I like to consider how to provide the ideal situation for plants in the garden. A good place to start is the soil or medium that you choose for growing your plants. If you are fortunate to be able to have your garden outside in the sun then it makes all kinds of sense to be directly in the soil of your garden.

Part of the consideration has to do with the difference between ” dirt” and “soil”. Soil is full of micro and macro forms of life. Things like bacteria, fungus spores and mycelium as well as worms and predator nematodes. Too many kinds of organisms to list or even identify. But these are the agents of change in the soil that feed your plants. Soil becomes dirt when it is sterilized and the indigenous life is killed off. This can be done on purpose or by accidental side effect of things like use of chemical salt nutrients or fungicides and pesticides. Probably the most common way that folk unintentionally kill off the life in their soil is by watering with treated water. “Potable” water that comes from your water district or out of the tap is usually treated with chlorine or chloramine to kill bacteria and fungus so it is ‘safe’ to drink. This is a good thing for human health but the life in your soil depends on a thriving ecology of critters that are poisoned by treated water.

If your water has chlorine, letting it sit for even a day exposed to the air will allow most of the chlorine to evaporate off. Adding an air stone and a flow of compressed air is even more thorough at driving off the chlorine. Chloramine is more of a challenge. I used to live in a large urban environment and the city used chloramine to treat our water. I would use the air stone idea for a few days and then add humic acids and beneficial micro organisms to the water while aerating it. It would then be a form of compost tea and help to perpetuate life in the soil.

I am not a big fan of reverse osmosis filtering to make pure water. In my opinion, this is an energy intensive and water wasting way of dealing with treated water. But, I know folk who work indoors and feel they need to have clean water for all the reasons discussed here.

In a post coming soon I will share with you how to cultivate/ propagate Beneficial Indigenous Micro-organisms that are all around you.