I live in Northwest Florida in a very wooded area. Behind my house about 20 yards in a small creek that runs off of a river. The water is slightly brown due to the trees and leaves in it, but seems clean. It is constantly flowing and doesnt pool or stagnate.
Does anyone have experience using such water sources to start seeds? My thinking is that it would be like rain water and therefore better for the plants.
Should I be concerned about bacteria or fungi in the water? I will not be using the creek water for full time watering becuase it would be to hard to carry large amounts later, but for starting the seeds it seems like giving them every advantage is a good thing.
What a great opportunity for an experiment! That brown is tannic acid, and I have no experience with how highly tannic water will affect seedlings. Could you do half this year, to see how it works?
I would not be concerned about any fungal or bacterial problems relating to plant growth coming from the creek water. Any fungal problems during sprouting can easily happen with house water as with anything else. Air circulation, drainage, and careful watering are the most likely causes of any fungal problems you will have at this time. I don't know about bacterial issues with creek water affecting plant growth, unless you are planning to eat the plants soon, and that creek is contaminated with fecal coliform.
There also might be other contaminants in that water, and some are possibly pre-emegents--herbicides that prevent seeds from germinating. But these can easily come from contaminated soil as well.
Oh, dear. I hope I haven't frightened you! I'd say give it a try, but possibly with only half of what you are starting.
I'm a bit envious that you are thinking about starting seeds this early!
Give me a few minutes while I caffeinate.
A small river flows behind my house, and I used river water last summer to water sapling trees in my back yard. I figure water is water, and the native trees aren't fussy about what they get. The water came with the occasional snail and chunks of algae.