“Water is the driving force of all nature”
– Leonardo Da Vinci
“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water”
– Loren Eiseley
“All the water that will ever be is, right now”
– National Geographic
As with all living things, water is the primary property, and therefore the most necessary for our health and survival. This is true for humans, animals, and plants. An interesting fact that people often cite is that the human body is made up of 60% water. What a lot of people don’t know is that most mature animals consist of 75% water, and most plants are 90% water…. Of all living things, plants contain the highest concentration of water. With that information, one can reasonably deduce that while water is essential for all life, it is especially important for vegetative life.
Water obviously plays the primary role in the growth of the plant, but also upon maturity water is essential in keeping the plant upright and healthy. The key to a healthy plant is the nutrients. The water helps transport those nutrients from the soil through the plant and into the cells. The three most important nutrients for plants are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK). Both Nitrogen and Phosphorus are pulled from the soil and absorbed by the plants through the water. Other important nutrients include Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulfur.
When was the last time you truly considered the water that you are drinking? Everyone is aware of its importance, and it is daily, but seldom do we consider what is inside the water. This is ironic since what is inside of the water is what makes it so important.
Naturally, water is full of minerals, in fact it needs minerals. That said, “pure” water actually isn’t as good for the recipient. The purer the water the less minerals that it has. Water is so desperate for minerals, that when depleted, it is always hunting for them. This means that when you put mineral free water into your body, instead of giving you nutrient rich minerals, it actually pulls them away from your body for its own bonding purposes. This leaves you further depleted of those minerals. The exact same thing happens with plants when we water them. While this discrepancy is minor, it is important to be aware of.
This is one reason why rain water is such a great water source for plants.
There are four main sources for watering greenhouses: groundwater from wells, surface water, storm water, and municipal water. All of these sources have their own ways of being contaminated, whether it be that something is added to the water accidentally (sand or silt), or something is being removed (minerals).
At the top of the list for depleted minerals is municipal water. Since this water is primarily for residential use, it is treated to remove many of the minerals, and is chemically treated to make it as “pure” for the residential patrons as possible. This is a good example of why whatever the source of water, it should always be tested.
One of the more common minerals that is found in water, as well as one you should be looking for when testing is Alkaline. Alkaline can be harmful in high quantities because it can raise the Ph to a level that will result in nutrient deficiencies for the plant.
Water is something that is so commonplace we often don’t think twice about it. Whether that be for your personal use or for your plants, it is important to understand that not all water sources provide the same quality of water. We ought to place more focus on doing our best to provide both our bodies and our plants with the healthiest water possible. This means taking into account the minerals that are present in each water source, and how those will be utilized by the recipient.