When it comes to watering, there are some tips you should know about. If you live in a city/town with a water treatment plant, you should know what is being added to the water. You can have your water tested if you like. Call your local extension office to find out how to do this.
Most water treatments add chlorine to your tap water. Chlorine will not generally harm your plants, but if you want to make sure leave the container of water sitting open to the air for 24 hours to let the chlorine evaporate out.
Always avoid the use of water that has fluorides in it. There are other sources of water you can use. Lake water is okay and plants love it, but make sure your lake has not been treated for foliage in the water or it WILL kill your plant. From the day the lake is treated, you should wait to use the water for at least 21 days.
You can make a compost tea by steeping a cloth bag of compost or just put the compost (strain before using) in some warm water outdoors for a couple days and use that to water your plants. You can use snow, rain water, well or spring water also. I have also used coffee that was brewed but not all of it was drunk.
Water softener water should not harm your plants, but I use a filter on my sink so I don’t get so much salt in the water. I only use tap water in the winter. That’s because I cannot get water out of the lake as it is frozen over or if we have no snow yet.
At times, you may get a crust of white on top of the soil in your potted plants. This is due to chemicals in your water or sometimes the soil. If you submerse the whole pot in a container of water for half an hour and then let drain well, it should do the trick.
If you are still seeing a lot of crusting, repot the plant in the same scrubbed clean pot or another one. If you do not want to completely repot the plant, you can dig out as much of the old soil as you can and replace with new soil.
If you want to fertilize your plants, use the recommended amount suggested for your plant. Personally, I do not ever fertilize. When I use the coffee water or lake water, my plants seem to thrive. I cannot water with coffee all the time as it will turn the outside of my clay pots a nasty, streaky brown color, but the plants have never died due to it. Watering the coffee down by one to one ratio seems to help with the streaking.
If anyone has a subject about gardening they would like me to address in my next column, email me at [email protected] and happy house planting!
Amy Muncy was born in Wabash County and lived in Northern Wabash County for close to 40 years. Muncy grew up in the country, has always enjoyed gardening and mowing the lawn. She has been gardening since a small girl. She moved to Kosciusko County in 2000. She is a master gardener intern at this point, but will be a full master gardener before long.
“I enjoy all aspects of gardening. I really don’t have an expertise on any one thing. I make compost. I can, freeze and dehydrate. I like to grow veggies, flowers, herbs and houseplants. I like to plant trees everywhere I can. I know a little bit about a lot of gardening. I would say most of my experience has been on composting and different ways to do this. I believe we must conserve our land for our future generations and composting is a great way of doing this. The more we become self sufficient, the better off future generations are and we need to be teaching them by example.”