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Swamp water?

This is a discussion on Swamp water? within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hi, I've got a question for y'all... I've been using natural spring water straight out ...

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  1. #1
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    Default Swamp water?

    Hi,

    I've got a question for y'all... I've been using natural spring water straight out of the ground for nearly 2 years and have never had any signs of trouble with this, despite a high trace mineral content. I occasionally (1-2 times/year) use lake water from a lake in NW Wisconsin where my family has a lake place. And previously, would only use rain water a few times a year when I was motivated to collect it or to set them all out in the rain for awhile. But I decided, since it's been raining here all month, to try collecting some. So I bought a funnel, and a hose, and took the gutter downspout apart, and channelled 70 gallons into two 35 gallon garbage cans in the garage. This was maybe 10 days ago. I'm leaving town for a few days tomorrow, and decided to soak the mounts tonight, so went out with the watering can to fill 'er up. And I have to tell you, the water smells like a swamp. It is downright foul! Is this normal when you store rain water, or do I have a problem here? How do others store it? Should it be airtight, or open to the air? Any thoughts/knowledge is greatly appreciated.

    Clueless, ME

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    I collect rainwater too and sometimes that does happen. I would imagine it picked up organic stuff from your roof.

    Were the garbage cans new or used? It could have been residue in there also.

    Unless the water really turn cloudy and icky, I really don't worry about it.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Kev. The water is clear. There seems to be some residue that has settled out on the sides of the cans. They are plastic, brand new when I filled them.

    Matt

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    Sometimes when it rains hard the way it has been, I'll let the roof wash clean before collecting the water. An awful lot of stuff ends up on roofs: dirt, leaves, all those terrible elm seeds right now. If I do let the roof wash off a bit, my water is much cleaner and stays cleaner.

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    You're probably picking up rot and bacteria from leaf decay in your gutters. If you were using spanking clean garbage cans just open to the rain, I'd say no, but the gutters are my first guess.Julie

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    Yikes...is the 'bacteria' a concern for the orchids if I water with this, or should I dump it out, clean the cans, and start fresh, following Kev's advice on letting is run clean first. I'm in a new townhouse development, and I know for sure there are not any leaves/debris in the gutters, (because there aren't any trees big enough withing distance for this to happen) but this doesn't mean I didn't pick up a bunch of stuff. I did collect it not long after the rain started that day?

    Matt

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    The way it's been raining, you probably could start again and have gallons in no time flat. I think it would be worth a shot.

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    Matt,


    Sounds like you've already reached this conclusion, but I'd vote for letting the first rain water from your roof go, and *then* begin collecting. Your "high" smelling water is probably OK, but in addition to the risk of undesirable organisms, there may also be a bit of industrial pollution with that first bit of water.



    Cheers,

    R2D2 (Rob)

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    I've been hanging back, reading y'all's opinions about this. I don't know one way or the other, myself. I've heard of people using lake or pond water on their orchids--organisms and all, with no fertilizer, ever--and they report having awesome results.

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    In the UK it,s very common for people to use rainwater collected from their roofs but in the UK the roof tiles are slate or concrete so basically the materials are inert.
    If your roof tiles are not inert they may be contaminating the rainwater causing the smells/bacteria.
    I still use a water treatment for my rainwater which kills most bacteria so i don,t have any algae or bad smells.

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