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Water Softner

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Water Softner

Post  choksaw on 1/1/2011, 6:52 pm

Been awhile since ive been on here and posted anything up, but had an odd question befor i prep for the coming season.

Last season being my first with the SFG method was fun at first i found that the nylon netting does not last long here in FL didnt even make it through 1/2 the season no biggie new design is forthcoming, i was also very dissapointed to not have gotten hardly anything from my garden (2 radishs and 1 cucumber) my tomatoe plants grew to an outstanding 8ft tall but very lanky and never did they have any flowers, was wondering if the water that i was using might have had an effect on my success the garden hose goes through the softner (salt based) could the salt from the softner have had an effect on my growing? if so did all the salt from the watering harm my soil to the point id have to restart the mix from scratch? just trying to get a handle on things befor i start my indoor plantings for the coming season so im ready to go any help or advice is greatly appreciated.

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Re: Water Softner

Post  davidclubb on 1/1/2011, 7:03 pm

I am a third generation rice farmer in southeast Texas. In over 50 years of farming, my father's worst enemy was salt in the water, because salt competes with vegetation for moisture. Haven't you ever been thirsty after eating popcorn at the movies? In the case of growing vegetables, the plant will grow, but will not produce any fruit, because it did not have enough moisture to produce any fruit. So, salinity does affect the soil. Fortunately, with SFG you can correct the problem by replacing the soil mix, and use desalinated (Reverse Osmosis method) water. Hope this helps. Let us know how it works out.

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Re: Water Softner

Post  boffer on 1/1/2011, 7:18 pm

CHOKSAW!

what\'s up, dude

Long time no see! That's a bummer about your harvest. What does your Grandpa think?

I have read that softened water can be a problem for gardeners. Let me see what I can dig up. Don't be such a stranger, eh?! :nono:

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Re: Water Softner

Post  middlemamma on 1/1/2011, 9:05 pm

Choksaw I think there must be a better answer out there, I will see what I can dig up...obviously we don't all RO our water sources for our gardens and we all do just fine...Hang tight maybe some member will have some hard evidence we can help out with. So sorry to hear about your poor production....here's to hoping for a much better 2011 crop!

I am JUST GUESSING HERE...but I would venture to think that there is a way to balance the salt out in the MM...it would be terrible to lose it all....I will be back if I find any good infor to help. Smile

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Re: Water Softner

Post  middlemamma on 1/1/2011, 9:17 pm

http://www.fao.org/docrep/r4082e/r4082e08.htm

http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/problems/reversing-soil-salinity.htm

http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg447

http://www.gardenguides.com/103656-effects-water-softener-plants.html

Above are just a few sites that I found that tell you how to basically water away the salt in the soil...in searching I found many many sites that said water softeners are NOT good for the soil and growing a vagtabel garden at all.

When you over irrigate to wash away the salt you will also lose nutrients...it seems like a soil test would help you and if you do irrigate to leach out the salt you might consider ammending with bone meal, bone meal, wood ash to replace lost nutrients.

Maybe you will decide it is too much work to do all that and making more mix would be easier? Not sure...but there is plenty for you to read above. Smile

Wishing you better luck this spring:)

Jennie

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Re: Water Softner

Post  camprn on 1/1/2011, 9:18 pm

HEY! Long time no see!happy hi
I was wondering thinking if it would be worth having a separate line for water for outside to branch off your main line before the house water goes to the treatment unit. It would probably save you salt AND your vegetation.

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Re: Water Softner

Post  choksaw on 1/1/2011, 9:27 pm

Thank you all for the information ill be going to lowes tomorrow to get a soil test kit and possably be sending a sample out to the local extansion office hope i dont need to remake the mels mix again it was a pain tracking down all the components the first time lol will keep you all updated

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Re: Water Softner

Post  LaFee on 1/2/2011, 3:46 am

I think if you just find a way to water with what *hasn't* been through the softener, you'll be fine. It's just a matter of not having the added salt, as heaven knows plenty thrives with Florida water, even when it comes from a well and smells like sulfur.

RO might create as many problems as it solves, as it strips *all* the minerals and things from the water...taking any beneficial trace minerals with it.

...and welcome back, Choksaw -- was wondering where you'd wandered off to....

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Re: Water Softner

Post  ribsyhuggins on 1/2/2011, 6:02 am

i remember reading an question similar to this asked somewhere related to USDA. they did a study on it and found really no difference in vegetables grown with softened water.

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Re: Water Softner

Post  LaFee on 1/2/2011, 6:54 am

Culligan, the folks who *make* water softeners, say this Culligan's advice on soft water in the garden :

Will softened water affect my lawn or garden?

For outside use on lawns or gardens, using softened water is wasteful. Where the concentration of hardness minerals is high, the sodium content after softening may be high enough to retard plant growth and harm grass. This is especially true in climates where rainfall is scarce. Areas that receive regular rain are not as sensitive to sodium accumulation because the rain "rinses" the earth.

Ask the dealer who is installing your water softener about a bypass for lawn and garden faucets, and a faucet for unsoftened water.

Here's a discussion about it over on GardenWeb, some pro, some con:

http://forums2.gardenweb.com/forums/load/cornucop/msg0908451710970.html

And a scholarly opinion from the Texas A&M University Co-op Extension Service:

http://agfacts.tamu.edu/D10/Comal/FCS/Water/F1/nhardwtr.htm

Is softened water harmful to plants, lawns and gardens?

Softened water is not recommended for watering plants, lawns and gardens due to its sodium content. Care must also be taken that water used in recharging a water softener be disposed through a storm drain or sewer due to its damaging effects. If you are on a septic tank, the logical method of brine disposal is to discharge the brine into the septic tank and soil absorption field where some leaching of sodium salts will occur. Other alternatives include a separate holding tank which could be evacuated by a vacuum truck or a separate disposal field or discharge point that does not affect neighbors' property.

BTW -- Choksaw, we had an outdoor tap that was hooked up *before* the softener (the softener sat just inside the garage door, so it was an easy add-in for the prior owners)...so ONE outdoor tap ran straight from Hillsborough County Water...the rest of them were after the softener, so we had to be a little bit careful with which one we used! Then the prior owners had installed a well, so we had THAT water for the pool and the sprinkler system (well, until the well dried up a few years ago....) Smelled like most well water in Florida, but it didn't seem to hurt the plants any.

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Re: Water Softner

Post  acara on 1/2/2011, 8:32 am

Chocksaw ...

The softened water will definately create as many headaches outdoors, as it eliminates indoors.

Your soltions down here will be:

-Rainbarrels
-Have a well installed (depending where you are in NPR)
-Run a shunt or tap from your main header around the water softener

I'm not sure if your provider is Pacso county utilities (Southern basin) or your coming off the North Florida feed.

The "city water" really isn't that bad here (

TEST RESULTS ), from a plant perspective.

The well water is another matter .... nothing bad for the plants... but the rotten egg smell (sulphur) and the staining (iron) can be a problem.

I had the same problems when I moved here (didn't realize there was a water softener installed in the house we purchased & the previous owner had EVERYTHING running through it).

Unfortunately, the plants were the least of my worries ...... I had koi ponds, water container gardens and saltwater fishtanks going & the softened water played havoc on my water chemistry, until I figured it out.

RO is an option, but it's expensive, even for the small units; so unless there is another need for one in your home, like allergies or saltwater reef tanks ...it probably won't cost justify.


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Re: Water Softner

Post  middlemamma on 1/2/2011, 8:06 pm

Ribsy...maybe the person who did the study owned a water softener company...it seems the info against is overwhelming. It really cannot be ignored.

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Bypass

Post  ander217 on 1/3/2011, 9:51 am

Our outdoor faucet doesn't run through our water softener so we don't have a problem with that in our garden, but the water softener distributor asked us to install a bypass on our unit after our unit burned up. They determined it was due to a vacuum caused when our hot water heater went out. They honored the warranty on the unit, but said they would not do so again unless we installed the bypass. It was very simple for my husband to install. The company explained exactly how and where to place it.

You might check with the company which makes your softener. I'm sure they would be happy to give you advice if you want to install a bypass.

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Re: Water Softner

Post  LaFee on 1/3/2011, 3:27 pm

heehee....yep, Acara, you can always tell when the sprinklers in Florida come on -- you might not hear the water, but the "hard-boiled egg" smell will knock you over!

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Re: Water Softner

Post  acara on 1/3/2011, 5:37 pm

@LaFee wrote:heehee....yep, Acara, you can always tell when the sprinklers in Florida come on -- you might not hear the water, but the "hard-boiled egg" smell will knock you over!

Luckily it's not so bad here (despite what the locals from this area say). Head an hour or two down the coast towards Naples, or inland a little towards Juniper Springs ....... that stuff will make you wretch and/or eyes bleed Shocked

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Re: Water Softner

Post  choksaw on 1/5/2011, 3:18 am

OK did a soil test and all is not lost (thank god) the PH is only a bit off and after sitting dormant for the majority of the off season the soil itself seems to be salvagable, new project in the works for the coming season is a rain barrel (possably x2) system with a pump of some kind to feed the irrigation system its going to be trial an error until i get the kinks worked out but the old noodle is in overdrive so i should have something ready by the time spring comes around wish me luck.

Once all the kinks are worked out ill try to post up a video how to for everyone in case im not the only person with this problem.

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Re: Water Softner

Post  Furbalsmom on 1/5/2011, 4:04 am

Choksaw- so glad your soil test came out ok and you can reuse the MM. cheers

Rain Barrels sound great. Will they provide you with a long term solution to your watering needs? :?:

We get plenty of rain here on the OR Coast, but it is all during late fall, winter and spring. We have had 26 inches of rain since the first of Sept with more to come thru April or so (we hope it slows in April) Summers we usually have little rain.

Again, glad your MM is still useable.




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Re: Water Softner

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