Plants need two simple things to survive, water and light. Of course, the quality of water can affect the health of your plant. The best type of water for your garden is one that is free of any impurities such as artificial chemicals and harsh minerals. Filling your watering can with simply tap water will not have positive effects on your plants, such as wilting and little growth. Instead, there are plentiful of benefits of using filtered water for gardening. Attaching a garden hose filter is a setup that can improve the quality of your water, ensuring the best health for your plants.
Dangers of Gardening with Unfiltered Water
Using unfiltered water in your garden carries significant risk. This not only impacts the long term viability of your garden, but those who consume the produce. Here are a few of the dangers:
Chemicals in the Water
When starting a garden, it is very convenient to use tap water as it is available from your home and is relatively cheap. The temperature can be adjusted for the plants, and for a short term, it provides the necessary nutrients for plants. However, tap water is full of artificial chemicals and minerals that can be quite harmful to your plants.
Chlorine is often used to kill microorganisms in water. that are harmful to people, but not necessarily for plants. Chlorine negatively effects the health of your plants. In one study, the Environmental Working Group found that more than 50 percent of the pollutants found in water go unregulated. For example, trihalomethanes were found in every tap water source they sampled, a class of volatile organic compounds. It is correlated with the use of chloride in the water. If you re growing a vegetable garden, this can have adverse effects o your health in the long term.
Hard water, containing a large amount of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, is common in many areas. Plants do not need the extra minerals from water as this will cause a buildup, causing them to not be able to use the nutrients they actually need. Plants only need a little bit of the minerals found in water to survive.
Build Up of Salt
Some gardens are watered with soft water if it receives a large amount of rainwater. Watering with soft water is not recommended as it is treated with sodium chloride, a salt. The salts will cause a build up in the plant cells as equilibrium is changed. This will eventually lead to the plants in your garden to have growth problems.
Filtered Water Gardening Benefits
The greatest benefit of using a garden hose filter is a consistent supple of clean water. Gardeners that are having issue with their garden’s lack of vibrancy due to chlorinated water or excess minerals will appreciate the benefits when they switch to filtered water.
Using a Reverse Osmosis Filter
Implementing an external force to remove water from the impurities is reverse osmosis. Reducing the many contaminants in the water is the function of a reverse osmosis filter. The amount of nutrients and minerals available to your plant can be adjusted to ft each plants needs through changing the pH balance of reverse osmosis water. A diverse garden will have plants with various acidic or alkaline tolerances. Here is what it primarily removes:
The plant can absorb all of these contaminants, and when consumed, can effect people’s health if left untreated. For example, high levels of mercury in the food from your garden can lead to damage to the brain and kidneys. Contaminated water leads to deformities in your crops. This can be detrimental if you do plan on selling food from your personal garden. Salt buildup, for example, can lead to the following conditions:
- Burning of leaf margins
- Slow or stunted growth
- Plant senescence
- Plant death
Additionally, a reverse osmosis filter system is able to remove water-borne bacteria that are the cause of root problems such as root rot and other fungal issues.
If you are using a hydroponic system for your garden instead of the traditional soil method, the reverse osmosis filter can help reduce the amount of contaminants that are absorbed in the organic matter found in soilless media.
As a gardener, reverse osmosis filters allow you to control the dosage of plant nutrients more accurately. Although, it must be noted reverse osmosis causes a potential corrosive nature of pipes and hoses. Some of the minerals in hard water act as a buffer against corrosion in the hose. Growers will need to ensure that their water system will be able to handle pure water beforehand.
Distilled Water for your Garden
Distillation is the process of separating components in water through evaporation and condensation. This is very useful in removing the various impurities in tap water. Water is a universal solvent, so some type of chemical or mineral can be found in it when used in its natural form. Distillation is able to remove the following substances:
- Organic chemicals
- Volatile gases
- Heavy Metals
- Bacteria, viruses, and protozoa
The result is clean water for your plants to consume.
Increase Garden Growth and Yield
A filter is able to remove contaminants that can cause buildup in the root system of plants. Clearing the root system will allow the food in your garden to be able to receive the necessary nutrients without delay, leading to a larger sizes and yield. The National Student Research Center published a study comparing tap versus distilled water. It found that the growth of the plant was more when a seed is watered with distilled water. For even more clarification, the seeds receiving salt water did not sprout at all.
Tap water is useful to plants, but distillation makes the water less harsh for the plants in your garden, so they can grow to their full potential. Plants need the minerals found in tap water to grow, but when they go unchecked, they will cause a blockage in the root system, limiting the amount of nutrients the plant is able to absorb, and this can lead to death of some of your garden crops.
A Stable pH for plants
Distilled water comes with a neutral pH balance of 7. Plants generally want to stay at 1 pH level or below this point.
Garden Water Filter Options
Garden Hose Filter
A basic filter of this type includes a standard housing that utilizes cartridges to filter the water. A grower will need two hoses. The first is used as an inlet and the second is used to deliver the water. This filter is useful in gardens because of its many benefits: filtrates out sediment if one has access to well water, removes viruses and bacteria, reduces the amount of chlorine, removes iron, raises the pH of acidic water, and overall provides a higher quality of water for the food in your garden for your consumption.
There are limitations to using a small filter, in such that the ability for it to perform will not be to the same capacity as a large filtration system, but it does get the job done for the casual gardener. Pair the filter with a BPA and phthalate free garden hose to ensure that majority of the contaminants are removed.
Read the Top 11 Best Garden Hose Water Filters article to choose one that is right for you.
These filters boil the water that is later evaporated from the dissolved minerals. The water vapor is the condensed through cooling and is collected in its pure form. The filters today are able to monitor the water temperature and turns off so overheating does not occur. This is a slow process, but in the end, it produces clean water that the gardener is able to put in in their watering can. Electricity is usually required for this filter to work.
Reverse Osmosis Filters (RO)
A RO system takes an elaborate setup, but once placed in, is able to filter your water. Some products are able to add some minerals back to alkalize and restructure the water to each plants nutritional requirement. The filters are able to remove volatile organic compounds, chloride and fluoride, arsenic, lead, and other environmental toxins dissolved in the water.
Whole House Water Filters
A whole house filtration system might be of interest to you if you not only want to provide quality water to your garden, but also for the people of the household to drink uncontaminated water as well. These large filters are attached to the main water line. A variety of these filters provide different features, so you can find one that fits your needs. A great option to consider is the Aquasana Whole House Water Filter. Listed below are other bestselling options.
Clean Garden Water is a Filter Away
A water filter is the best way to protect your crops from water-borne diseases. The higher quality of water will increase the size of your crops and reduce the amount of plants that die from blocked root systems. There are a variety of filter options to choose from that are able to remove the harmful contaminants in water that will eventually enter your system when tap water is watered over food that will be consumed.
Plants are like people and need to be supported with both quality water and light. Tap water is sufficient on its own, but if you are noticing that your plants are not performing to your standards, consider upgrading to a filter system. Your tap water could be too soft or hard for the plants, providing a harsh environment for your crops to grow in. A well-kept garden will benefit immensely once you switch to a quality filter.