Using well water in Vegetable Garden

cammunizmNovember 2, 2011

I live inland, north Florida (9A). We've had a well at this location for several years, using it primarily to replenish the swimming pool and water non-edible areas of the lawn. Observationally, over time, the well water leaves a rust-colour on cement/brick due to iron and may sometimes have a slight sulfur smell.

I've not yet tested it, but plan on doing so for pH and so on. Assuming the pH checks out, is it advisable to use on edibles/vegetable garden areas for irrigation? Will I have to check it each time I plan to water?

Thank you!


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As far as whether or not it would be a good source of irrigation for plants, if the grass that is being watered with it now is doing well, there is a good chance that it will work for other plants. However, if you want to get a more complete picture of how it will do with a broad range of plants, these are things that would be very good to know:

Things that would be nice to know:
-nitrogen as nitrate
-nitrogen as ammonium
-iron (although we already have a pretty good idea)

I can help you with that part if you post the numbers once testing is complete. If your concern leans more towards human health issues, then I won't be much help. Toxcrusader could possibly chime in on that stuff.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 7:39AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Many of us gardeners who live in rural locations have been watering our gardens with well water, and even pond water, for decades with no problems. We don't have the option of anything else.

And honestly, even if I could have access to city water and all its purification additives I'd still prefer the well water for my gardens.

Neither the sulfur small nor the iron oxide in your well water poses any threat to your garden plants and even has some beneficial side-effects.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 10:56AM
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The U of F extension service also known as IFAS has loads of info. online on the subject of irrigation water quality. If the state budget woes haven't caused the extension service to implode, you might be able to actually speak to an agent in your's or a nearby county about the matter.

Yep, those shallow wells in FL are famous for their iron staining, sulfur stinking water. Do some research, you'll find that your well can be used if managed properly. I.E. Service bulletin SL 142 Neutralizing Excess Bicarbonates From Irrigation Water may be illuminating. A water analysis would also be illuminating but you extension agent may already know your water's status and be able to save you the time and money to get an analysis done.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 2:08PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

I was in Smyrna beach FL. years ago visiting friends, maybe close to you? They had a well for irrigation only. They had some great stuff growing in their yard. Mostly citric fruit but some great looking tomatoes and beans.

I broke an axle on my jeep, playing in the sand...... When I was replacing it the bugs were eating me alive. My friend told me to spray some of his well water on me. I smelled bad but the bugs left me alone!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2011 at 3:15PM
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