The tapwater here is off-the-scale hard, so I collect rainwater from the
downspouts & keep it in 5-gal carboys for all my plants. Must have some
dissolved organic matter in it, because often it turns murky & gets real
stanky, like marsh gas. What would be the best way to treat this problem?
H2O2? Potassium permanganate? Or, ?
I have a dozen water barrels around the house at each downspout and
every time one of them is empty I wash it out with soap. You water
has anerobic organisms thriving. Another thing you can do if you only
have one barrel is to buy a cheap fish tank pump and attach an aerator
to the end of the tube and keep the water aerated.
Rain water isn't as pure as we'd like to think, the droplets pick up dust as
they fall. The roof is covered with dust, leaves and bird droppings that get
washed down the gutter and into your tanks.
Watering the plants with it isn't going to hurt anything, and once the soil
dries out a bit the smell will too. But if it bothers you, a few drops of
chlorine bleach will temporarily stop the smell. Circulating the water will
also work, such as using a cheap aquarium air pump.
There are five jugs that I keep indoors due to sub-zero temps; I'm in an
apartment-sized duplex with no electrical outlets where they are kept out of
the way. The jugs are almost 2' tall but with openings 1.5" wide, which
makes them difficult if not impossible to clean. Maybe if I swish some
coarse sand around in them it'll loosen the residue on the bottoms. Well
anyway, I'll always have organic matter in them because of a sick tree
(which isn't mine to remove) that hangs over the gutters, constantly
throwing its trash down in them. I was afraid of using household bleach
because of "other stuff" that might be in it, so I was kinda leaning toward
H2O2. Potassium permanganate would also help oxidate the water, but is
expensive and messy. I just know I need to do something because every time
I water the bigger plants in my son's room it stinks the whole room up.
I'd use household bleach. Not sure how much but I'd imagine a teaspoon full
in what appears to be a 5 gal jug should do no harm. Google and see how
much is recommended for purifying water in a canteen. If you can drink it,
it will not harm plants.
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