Water softeners and indoor potted plants.

We have indoor potted plants and trees and will soon have an indoor herb garden, once I get off my lasy ass and build some shelving and wire some lights.
Our water is softened and also charcoal filtered. I have since discovered that miracle gro might not be suitable for potted plants because of the residue it leaves behind. Therefore I am looking for a natural organic alternative to feed potted plants with water form a water softener.
Winter is 5 months long with snow on the ground for 4 of those months so grass clippings is not a year round solution. We have no compost bin because our town collect food waste but is there food waste I can divert to the pots? Coffee grounds, tea grounds, veggie scrapping from the plates? Remember these are indoor pots so smells count, and our water source is softened water.
Any ideas?
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wrote:

Don't use softened water. Is your cold water supply softened too? Rainwater or melted snow is ideal. (Fresh water) aquarium water is another excellent water source for plants.
Coffee grounds, veg table scraps, leaves, etc go to the compost pile, not into potted plants (why encourage knats, roaches, mold, mice?). A good compost pile won't have a disagreeable odor, but it still needs to be outdoors. Our city collects kitchen waste too, but mine goes to the compost pile rather than the city dump.
Go easy with Miracle Grow. I found that it can be very harsh on some plants. I dilute it more than recommended, especially for potted plants.
I have had much better success growing herbs outdoors in the full sun.
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I seriously doubt the water at your outdoor hose bibs is softened.
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Our kitchen cold water is softened as is all indoor taps. As was said winter is five month long here. I'm not using outdoor taps because they will freeze. There are no shut-offs from the inside to the outside taps, a flaw in the original plumbing that I will address, once my list of 6000 other things is done.
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I used softened water once in the past two months we have lived here. We recently upgraded our softener and decided to put the kitchen cold on the softener as well because of the filtering system we installed. Other than that it's been bottled spring water from the grocery store.
Is there any type of organic fertilizer to mix with the softened water or is that an idea best to be forgotten?

Yeah I thought diverting scraps into indoor pots was a dumb idea.
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wrote:

Indoor potted plants really don't need much fertilizer if any... it's better to simply repot into fresh potting mixture once a year... if you're concerned there are plenty of organic potting mixes on the market, many contain organic fertilizer. And there are myriad organic house plant fertilizers at any plant nursery.. just keep in mind that with house plants especially less fertilizer is more. However I see no reason not to water houseplants with softened water. In a hard water area all water in the house should be softened, except water to outdoor hose bibs (kind of stupid-dumb to pour softened water onto the ground), however car buffs will often have a softened water hose bib too for preventing spotting on their babies... they may even have tempered water to that hose bib for cold weather washing. The most critical areas not to have hard water is hot water heaters and hot water heating systems... hard water wreaks havoc on plumbing, especially hot water plumbing... hard water mineral deposits will cause ones energy costs to go out of sight and before long those pipes/mechanicals will clog to where they need replacement, a huge plumbing bill. It probably doubles ones heating bill to have hard water in heating units, will even cut a dish washer and clothes washer life in half, ice maker too... you'll be changing faucet inserts much more often and toilet tank hardware too. If on a private well and your water stinks it's most likely due to too high a bacteria count... for the price of a cup of ordinary laundry bleach you can get rid of the bacteria by shocking your well... good idea to pour some bleach into the hot water heater tank too, that bottom portion near the inlet is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. First time you may need to repeat in like a month... thereafter every two years. Carbon and particulate filters do not remove bacteria, in fact they harbor and concentrate bacteria. Do not use those Brita/Pur type filters, they will make you ill. If on a private well for added insurance install a UV lamp at the main inlet. Iron and sulphur require specialized treatment, consult a hydro specialist
http://www.servicemagic.com/sem/category.Water-Softening-Purification.10425.html?m mmgcontent&entry_point_idF53458
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I have several plants & a tree indoors. I live in a place with off-the-scale hard water, and I only soften the hot side - and then only with potassium, not sodium. That's all I ever water with during winter. After 24 hrs it's cooled, dechlorinated, doesn't leave mineral scale, and I don't worry about upsetting soil pH. Before I moved to a place with a softener I used to melt snow; and for me it was a far bigger pain in the ass than I was willing to put up with. Especially for as many plants as I had. Whenever using bottled water, I always used distilled.
With the exception of some orchids, I almost never fertilize plants indoors, because that's when I'm enforcing dormancy. When they all go outdoors for the summer they get an occasional, dilute feeding with stuff like fish emulsion, or something that I think is made of beets(?).
I've added coffee grounds directly, but that was mostly just to fill in a couple divots after repotting a Strelitzia.
There are table-top kitchen scrap composters available, too. No odors, so they claim.
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Most people only soften the hot side but our softener has built in charcoal filter bed because our town has horrible chlorine issues, so we do the the cold side at all taps as well. The water here is very very hard as well.
You mention dormancy: can you go into detail about this and please remember I am a dummy so intorductory explanations please. I'd really appreciate the lesson....
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corrected. Dormancy is a plant's time of rest, the most obvious example being what you see during a temperate winter when everything looks "dead". (Some plants have more than one dormancy.) They can go naturally dormant based on changes in temperature, light, day length (or really, it's the length of night), or amount of rain. With some tropicals the changes can be subtle. So it depends on the plant. Basically, by imitating whatever drives them into dormancy in nature you're giving them their "beauty rest." To do this I always stop any kind of fertilizing a few weeks before they're to come back indoors, and gradually reduce watering once they're in. In the spring they eagerly bounce back after getting the "usual" treatment. That's also the time they get repotted if need be. I do this every year because I read that to withhold dormancy from a plant is stressful to it. Often the plant itself will give you clues when to reduce watering. It's those clues that so many people miss, and they mistakenly think it needs more water. I imagine this is how a lot of houseplants get overwatered til they're dead. HTH, and good luck trying to grow herbs indoors; it never worked well for me. I guess they just needed far more intense light than I was willing to pay the electric bills for.
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