Testing the Waters

Have you ever thought to test your garden’s source of water? In these days of increased contamination of our environment, it’s important to test your water for its overall quality and to determine if any dangerous metals and/or pesticides are present. The other piece of data you’ll want to take a look at is the pH of your water supply. City supplied water will most commonly be near to pH 7 however unprocessed water (e.g., well or surface waters) may vary.

if you are wanting to claim that your produce is organic you will be concerned to know if your soil contains undesirable synthetic pesticides or heavy metals. With todays highly sensitive analytical instrumentation it is likely that most tests will come back with trace amounts of just about anything. However, extremely low amounts will be classified as non lethal to humans.

When a honey farmer strives to produce organic honey he or she is concerned about where their bees are collecting pollen and feeding on nectar. The reason being that bees can easily bring toxic compounds back to the hive thus contaminating the honey. However, and based on the studies I reviewed, the level of pesticides found in honey samples were well below the danger threshold for humans.

You can contact a university run laboratory or consult with a private lab to have these type analyses performed on water, soil and/or plant tissue samples. In Central Missouri, two options are Inovatia Laboratories, LLC (Fayette, MO) or University of Missouri’s Soil Laboratory in Columbia, MO.

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