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Discuss water requirements, "soil" (growing media) and suitable planting containers

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By ChefDean
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#446297
TDS can vary depending on many factors, your neighborhood partway across town could be very different than you. Your best bet is to get an inexpensive TDS meter and measure your own.
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By Panman
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#446300
You can also use aquarium test strips. Pay attention to the gH (General Hardness) and kH (Carbonate Hardness) readings. Test strips can get pricey when compared to a TDS meter.
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By Intheswamp
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#446301
Here's a list of cities and towns in Scotland and their mineral/hardness test results. I'm no brain, so I can't tell you much about the measurements except at the end of each line it states something like "Soft", "Moderately Hard", etc., is noted. Most of the cities or towns show "Soft" or "Moderately Soft"...but, there are several that show "Moderately Hard". If you provide the town that you're located in one of the folks here that understands the measurements might could tell you if your water might be okay. This is the most recent test shown online: Water Hardness Data 2022

The best option, though, would be to get a TDS meter if possible. Soft water is better than hard water. Hard water has an abundance of minerals in it. Soft water doesn't have the high amounts of calcium and magnesium but can have higher amounts of salt...so, just going by the hard or soft labels could leave you open to high salt levels (not good). Again, a TDS meter is something you will use for a long time...it's a good investment. It will last a long time if taken care of and usually costs $15(US).

Some signs of hard water:
White, chalky/crusty deposits on your faucets.
Dishes...glasses, silverware, etc., have white spots on them after washing.
If you have a soap scum line that builds up in your bathtub.

These are mostly calcium deposits left when the water dries.

Best wishes.
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By Spunro
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#446303
my town is in the moderately soft range according to what youve sent, sitting at just over 73. I have tried to ask my mum if she can order a TDS meter (Im paying for it, I just cant shop online yet, no card) but shes said she doesnt think theres any point ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

ill just stick with collecting rainwater, its worked fine for me :D
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By Intheswamp
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#446309
Well shucks, you taught me something...1 mg/l CaCO3 = 1ppm. I think( :? ). :lol:

If the TDS is 73 then you could add a gallon of distilled water to a gallon of tap water and end up around 37ppm with two gallons of water instead of one gallon of 0ppm water. ;) The general recommendation is to use water below 50ppm, though it seems people have reported using 100ppm water with no apparent harm...YMMV.

One other question would be what sanitizing agents the water company uses? Chlorine isn't a problem as the water can sit in a bucket and by the next day the chlorine has evaporated. Chloramine, on the other hand, is more persistent and doesn't leave the water as readily, though I guess it eventually leaves. I think there's a debate on how both affect regular (non-carnivorous) plants. With carnivorous plants being more sensitive, I dunno.
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By andynorth
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#446320
Spunro wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 3:22 pm
ill just stick with collecting rainwater, its worked fine for me :D
If you got it, use it!!! I collect as much as possible. We normally get lots of rain but it has been a quiet year thus far.
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By Intheswamp
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#446322
Absolutely! Rainwater is great!!! Besides being about as pure as you can get other than something like distilled water, it is acidic which carnivorous plants favor. For starting seeds and leaf-cuttings you *might* want to stick to distilled water just to keep the possibility of mold or algae as low as possible. Even with those, though, I feel the acidic nature of rainwater has something to offer.

Keep your eyes open for storage containers...having a backup supply of rainwater is "money in the bank"!!!! ;) You never know when that dry period might hit.
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By Spunro
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#446328
yup! ever since i got my flytrap (first plant!) ive been putting plastic tubs outside to collect the water as it rains (common in scotland) and i just store it in bottles, i probably have about 8 litres of the stuff so i think ill start collecting more soon just to be safe
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By andynorth
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#446337
Intheswamp wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 7:33 pm Do you have dry spells in Scotland? I've always thought of it as kind of a "damp" place.
I am wondering if it is anything like the PNW. We do have our dry spells once summer rolls around, usually about early to mid July. We have been known to have really awesome springs but those are not too often. And when it does get dry, it gets really dry. Almost to the point of drought. we use Mt.Rainier as our gauge for whether or not it will be dry, somewhat dry or really dry for the summer. The whiter it is, the better the chance it will not be a dry summer. The darker it is, the greater the chance we will not be watering our lawns in the summer.
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By Spunro
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#446340
Intheswamp wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 7:33 pm Do you have dry spells in Scotland? I've always thought of it as kind of a "damp" place.
yes but im not sure how frequent they tend to be, last year there was almost 2 full weeks without rain in peak summer :o
By 93pirks
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Joined:  Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:51 am
#446343
If you can afford to buy the child sand pits as in the clam shell type ones, they are about £10-15 like these https://www.therange.co.uk/toys/paddlin ... ling-pool/ Fill a couple of 2 litre plastic pop bottles up with tap water, screw the lids back on tight then place them led down in the sand pits for weight so the sand pits are less likely to blow away.
I collect all my rain water this way and if i get low then i have to buy a 25 litre drum of distilled water from here https://www.buydistilledwater.co.uk/dis ... water.html and no I have no links with them it’s just a company I have used for many years and trust their stuff.
Oh and get a tds meter. Tell your mum you will help her with the shopping etc for a week or something
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By Intheswamp
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#446355
Two weeks, eh? Try two months. It happens. Usually it's shorter than that, but a month without rain isn't terribly abnormal but we always say "I can't ever remember it being this dry in August, or July, or... Then other summers it's like summer monsoon season. What can I say?...it's south Alabama. :mrgreen: If you wanted to store more water than you can with the liter bottles you might look into purchasing something like a large black 32-gallon garbage can and a couple of 5-gallon buckets. (Please, I'm an old American that uses imperial measurements and doesn't care to convert things. :mrgreen: ). Use the buckets to catch the water, then pour into the garbage cans. When you get the garbage can full then fill the buckets up and put the lids on them. Put all the containers in the shade to reduce algae growth. I usually try to filter my rainwater through a cotton towel with maybe a piece of old sheet (or similar fine weave cloth) laid over it. Filtering the water seems to help keep it from turning green with suspended algae. Green water really doesn't hurt much, I just had rather have clear water. Anyhow, if I were you I would try to get a bulk container for rainwater storage...it's like "money in the bank". ;) Of course, if the longest dry spell you have is two weeks then just a couple of 5-gallon buckets would probably work okay. :)
Spunro wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 10:36 pm
Intheswamp wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2024 7:33 pm Do you have dry spells in Scotland? I've always thought of it as kind of a "damp" place.
yes but im not sure how frequent they tend to be, last year there was almost 2 full weeks without rain in peak summer :o
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