I'm sure I've read somewhere that you shouldn't use rainwater on seeds & young plants. Rainwater should only be used on plants that have been growing for 3-4 weeks, because they have more of a resistance to 'stuff'.
Or have I dreamt this?
Any advice would be appreciated.
You remembered correctly
It's advised that tap water should be used on seedlings as water stored in waterbutts may have developed some fungal spores etc that new seedlings etc may be susceptible to.
Phew, not going mad!
Dove, at what stage of growth would you suggest I could introduce the rainwater?
I'd wait until they're of a size to plant out individually - when they've stopped being a seedling and started being a plant (does that make sense?) - and then make sure you water the soil and not the leaves.
If I've been careful with emptying the water butts & cleaning them a couple of times a year with a jeyes fluid solution, would you still use rainwater?
I think it would depend on how important the plants were to me and how susceptible to fungal infection they were - for instance I think I'd definitely stick to tap water for my tomato seedlings - I perhaps wouldn't be so anxious about a lot of baby foxgloves.
Was thinking of toms, runner beans, tagetes & cucumbers from seed.
Have ordered geranium, busy lizzies & begonias as small plug plants.
To be honest I'd use tap water for that lot - plug plants seem to be particularly susceptible to botrytis-type infections and of course, tomatoes and cucumbers don't need any excuse to catch fungal infections either.
I would also use tap water for the beans and tagetes until they're planted out.
Very much appreciated Dove.
Will take on board your advice. Have a good weekend
Another point to note is that tap water is cold. Fill some watering cans and let them warm up to room temp before using. Don't want to shock those young seedlings!
I usually put my containers of rain water (not from a butt, but other open containers around) in the greenhouse so they are the same temperature as the seedlings I want to water. I do so dislike tap water for plants, there seem to be so many odd chemical smells about it - we filter all our drinking water since it was 'improved' in this area a few years ago, and we began to get cloudy tea.
Good points made folks, thanks for your input.
Roll on spring...................