How can I grow vegetables using alkaline water?

Asked August 23, 2014, 7:17 PM EDT

We have an organic vegetable garden and water with our well water, which at last test had a pH of nearly 14. For years I have wondered why our plants don't seem to thrive, and both fruit and plants are somewhat stunted. I finally did a bit of reading and realized that our well water might be the culprit. I will be testing the pH again as soon as I can get some test strips. So what can I do to counteract this problem? I live in coastal British Columbia and the coal seams under our island are the cause of the alkalinity, I think.

Outside United States irrigation and water management lrk

6 Responses

The alkaline water is bad news and is most likely the source of your garden problem. A water treatment system is the solution. pH needs to be 6.8 to 7.2

It's good to know my guess was on track. I'm considering a 2,000-gallon storage tank in which I can amend the pH of the water before using it on the garden. Does this seem like a viable solution?

If so, what it the recommended acidic agent to modify the pH? As it will possibly turn out that there is too much alkalinity as well, can I ameliorate that at the same time, every time I fill the tank?

I think you are in British Columbia, and the regulations here in Oregon are not the same. What do your neighbors use? You're probably not the only one who has this issue.

As you guessed, we live on one of the small gulf islands in British Columbia (Hornby Island) and are completely unregulated in terms of water. I don't know of anyone who lives along the aquifer that supplies us that bothers to try to lower the pH of their water. I would be a test case and pass along my gleanings. So if you have a suggestion for the best acidic modifier to treat a tank at a time of water, let me know. The water will be being pumped from our well, treated, poured onto the plants with a lower pH, and back into the loop. As far as I can see, it shouldn't cause any difficulties anywhere along the way.

What needs to be added is acid like 10% sulfuric acid solution and test the results. Doing it yourself will have to be trial and error until you get the correct ratios down.

I guess this is the end of the string, Randy, unless you want to know the eventual outcome of the experiment, which might be at the end of the next growing season.
But armed with your information, and having found the price of a 2000 gallon tank I have what I need to proceed. And just so you don't worry I am aware of how important it is to add acid to water, rather than the other way around. I will do some small sample tests to find out the ration of acid to water, and will then scale it up to the tank.
Thanks again for your interest and expertise.

John Grunewald Hornby Island BC, Canada