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

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By Intheswamp
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#432819
Ok. Looking at the weather and the rains (or missed rains) that we've had lately I decided to make the splurge and invest in another 32-gallon garbage can for water storage.

I was going to move some water that I've had stored in three 5-6 gallon white plastic buckets since last fall to the new garbage can but opening the lids the water is definitely green. The TDS is good in all three of the buckets....0, 2, and 5ppm. But, am I inviting a bunch of algae to start growing rampantly in my pots if I use this water? I hate to ditch it, but I could and then use the buckets to (hopefully) catch some fresher, non-green water. These buckets have been sitting outside in semi-shade since last fall. I filled them up after I had filled the 1st 32-gallon Rubbermaid garbage can up...I just checked and the water in the garbage can is still crystal clear! The difference is the can is black and pretty much sits in shade on the north side of the house while the buckets were exposed to at least an hour or two of direct sun and brighter open shade the rest of the time. I could have avoided this, most likely if I had covered the buckets or moved them to complete shade. Oh well,...

Anyhow, would you start a bulk water saving with the green water or dump it and start mostly from scratch using the buckets to catch fresh water? I've probably got ten gallons of fresh rain water I could start filling it with. A couple of more good rains and I'd have the second 32-gal can topped off. But, I sure could use those buckets with the green water in them to catch more water in.

Dump it? Use it? Save it? Pull a rabbit out of my hat? :mrgreen:
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By Intheswamp
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#432840
No danger of the water spangles getting into the creeks where I'm located, but my problem is the buckets had lids on them, just not shaded. I think the translucency of the bucket sides had more to do with it than the lids...there was usually a thin layer of leaf litter on top of the lids.

The water I needed to put up was from the last storm system that came through and did some damage over around LaGrange. It was interesting in that we were sitting in a dry "trough" during most of the storm with the storm splitting and going to the north and south of us. Finally toward the ends of the system it came together and the tail end drug through here. We probably brought us between 1/2" and 3/4" of rain. I ended up with a lot more water than I thought I had...12 gallons in one cooler, 5 gallons in another cooler, and probably 4-5 gallons in a flat Sterilite container. That figures right around 21-22 gallons and the garbage can is a good 2/3's full so that works out about right. Another good rain and the second garbage can will be filled up! I also filled up 8 gallons in milk jugs from some small buckets. It was some good, clean rain, too, I tested the water in the garbage can after I got it filled and got a 1ppm reading on my meter. The latter rain from these big rains just seem to be "cleaner". :D

Looking at the recent quick temperature spikes in the mid-80s and the forecast to go back their next week and looking at some recent hit-or-miss rain systems I'm wondering what this summer is going to look like. Hopefully we'll get good rain through the summer but I will feel better having the second garbage can filled up. This time last year I would've told anybody they were crazy if they said I'd be storing over 100 gallons of rainwater. :lol: I think I might be overdoing it, but I've got the space to store it, so why not? Oh, and it all gets filtered through a rough towel and bedsheet material layered together. ;)

Going back to the water spangles, though, I need a larger area for my outside plants so they can be protected from the varmints. I also need to look for some larger trays/tubs. I'll keep the water spangles in mind for when I do get some larger containers. Last year, most of my plants were smaller and I kept them under some lightweight hardware cloth cages. But, some have grown a good bit and starting to poke through the screen.

Anyhow, OCD-Me strikes again!!!!! :lol:
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By MikeB
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#432848
Intheswamp wrote: Fri Mar 31, 2023 9:41 pm I think the translucency of the bucket sides had more to do with it than the lids.
If the bucket is translucent and isn't stored in a dark location, then you'll get algae (it came in with the rainwater). This is why I store my clear/translucent water jugs in the garage.

This water is safe to use. If you top-water with it and let the soil/moss get a bit dry between waterings, then the algae will die.
Intheswamp wrote: It was some good, clean rain, too, I tested the water in the garbage can after I got it filled and got a 1ppm reading on my meter. The latter rain from these big rains just seem to be "cleaner".
That's because the earlier part of the rainstorm grabbed the dust and pollen already in the air and took it out.
Intheswamp wrote: This time last year I would've told anybody they were crazy if they said I'd be storing over 100 gallons of rainwater. :lol: I think I might be overdoing it, but I've got the space to store it, so why not?
A friend of mine recently bought a used IBC (Industrial Bulk Container), rinsed it out, and turned it into a 275-gallon / 1,041-liter rain barrel. He fills it from his roof gutters and is amazed at how much water he gets from light showers.
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By Intheswamp
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#432853
Yep, the semi-translucent buckets caused the green water. I've got most of my milk jugs in the back of my open-ended garage...but, there's a large window back there that gives them some indirect, shaded light and if I don't rotate them out the older ones will take on a slight green tint. I may just keep catching water, even though my storage is getting close to being peaked out and just gradually refill the green buckets...and then keep them well shaded! Thanks for the tip on topwatering with the green water and letting the topdressing dry out. I will definitely keep that in mind!

I've definitely noticed how the longer it rains the "cleaner" the water is. We get most of our rains coming in from the southeast...coming from Louisianna, Mississippi, and entering the southeast corner of Alabama. Short rains tend to be in the 7-10ppm range, whereas a long rain that overflows the buckets for a while will result in a low 1-2ppm reading. Last summer when had a system that seemed to come in from mostly directly south of us...coming in off the gulf (we're about 90 miles inland). That rain ended up being over 25ppm, which was odd. At that time I had plenty of water and it was during a rainy spell so I ended up holding it for a while in the catch buckets but ended up dumping it to catch some fresh, lower-TDS water. I've often wondered about that water...was it because of the salt from the gulf or ...????

Those big containers are *nice*. We don't have gutters so everything comes straight off the roof. I can only imagine the amount of water coming off the roof. I catch the large cooler full of water by sitting beneath where a valley empties...a heavy rain takes maybe five to fill up!
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By Intheswamp
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#433909
Well, since posting I bought another 32-gallon garbage can and have it filled with 2ppm water. Late this afternoon we had a storm system pass through so I sat out my pots and buckets. I went ahead and emptied and cleaned out one of the green-water buckets and it's now filled with 1ppm clear water now! What is interesting is that I have a row of pots and buckets elevated on a small bench beneath the drip line, these all had 2-3ppm water in them. I also had a couple of small pots and the large bucket under the drip line but sitting on the ground...they all test 1ppm. I figured if anything it would be opposite from that with water possibly splashing off the cement surface back into the low-sitting pots/bucket. Anyhow, this was a mighty clean rain...lots of lightning with it.
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By Intheswamp
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#437425
Yep. Algae. I just didn't want to use the water to water the plants and at the same time be seeding zillions of little algae plants(?) in the pots. I'm trying to at least keep the buckets *mostly* in the shade now. The ones still in sunshine are "temporary" and get emptied before algae starts growing.
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By optique
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Joined:  Fri May 24, 2019 11:15 pm
#437459
this year i put 1 water hyacinth per tub. they dwarfed because there is not much food in the tubs but they are not dead. the water is crystal clear in 6 hours of sun, nothing left for the algae use a fuel.
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