Author Topic: Water in the Water Butt  (Read 588 times)

woodypecks

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Water in the Water Butt
« on: May 15, 2018, 20:48:02 »
How long does rain water stay fresh in the water butt ?  I noticed a bit of a wiff coming from the water inside one of our water butts .....can I still use this ?  Or should I tip it all away and start again ?  Which leads me to the next question ...How does one clean out a dirty Water Butt ?     :coffee2:     hmmmm  ..... anyone got any good advice on this ?   Debbie   :sunny:
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Water in the Water Butt
« on: May 15, 2018, 20:48:02 »

squeezyjohn

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 21:01:13 »
If nothing gets in there then it should be fine for watering purposes ... but if it's smelly then that's a sign that vegetation (or worse snails) have got in there and have started to decompose.  It could also be from a build up of algae which could occur if the water is exposed to light.

It would be better if it could be replaced with something clean ... but if you have nothing else then I personally would chance using it ... rotting organic matter is rich in nutrients and it's unlikely any harmful bacteria are in there that wouldn't be in a comfrey feed ... there's not a lot of rain forecasted for a while so you may need it in this hot weather!

ancellsfarmer

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2018, 06:46:33 »
My concern is the use of mains tap water .It would seem logical that chlorinated water would kill off soil bacteria and fungi. Does anybody know of research that would evaluate that? Do you fill your water butt from a hose? If left to stand, it will of course allow the chlorine to diffuse into atmosphere.
Have you noticed any indication that plants prefer rain water?
Freelance cultivator qualified within the University of Life.

galina

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2018, 07:03:10 »
If the butt is covered then I would not worry.  I have filters between the drain pipe and the water butts and they catch quite a bit of organic matter, mostly moss from the roof.  Basically a square of fine mesh wedged between the down pipe and the butt.  Used to use old socks, but the mesh is easier to clean and reuse.  If you really want to clean the butts, they need to be emptied, come out and after upending, washed out with a hose.  The base coating of the butt after several years of use is interesting - black , shiny and resembling used motor oil.  I have no explanation why. 

I haven't washed my butts out for years now and as soon as seedlings are big enough to go into the greenhouse for hardening off, they get butt water.  So far no ill effects.  :wave:

squeezyjohn

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2018, 07:48:21 »
My gut reaction is that rainwater ... even if a bit stagnant ... is better than tap water.  But I don't have any direct evidence that this is the case.  Our water here is hard so it might raise the pH too much and I certainly wouldn't like to use it on blueberries or citrus.

Digeroo

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2018, 08:59:44 »
A bit of barley straw stops formation of blue green algae.  You do not need much a few bales is enough for a lake.

woodypecks

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2018, 18:27:59 »
Thanks everyone ...Yes it is rain water in the water butt . I have decided that just in case I will use it up on my non-edible plants , and hopefully we should get some rain on Sunday that will re-fill it  . Cleaning it out is going to be very difficult as it is all connected up to the gutter .
Thanks for all your ideas .  :coffee2: Debbie 
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small

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2018, 19:47:32 »
It's never occurred to me to clean out my water butts..... they are a bit mucky-looking at the bottom but not smelly, I certainly don't think the age of the water comes into it. Up till about a month ago I was using water from our drainage ditches, which was always greenish and full of bits, but it didn't hurt any of the veg I used it on. Perhaps I'm not fussy enough.

Vinlander

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Re: Water in the Water Butt
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2018, 09:25:22 »
Smelly water is usually "eutrophic" - too much dissolved nitrate and/or too little dissolved oxygen gas has damaged its ecosystem. Amphibians are winners in this environment - newts and surface insects can help a lot - just use very common ones.

The quickest way to lose gas from water is to heat it up - all gases are more soluble in cold water (though alkaline water  absorbing carbon dioxide is a different, more powerful effect) so if the tank is in sun the oxygen you want will disappear much faster (so will the chlorine, but frankly UK water hardly ever holds enough long enough to damage anything except bacteria).

If it is nitrates then that's fertiliser (there's more in rain from thunderstorms). All dead stuff is fertiliser. All plants love both, and so do the soil organisms that will rapidly deal with the rotten smell and all its ill effects.

I always use smelly water (including pond- bottom slime) on whatever I want to grow fastest - ie. my veg. But do keep it off any leaves you are planning to eat that week.

Cheers.
With a microholding you always get too much or bugger-all. (I'm fed up calling it an allotment garden - it just encourages the tidy-police).

The simple/complex split is more & more important: Simple fertilisers Poor, complex ones Good. Simple (old) poisons predictable, others (new) the opposite.