WATER (from ROI Standards & Best Practices page)

Water is an essential component for almost all plants, and particularly those grown in containers and in sandy (doesn't hold enough water) and clay (holds too much water) soil and dirt.

The ability of plant-specific prepared dirt to retain moisture relative to needs of certain plants is even more critical, depending on the irrigation method used, which affects microbe populations as well.

On the other hand, amending soil in the ground (which can make it better, as a more friable dirt) can significantly change the air/moisture relationship and may require additional attention to water percolation and drainage issues.

The amount of moisture in amended soil (dirt) or prepared dirt mixes may fluctuate considerably based on different amendments used, to accommodate needs of growing certain plants. A 'target' moisture content in a prepared dirt mix should be in the 25% by volume range - more air for cacti and more water retention for plants that like to have their 'feet wet'.

One of the most common problem issues for growing plants is irregularity of watering. Different plants have different needs, so you should know what the expectations of the plants are, that you grow.

A prepared dirt mix may be formulated to accommodate varying plant requirements for water and an average 'target', is considered to be 25% by volume range for 'starters'. And by the way, do you know how to perform a 5-gallon bucket 'porosity test' to find out what the air/water content is?

Water for plants should NOT contain chlorine or any other microcide or heavy metals. To the degree that chemically-treated water (to kill microbes) is used, that IS the degree to which the soil food web will be damaged, making it difficult for microbe populations to survive, to provide nutrition to plants organically. While it was true in the past that chlorine products would dissipate quickly in contact with air - today's chlorine chemicals are formulated to be much longer-lasting in the presence of oxygen.

For a lot of 'greenhouse' growers, chlorine is a non-issue, because chlorinated city water is what they have, and they are not interested in removing the chlorine anyway, since they do not use a growing medium that utilizes microbes to make nutrients for their plants anyway - because they use synthetic nutrients.

OK fine. But for the person who purchases that potted plant, they should at least be made aware of the issues that they are "up against" when they get the plant home from the store.

OK - don't have space to "get into" that topic here, but look for that issue expressed in other topics on the More Soil-Dirt Topics? page. Workin' on it...

The life span of an 'average' microbe is measured in MINUTES (not hours) and microbe ability to reproduce CONSTANTLY is the determining factor in population densities and diversity, needed to turn organic matter into plant nutrition within organic growing mediums that need clean water to flourish.

If organic matter, capable of holding up to 40 times its weight in water, is saturated with highly-chlorinated water at each irrigation, how would one expect microbe populations to make plant nutrition from it even if there was sufficient quantity of aged organic material in the growing bed or potting mix?

An activated charcoal filter placed on the water line is capable of removing chlorine, but pure RAINWATER, collected in a catchment from ground water, is the recommended standard.

Various individual components in prepared planting media (dirt) have different capacities to hold water, and some manufacturers recommend an organic surfactant (wetting agent) be added to irrigation water, particularly when foliar feeding. A list of such components and their properties is offered in other sections on this site.

Plant growers should be attentive to the moisture-holding conditions and complimentary air-holding capacity in any dirt media, to ensure that a proper balance of water-to-air is available to the specific plants being grown.

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