Our seedlings are thirsty. The mighty Red River flows just meters away from our garden. It seems so simple - take water from the river and water the plants.
But, as we know, things are never as easy as they appear. There is great debate amongst our garden society members about how, when and even if to water our gardens. Here are some of the questions posed:
- Is Red River water safe to use?
- What about pesticide and herbicide residues from run-off?
- What about fecal contamination and coliform bacteria counts?
- Isn't River water rich in nutrients and therefore good for our gardens?
- Our gardens are often flooded by the River, so what does it matter?
- Why not collect rain water for garden use?
- Is cold, chlorinated, flourinated tap water safe to use?
- Why water at all, why not just use proper mulch to trap moisture all summer?
It's confusing. Every argument sounds like a good one. We are left to make our own decisions.
On our family plot, we use river water to get our seedlings and seeds off to a good start. We don't use river water for our leafy greens that we plan to eat (eg. we don't water our spinach with river water). We haul tap water that has been left to warm up and dechlorinate for a day. Once our veggies have a good start, we don't water anymore.
We don't have a rain barrel - yet!