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Running out of Rain Water in the Music City

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Running out of Rain Water in the Music City

Post  Razed Bed on 5/5/2015, 9:53 am

I guess we should not complain that we have not had rain for two weeks.  After all, 5 years ago this week, Nashville suffered its worst flood in history with multiple deaths of humans and livestock.  One body was never found.

This is a picture of the main drag in our neighborhood, 8 feet deep in the road with the Coast Guard on the way to rescue a woman and her daughter who were stranded in a car that was taking on water.  2 people drowned on this block.

A question now arises.  We must rely on our yucky city water for now, since it may rain in California before it rains here.  Our water is so fortunate to not have chlorine added.  Unfortunately, we have chloramine, its evil cousin.

Chloramine does not break down by exposure to air, heat, oxygen, etc.  We have seen two options but do not have enough data to know whether they are effective for our purposes and safe.

1. Option 1 is ascorbic acid/vitamin c crystals.  This seems like the safe alternative if the ascorbic acid doesn't make the water's pH unhealthy for plants.  I can buy ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbate powder in large quantities at wholesale prices.

2. Fish aquarium conditioner which states that it removes chloramine.  The active ingredients are sodium thiosulfate and polyvinylpyrrolodone.  This appears to maybe be more effective, but those two chemicals may be just as bad as the chloramine itself.

Obviously, our biggest concern is the chloramine destroying all the good stuff in our compost and compost tea.  We have been using Vitamin C in our compost tea water, but that is small potatoes compared with how much water we would need to treat to water all of our crops on the same day.  It roughly takes about 50-60 gallons to cover everything, and when it gets really hot, we have to water two to three times a week for our in the ground crops and up to twice a day for our containers.

The peat and vermiculite seem to hold water well until the soil rises to food dehydrator temperature.  Remember when the temperature is 85 degrees, that is the temperature in the shade at 4 feet above the ground.  In the sun at ground level, it can be 130-140 degrees.  The temperature in the sun in the middle of our yard was 135 yesterday at 3PM.  It even made it to 140 on our Pitt's & Spitt's barbecue smoker thermometer.

What do you more experienced gardeners suggest?

Razed Bed

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Re: Running out of Rain Water in the Music City

Post  vortex on 5/5/2015, 12:50 pm

What about a filter between your faucet and hose?

Here's a link to some on Amazon. Seems they'll last 20k/25k gallons or so.

Chloramine Filters

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We bought one two years ago

Post  Razed Bed on 5/5/2015, 1:25 pm

We bought the Boogie Brew filter two years ago, when it was part of a special with compost tea ingredients and rock dust.  Presently, that one is out of stock and cannot be shipped until 5/15/15.

We saw the Clean Water Fun filter as well, but we also read on another site that these filters only reduce chloramine and do not remove it.  Even 11-15% chloramine is going to destroy a large amount of organisms.

BTW, there is another site that sells that Clean Water Fun filter for $32.95.

Also, the drawback in those filters is that you must keep them wet when not in use, and you cannot leave them on your hose.  You have to purchase a snap-on attachment to your hose if you don't want to screw and unscrew the attachment every time you use it, and with me being an accident waiting to happen, I partially tore the filter where it attaches to the hose.

Razed Bed

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Re: Running out of Rain Water in the Music City

Post  Tilth on 5/6/2015, 9:12 am

Razed Bed,
 Living here in Southern California, I feel your pain, as I too will soon be out of rain water. As you stated, there are aquarium water conditioning chemicals that will remove chloramine and while I am not a big chemical fan either, remember, these chemicals are used in aquariums with fish and plants that are very sensitive to their environment. If there was a problem with the chemicals used, I don't think that they would be used in or advocated for use with sensitive aquarium species. And yes, I do use these products.
 You also mentioned vitamin C, which I have looked into and used. 25mg per gallon will remove chloramine from the water. You stated that you were worried about it changing the ph, but one of the things done when water is "chloramined" is that it is buffered to a ph of 8.5, at least here in SOCAL, which is too high for some plants. So, I not only have to remove the chloramine, but I than have to lower the ph to something reasonable for my plants/compost. I use white vinegar, which is cheap, about 3/4 to 7/8ths of a teaspoon per gallon, brings the ph down to about 6.5, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary), depending on what your city does, what you do to remove the chloramine and what you want the final ph to be.
  If you get a ph test kit, I think you will find that the vitamin C, at 25mg per gallon, has very little affect on the ph of the treated water, but again, you need to check and test. Vitamin C powder, ascorbic acid, is fairly cheap and if you have an even cheaper source than retail, it sounds to me like the way to go. For the rest of us, you can get vitamin C powder at just about any retail outlet that sells vitamins or you can order online.
   Note: Vitamin C comes in at least 3 different forms that I know of, ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate and I think, calcium ascorbate. There may be more. I have only used ascorbic acid. The reason I mention this is that if you buy one type one time and another type the next, it might change your results. Again, YMMV.

Last edited by Tilth on 5/6/2015, 9:20 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Added note on vitamin C types.)

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Great Info

Post  Razed Bed on 5/6/2015, 9:33 am

It never occurred to me to go buy some pH papers and test our water.

I am going to get some today and test it before and after adding the Vitamin C.  I bet I will have to add vinegar to our containers as well.

As for finding Vitamin C powder cheaper than normal, there are options for everybody.  If you have a Trader Joe's, they sell it at a reasonable price.

Online, of course, you can frequently find it close to wholesale through Amazon, and nutrition sites like Luckvitamins.com, Vitacost.com, and Iherb.com.

You can also purchase neem oil which you can use as an excellent repellant for the pests that attack you in the garden.

Razed Bed

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Re: Running out of Rain Water in the Music City

Post  Tilth on 5/6/2015, 9:50 am

Your water district should have a web page and hopefully a page that explains their water "purification" process. More and more water districts are shifting to using chloramine instead of just chlorine as it is much more persistent. I would encourage all gardeners to go to theirs and read. While there, they should also have a page that lists the latest water analysis. You know, all those "trace" chemicals, like fluoride, that the government says won't hurt you. Shocked


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Re: Running out of Rain Water in the Music City

Post  sanderson on 5/6/2015, 1:31 pm

@Razed Bed wrote:It never occurred to me to go buy some pH papers and test our water.
Cheap swimming pool test kits test for pH and chlorine. It's been a few years since I inspected public swimming pools, but if my brain remembers correctly, there is a test for "free or available" chlorine.


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Re: Running out of Rain Water in the Music City

Post  littlesapphire on 5/6/2015, 1:55 pm

Just a quick note about ph; I've read in many books that the soil ph isn't affected by a high acid liquid for any longer than the liquid is in the soil.  I was looking up if I could acidify my blueberry beds with vinegar, but it only lowers the ph for a really short time.  Go figure! 

I don't have any advice about removing yucky chemicals from your water.  Our city uses chlorine, and although I don't like it, I'm also too lazy to do much about it.  Good luck Smile  I hope you figure out something that works well for you (oh, like adding vitamin C to one of those fertilizing hose attachment things?).

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