I have a drilled well that goes down 220'. When it was drilled in 1995, the
pH that came back with the first water test was 7.0, perfectly neutral.
Over the years, I've had some plants begin to give me problems that took a
while for me to notice developing as I thought it was just a year to year
change in local conditions.
This year, in the spring while natural rain was sufficient, I remember
remarking to my wife, 'Go look at the cucumbers if you want to see some nice
dark green foliage.' During the past few years, my cukes have dropped off in
production and the leaves are more yellow than dark green. This year we made
no cucumber pickles and barely had enough for sandwiches.
I maintain a totally organic garden making compost & using some aged hen
manure that is mixed with softwood chips in their bedding, so I doubted that
the yellow leaves came from a lack of nitrogen. Also, these are raised beds
(3' x 10' x 10") and have good drainage.
This year, after testing the mother-in-laws water and finding a level of
coliforms higher than zero, I retested my own. I found that my pH had risen
But before testing, as the springs rain slowed, I began using a 'wand'
waterer on my hose which puts down a lot of water fast. Within a couple of
weeks, I noticed that the cukes were yellowing, my zukes wouldn't set fruit,
indeterminate tomatoes failed to achieve their usual height and her garlic
shriveled up and disappeared.
I sifted the garlic bed and saved all the bulbs I could find. In August, we
got 18" of rain & I stopped watering with the well water. New garlic
sprouted from the tiny bulbs I missed and are still growing lushly.
I'm going to switch to rain water next year. However, I can't find anything
when I search on the effects of high pH water on plants. Nor have I any idea
why my pH would change. Anyone else seen this happen?