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Why Do Garden Water Testing

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Curious why water testing is important in your garden?

When your garden includes ponds and streams, water testing is important for many reasons.

So, consider this: once upon a time, we attended a seminar on retaining and recycling water in rural locations. And in this program, one of the conservationists who spoke made a point of saying (paraphrasing): “There’s no such thing as a clean babbling brook on our rural properties anymore.”

His point was: human development and agriculture have contaminated a lot of the running water on land.

Caring for wildlife is one reason why is water testing important

Native Pacific tree frog transforming from tadpole to frog in our pond.

Runoff is a good example of why garden water testing is important.

Runoff basically refers to something moving from one area to another. And usually it happens in a downhill manner. So, if you garden downhill from others, water is quite likely moving down to your garden from whatever is uphill. In fact, even if you don’t see the water, it’s probably happening deep in the earth below. And that’s where plant roots are growing.


When these bulls live upstream from you, guess what runs downstream?

So if your garden is downhill, from say a livestock field, getting water tested is a good idea. Or if your neighbors above you use a lot of questionable spraying or fertilizing, getting water tests is a good idea. Moreover, if your property has streams or ponds that this water can run into and collect, well, this is why water testing is important.

What could go wrong if your pond has contaminated water?

First, let’s assume you don’t plan to drink that water. Obviously, drinking contaminated water is a bad idea. Actually, drinking any untreated water is a bad idea.

Secondly, if you have pets that might get into the water, they can get sick from it. Not only can a dog get sick drinking contaminated water. But they can also get sick by simply being exposed to it.

Flat Coat Retriever in garden pond

Knowing this pond water isn’t toxic means dogs can play in it safely. 

And what about wildlife?

Many wet areas are habitat for tadpoles, frogs, salamanders, water insects, and other wildlife.  So toxic buildups can impact not only you and your pets, but it can also be problematic for important garden faun.

So how do you test water for toxicity?

Local conservationist understand why is water testing important. And they can help connect you to water testing labs like Edge Analytical.

Labs like Edge can help you choose the best tests to run on your garden water. That way you can set a healthy baseline understanding of your garden water.  So for instance you might begin with basic tests for things like nitrates and fecal coliform.

And certainly there are many other tests you might run as well. For instance, if  your water has a lot of green stuff in it, you might test oxygen levels. That’s because oxygen can be depleted by big water plant or algae blooms. And, when oxygen is depleted by plants, animal life in the pond can suffer.

wondering why water testing is important in a garden?

Looking at the color or clarity of water doesn’t tell the whole story.
Lab water testing can take the mystery out of your water.

2 comments on “Why Do Garden Water Testing

  1. Brooke McAvoy on

    It is interesting that your results were actually pretty healthy. I’m glad that you had your water tested, or you might’ve continued worrying for no reason. This might be a good idea to do for water near me, do you have any tips for contacting someone who can test the water for my community? Thank you for sharing!

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