The Urban Farmer, Issue #034 * March,
2011: Healthy Water * Hydro Lettuce Farm *
try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a
START WITH HEALTHY WATER
If you're going to be using tap or well water, get it tested first to see where
you stand. You can do this inexpensively through the county ag agent or health
department, or through an independent lab. If using tap water, you can always
call the water company and ask them the calcium content of the water.
Basically, what you want to know is if you have very hard or very soft water.
Hard water has lots of mineral content and calcium carbonate in particular. If
you see calcium buildup (white residue) on your faucets, you probably have hard
water. Soft water has low mineral content, which is preferable. (But you
cannot use water that has gone through a water softener system for
hydroponics... it's way too salty).
Okay, so you found out you have hard water (Calcium content is above 70 ppm).
What can you do about it? GH Flora hydroponic solution (the best one) has a base solution
specifically for use with hard water. Instead of using FloraMicro, simply
buy Hardwater FloraMicro. Problem solved!
If you find out that you have really poor water, (greater than 300 ppm total
solids), consider installing a RO (reverse osmosis) water filter under your
kitchen sink. An RO filter costs $170-$250, but it provides the highest quality
drinking water possible. If you are stuck with mineral-laden water, you must use
an RO filter if you want a successful hydroponics experience (and a healthier
Another alternative: you could collect
rainwater in a barrel and use that. Nature's best!
LEARN FROM YOURSELF: Consider keeping a
journal that lists: the EC, pH, temperature, CO2 & light level each day. This
way you can learn from your own mistakes & successes. Records like this also
make it a lot easier for you to troubleshoot when you have a
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of The Urban Farmer Ezine. Each month, we will bring you another inspiring photo, gardening quote or idea, plus fresh new hydroponics news, techniques & products.