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29/03/2012 at 11:20

I have a very large water tank which is, despite the drought, completely full and, now there is to be a hosepipe ban, I will need to use this water.  The water has been collecting since before Christmas.  Can anybody tell me if this water is likely to be okay as it is for use on vegetables and fruit trees?  Is it absolutely necessary that I apply treatments such as Biotal, which I would rather not do?  Or is there a free to prepare and natural solution?

29/03/2012 at 19:59

I would use it, but I don't grow Veg or Fruit. Can't see that it would cause any problems

29/03/2012 at 20:32

Yes it will be alright to use on vegetables and fruit trees as long the water isnt slimy or green , I am using  water out of my water butt, I am also using wate from the washing up and from the bathroom for bushes and flowers. 

30/03/2012 at 10:05

Thanks for the responses, v. useful.  I have got a little green growth/slime on the surface of the water.  Is the use of Biotal or similar the only way to get rid of it?

30/03/2012 at 11:16

When we had the drought in the '70's, we channeled the water from out washing machine and bath into a but and used it for watering the lawn, I suppose it was the soda in the washing powder, the lawn turned a beautiful rich, very deep green and the flowers were fantastic that year.

06/04/2012 at 22:51

I have used water from butts for years although I do tend to empty the butts each winter and get the leaves etc out of the bottom but i've never had a problem when I haven't done it either.

11/08/2013 at 10:50

Hi, I have two waterbutts they are not connected to each other, and both are never in direct sunlight, however, the water in the smaller one of the two, stinks to high heaven after a couple of days, and it has to used quickly. I do clean them out every year and both have light proof lids on. I put charcoal pellets in both, and have used the Hozelock product, which does seem to help a bit, but I don`t really want to put chemicals in the water. Any other advice very welcome, cheers. cresser.

11/08/2013 at 11:00

Firstly, I Waterbutts strongly deny any suggestions that there is anything wrong with MY water.

Secondly, cresser, where does the stinky water come from? Does it drain off a felt roof? I discovered this particularly vile problem when we put a waterbutt under our garage roof (felted) and the pong was something I can remember even now. Weapons of mass destruction? Nothing compared to that.

I tried everything to sort it but in the end had to abandon the idea as nothing worked.

11/08/2013 at 12:36

Hi Waterbutts, I`m sure your water is as pure as the ........... anyway!

The `unsmelly ` water does come off a flat felt garage roof and this is OK, the `smelly` stuff, comes of the house roof tiles, as does the next door neighbours, and they say their water is OK. I actually thought that - perhaps - it might just be the plastic butt itself? as I say, I do clean them both out, and more than once a year if they run out. If I had hair I`d pull it out - ouch. cresser.

11/08/2013 at 12:43

I'd use it but onto the ground rather than directly onto the veg, otherwise I'd have to wash it off.

What I did draw a line at and tipped it out was when a pigeon fell in and drowned. The smell was really bad and I tipped out to start again.

I have told the pigeons it's not safe to sit on the edge and lean down to the water but they don't listen

11/08/2013 at 13:15

Returning to the original post.  We have used water that is two year's old this summer to water the veg.  It has been in the water butts that long as we hardly used any of it last year.  

It is well covered at all times and is perfectly clear and un-smelly.  It comes off a slate roof.

I don't think thirsty plants 'care' where their water comes from. Pond, water butt or tap.

11/08/2013 at 16:53

Welshonion, Hi, how do you manage to keep water so long without a pong?? what sort of butt is it in. cheers, cresser

12/08/2013 at 00:10

All my water is in plastic ex-chemical barrels and ex-fruitjuice concentrate barrels.  None of it smells.  The trick is to keep the lid on at all times. Allowing of course water to flow into them from the drainpipes through water diverters.

16/08/2013 at 18:34

I was wandering around Stratford upon Avon yesterday and found that they had a branch of Lakeland Plastics there. Just my sort of shop. What did I find inside? A product made from silver and copper which you sprinkle into any container of water that requires cleaning up - fish tanks, animal drinking troughs and.....Waterbutts!

I didn't buy one because I don't have the problem but, if you want to order one (Lakeland are a fantastic company and don't sell tat) they cost £5.99 and are called Fresha Tank Water Cleaner sachets. Their ref: 50909. They are out of stock online but will send one from their Windemere headquarters if you get in touch, they say.

17/08/2013 at 12:57


I have both water butts and a 1000ltr tank for water collection,

the first thing i'd say is make sure the butt cover is bird friendly ie if a young bird falls in  ! not only will it die and then smell but your wasting the water,

my water 45 gal butts have a egg cup size drops of olive oil in them as this stops flies from laying eggs etc in the water and works fine,

I think what your doing wrong is not using your water hence its getting stale as any product will if you leave it for long enough.(dont you have an overflow on your butts?)

I like to keep air space around the water and infact i used an old cycle wheel rim (spokes removed) and covered the rim with chicken wire, this lets air in /birds out and i use this rain water on a regular basis.

Now why not use this butt that keeps getting smelly as a fertilizer supply butt,

put comfrey or nettles leaves "in a sack or onion bag (plus a brick to help it all sink) into the filled butt leave for 6 weeks (you will at one stage have a smell but it wont last) and then mix 1 part of the fertilizer mix with 9 parts water,

You'll have one of the best fertilizers for both flowers and fruit/veg you can use and all for free.


ref pulling your hair out if you had any.? Lets hope they change the name from head & shoulders to just "Shoulders" that should make you happy.

17/08/2013 at 13:27
hi iv been using the big blue dairy farmers disinfectant barrels 40 gallon ,cut the top of and leave it sitting on top to stop anything falling in, they never smell and i wash in winter with jeyes fluid as it says on the tin or spray,probs often occur with light coloured plastic they need painting black,im just ordering a new 1000gall but and its a little more expensive to get a black one as they dont green up so much as the others , iv also noticed the farmers here are starting to put these blue butts into the local farm auctions as they are non returnable and fetch about ??12 each but well worth it ,
17/08/2013 at 14:59

Hi Alan that's just what I use.  Cut the top off just under the rim, loosen one of the plugs, reverse the top and water will flow in every time it rains.

08/08/2014 at 17:30

I'm principally using a 1500 underground rainwater tank, taking the entire rainfall flowing off slate roofs. It holds enough for about 3 weeks' watering of all my pots and veg patch (as long as I don't also water the lawn) in an entirely dry spell like last summer. The water is only a couple of feet under ground level but stays tepid all year round.

No problem with scum etc but I do have to clean leaf rubbish out of the tank's internal filter every so often. I'd skim scum off the top of water in an above-ground butt and then use the water on the earth around plants, not the leaves etc.

08/08/2014 at 23:14

When it comes to gardening and forums such as this,

one has to remember the average gardeners are amatures just enjoying gardening for what it is,

I say this because when you think about what we use to grow both food and flowering plants "Manure/compost" etc it's not what we'd call a clean item we're using but a tried and tested way of gardening for many years,

When you look at watering and the collection and time of storage!!!! of water it may be a good idea to look at some of the other items we except as ok inspite of what these growing items contain,

Now ive a very good collection of gardening books dating back many many years and i thought for those who may not know I'd tell you about some of the ways human urine was used for the garden and as a way of keeping us humans healthy,

The victorians used their own saved urine to drink,

it was thought it was a good way to help keep you healthy,

When you think of the human body and how it works the urine is a waste product passing through the body And yet it was deemed in the victorian times as a pick me up.

Again a great use for urine was on the compost heap and the lord of the manor would save his and his staff's urine and instruct the servants to use it on the compost to speed-up the composting,

Urine was also deemed to be a great way of getting rid of "Moles"

Now im not sure how the urine was put into the moles hole's but im sure it was used with great faith that it was a good remedy and one close to hand.

Only this week i was watching an interesting tv talk about whats done to "Bacon to help it last longer and this was by washing it in chemicles that its been proved can and do's cause stomach problems if enough "Bacon "  is eaten,

We really do not know what we are buying or eating hence by growing our own veg and fruits at least you've an idea how its grown and what fresh veg/fruit taste like.


09/08/2014 at 12:26

Ref mike allens reply that water is ok to water the garden with and bugs etc are harmless!!!

I can assure you if this was the case  then water authoraties wouldn't spend a penny more than they have to spend filtering all the water we drink out of the tap

They'd just not bother And make the share holders very happy.

even fresh water stream's can carry all kinds of germs, take for instance if an animal dies up stream starts to rot away and your down stream out of sight of this rotting animal "Do you honestly think the stream water is 100% safe?

And we're talking about a fresh water stream with moving water "Not a butt with months of stored water in it.

Im lucky enough to have a pool and as part of the start to the day i walk over to inspect the pool after an evenings visit's from who knows what and offten i find dead mice etc in the pool,

It wouldn't take very long for these dead mice to have a family of maggots feeding off their dead bodies if i didnt remove them from the pool,

the common fly,/ mosquito etc all carry germs.

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