An overview of water quality issues.
Container gardening, whether in hand-watered potting soil or automated hydroponics, is more sensitive to water quality than soil gardening. Without getting technical, it is essentially about “forgiveness”. Soil is more forgiving than an inert medium (potting soil included). It is slightly more tolerant of imperfections in the rootzone. But soil has many limitations:
-It’s often not fertile.
-It’s often dense and compacted.
-It requires much work and guesswork to improve it.
-It doesn’t respond to changes quickly.
-Diseases and bugs lurk in it.
-It’s extremely heavy to lug around.
Soil will put up with “bad water” to some extent. That same water might cause problems with hydroponics because hyroponics is essentially an IV direct into the roots. If the mineral element balance is far out of whack the plants will suffer. Our own Urban Farm Fertilizers™ is specially formulated and manufactured by us to produce outstanding results in a wide range of water conditions. In general, if your water isn’t harming you or anything that you are currently growing, then it should be fine in hydroponics.
Fortunately most municipal water systems are processed enough to get the bad stuff out, so most tap water is fine. People in the country on wells frequently have questionable water with excesses of elements like iron, sulfur, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. These water supplies will cause problems with any type of gardening. In other words…..if it’s bad for you to drink then it’s bad for your plants, in soil or rockwool. Filtration technology these days is awesome. Most well water can be purified with reverse osmosis and pre-treatment.