rooftop (assuming you don't have wood shingles).

As for city water being so high, the pH is raised by lime to soften the water to remove magnesium and calcium hardness.  Although corrosion is a worry on pipes, magnesium scaling (which is impossible to clean unlike calcium scaling), and gunk produced from microbes are also a danger.  Ferric chloride and polymer are added to precipitate out dirt in general.  Chlorine (just concentrated bleach) actually serves two purposes... precipitate out iron is the primary purpose and killing microbes is the secondary.  What little residual chlorine makes it to your tap is not enough to kill the microbes in the ground. 
 
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#5
ah...the hygroscopic nuclei.  Put up enough sulfide in the atmosphere and we can have acid rain.  That probably is not good for the garden either.
 
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#6
(07-13-2014, 08:45 AM)'autie' Wrote: ah...the hygroscopic nuclei.  Put up enough sulfide in the atmosphere and we can have acid rain.  That probably is not good for the garden either.
 

 

Autie, NOx's actually caused more acid rain than the SOx's did.  Power Plants now have giant SCR's (basically a ginormous catalytic converter) to remove the NOx's and scrubbers which rain limestone slurry through the flue gas to get rid of the SOx's (this removes 98-99% of what they used to put out), and turns the limestone into gypsum.

 
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#7
(07-13-2014, 08:23 AM)'labmonkey' Wrote: To make rain, water vapor needs dust to condensate against, so every drop of water has a piece of dirt at its core.  You could also gain some alkalinity from your rooftop (assuming you don't have wood shingles).

As for city water being so high, the pH is raised by lime to soften the water to remove magnesium and calcium hardness.  Although corrosion is a worry on pipes, magnesium scaling (which is impossible to clean unlike calcium scaling), and gunk produced from microbes are also a danger.  Ferric chloride and polymer are added to precipitate out dirt in general.  Chlorine (just concentrated bleach) actually serves two purposes... precipitate out iron is the primary purpose and killing microbes is the secondary.  What little residual chlorine makes it to your tap is not enough to kill the microbes in the ground. 
 

 
We are a regular brain-trust here.    Take that LJW!

While chlorine and chloramine may not kill all the microbes in the soil, the idea behind organic gardening is to encourage microbial growth so those microbes can eat fertilizer and the excrete food for the plant in a way it can absorb.  Any detriment to the microbes in the soil makes organic farming less efficient.  

LM, you must have some public works experience greater than mine, which was digging ditches.

My mom worked in public works in her later years.
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#8
(07-13-2014, 09:52 AM)Liberty Wrote: We are a regular brain-trust here.    Take that LJW!

While chlorine and chloramine may not kill all the microbes in the soil, the idea behind organic gardening is to encourage microbial growth so those microbes can eat fertilizer and the excrete food for the plant in a way it can absorb.  Any detriment to the microbes in the soil makes organic farming less efficient.  

LM, you must have some public works experience greater than mine, which was digging ditches.

My mom worked in public works in her later years.



I make water at a power plant (among other things). We do what the city does except on a much larger scale and we have to take it a few steps further (reverse osmosis and through a demineralizer) because silica plating in the boiler and turbine is a very bad thing.
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