Horticulture 101 water.
Water quality is of prime importance.
If you live in the city and are a licensed business the water district is required to supply you with a monthly report on water quality with your water bill. This was part of the clean water act. You needed to request the report. Most locations the water quality changes from month to month and seasonally.
If you use a well, you need to test your water. About 1/5 the wells in the USA have high florid levels, this is more common a problem in the northern parts of the country.
Things to pay close attention to in the water report.
- pH of the water
- Hardness of the water.
- The type of hardness in the water. Calcium vs Magnesium.
Sodium levels expressed in ppm.
Why does this mater?
Safer’s soap and neem oil requires a pH of 7 or less. At pH above 7 both have problems. Safer’s soap congeals at high pH levels. Neeme oil does not disperse properly at high pH levels.
Your fertilizer was designed with a water pH of 7 and a buffering level of soft.
If you where to add a fourth number to fertilizer it would be calcium. N-K-P-Ca. In soilless production calcium may be the number one limiting factor, for high total dry weight. I just watched a vendors video on the site and I am willing to bet a beer that the calcium levels are higher than most growers can easily achieve.
Sources of nitrogen found in soluble fertilizers behave differently based on pH and temperatures of both the growing media and the water. Flash hot water heaters have come down low enough in cost to make them a useful tool in your water management practices.
If your water is alkaline you can use the hardness to determine the buffering capacity of the water is important. Your whole nutritional regime may not be what you think.
What can you do to change your hard water. If your water is very hard you may need to use phosphoric acid to reduce the buffering capacity of the water and the resulting high pH to as close to a pH of 7. A problem occurs here you have to account for additional phosphorus in your total nutrition. At Kansas City cut flower farms our water was so hard, we use to joke that it was like rocks coming out of the pipe.
If your pH is low you have an easier time. You can just pick a soluble fertilizer better matching your water.
If you want, I can help you figure out the titration of acid required and the adjustment to your nutritional requirements to maintain the same nutritional levels. Or we can work on a simple spreadsheet to do all fertilizer calculation. I know calculating ppm can be confusing. I know that calculateing the ppm of nitrogen sources can be frustrating.
You will also notice that the major supply houses sell injection heads designed for the use of food grade phosphoric acid. I used a dosmatic ceramic disk head on our first injector a mix tank followed by a dodmatic second injector, back in the day.
If your water is very poor you can look at large scale reverse osmosis. They have come down in price, to be cost manageable solution.
From the voices in my head