Growers are encouraged to test their water every couple of years so they can be confident about their water source, and make adjustments if needed. While irrigation water quality is more critical for nursery and greenhouse crops then vegetables, high tunnel production of vegetables could develop problems, especially over time as the soil does not receive rainfall that would leach out accumulating salts or carbonates.
Water from a well source is more likely to have alkalinity, pH or salt problems then surface sources. A significant concern with surface water is contamination from agricultural practices, especially row crop herbicides.
So what parameters do we want from our irrigation source?
Did you realize some pesticides are negatively effected by water that is high in pH? For example, the Round Up Original Max label says with hard water conditions, that the addition of 1 to 2% dry ammonium sulfate may improve the performance on annual and perennial weeds.
A tip from an MU Specialist in SW Missouri, where the water is 'hard', if you don't have any ammonium sulfate, try substituting household vinegar, at these rates:
Subscribe to receive similar articles sent directly to your inbox!
REVISED: December 2, 2015