I shared in my post about toilet paper roll seed starters that I like to sprout my seeds by dechlorinating water and mixing it with a high-quality organic germinating mix to give my little seedlings the highest chance of survival. That was met with a resounding, “Dechlorinating water? What now?” from a few readers, who reached out with questions about the process.
So here's the thing. Awhile back, our government decided to start adding chlorine to our drinking water to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. Don't even get me started on the fact that we're drinking chlorine on a daily basis. That's a whole other post for a different day. The point is: chlorine, even at very low levels, is toxic to plants. Duh. And most home filters don't remove chlorine. I found this out when I was having trouble sprouting some seeds in my windowsill. I hopped on over to a gardening forum and questioned what the heck I could be doing wrong, when someone brought up the dechlorinating water thing and walked me through the process. So I took care to use dechlorinated water in my next seed batch and in my bi-daily plant watering sessions. Problem solved. I've now become obsessive about dechlorinating water, using water that's been through this process exclusively for all my seeds. I've had much greater success since making that one tiny little change.
Dechlorinating Water: How to do it
The process is remarkably simple. Just fill a large bucket or wide-mouth jar with filtered tap water and let sit overnight. The chlorine will naturally evaporate. Then, mix this water with germinating soil or put it in a spray bottle to water your seedlings. Don't let it sit too long, or it can become contaminated with stuff floating around in the air. Just a heads-up: on the off chance that your city happens to use chloramine instead of chlorine to treat your water, this method won't work. You can tell by either contacting your local water treatment center and asking if they use chloramine, or tasting the water after it's been left out. If it still tastes chlorinated, this method unfortunately won't work for you, and your best bet is to buy bottled spring water at the grocery store.
Voila. Healthier plants overnight! If you liked this dechlorinating water tip, go check out Composting 101!