Various Plant Growing Methods

This topic submitted by James Mercer, Adam Port, Jeff Demurt ( at 5:56 pm on 9/29/00. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Cummins

James Mercer
Adam Port
Jeff Damert
N.S. 3:15 – 5:00

Various Plant Growing Methods

Our group has chosen to stuffy plant growing methods. The purpose of this experiment is to discover the most ideal method for growing plants. Whichever plants show best results, such as size and health, will be considered the best method. We are using bean sprouts as our plant based on availability time limits. Our three methods will be using organically enriched soil, chemically treated soil, and a sample of Miami University’s soil. Within these groups we will vary factors such as amount of water, type of water, and exposure to light. Our hypothesis on a broad scale is that the bean sprouts growing in organic soil will produce the best results. By doing this experiment we will accomplish the following: Gain knowledge in plant growing methods and expose the class to this knowledge. We, as a group were interested in this experiment. We were all curious about which method really is better. Is today’s technology with chemical compounds better than a completely natural, organic approach?
In our we research we found that there is an ample amount of information on the topic of plant growing and that the majority of the information available tends to share the same opinions on how to grow beans the best way possible. One guide taken from Penn State University suggests using a limited amount of nitrogen based fertilizer because nitrogen used in excess amounts can inhibit the fruiting phase in plant life. Another suggestion source taken from the University of Illinois recommended planting the seeds about one inch beneath the surface of the soil, which we plan to do. Also they recommend not soaking the seeds prior to planting them because this can cause them to germinate poorly if the water content is too high. Recommendations taken from the “Farmer’s Almanac” concurred with Penn State’s belief in using limited amounts of nitrogen in the fertilizer. However, it conflicted with the University of Illinois in that they recommend soaking the bean seeds to allow them to germinate on damp paper towels. Due to time constraint we will not be soaking our beans prior to the planting phase. Research has been done on the importance of different amounts of water on a much larger scale. However, many studies have produced conflicting results. So we will be testing water amounts on a weekly basis in order to find what combinations will prove to be the most successful.
Our experiment can easily be put on a larger scale and used in the real world. It can be related to one of the biggest industries in the world that affects every American: farming. We all have and will continue to be supplied with food by America’s farmers. Have you ever given it any thought as to how they grow their plants or what they use to stimulate their growth? Many farmers use ridiculous amounts of chemicals on their plants. They include herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Farmers use these chemicals to boost the production of their crops. While farmers using these chemicals do produce huge amounts of crops that do benefit our economy, they are harming both the environment and us.
The alternative to this commercial form of farming is organic farming. Organic farming is a method that is completely natural. Organic farmers use no chemical fertilizers or pesticides on their plants. For fertilizers, compost or manure is used. Instead of herbicides, weeds are cut by hand. Instead of weakening the soil in which they farm by using excess chemicals, the soil is enriched by the natural fertilizer. This leads to long-term production for a farm.
So which method really is ideal? Sure, commercial farming has been working for years and our country is prospering. There is even an excess of crops every year. It’s also true that organic farming produces less and takes longer. But are you willing to sacrifice quality control and safety for mass production? Would you like to bite into an apple that you know contains no chemicals and was grown completely naturally or an apple that has been sprayed numerous times with chemicals, and now contains those chemicals within it? On an even larger scale, we could look at the effects on our entire planet. Every year our planet is becomes more and more polluted. Why should we be injecting our planet with even more harmful chemicals? What once used to be natural soil is now infested and weakened by chemicals. Trees are weakened, even killed by the spread of these chemicals. Organic farming has the complete opposite affect. It nurtures soil and conserves it for even further use.
Materials and Methods
We propose to plant 576 bean seeds. Over all we will be testing four variables. The plants will be broken down into two soil mediums. One will be chemically treated soil that the greenhouse uses for most of it’s experiments. The other group will be our own mixture of organic topsoil and composted manure. Within these two groups, we will be testing for three other variables. First variable will be the type used to feed the plants. The three different types of water will be tap water, distilled water, and water containing chemical fertilizer. The second variable is the amount of water that the plants are given. The different amounts of water will be 1 cup per flat (24 plants), 2 cups and 3 cups. The third variable is amount of sunlight that the plants will be subjected to. One group will receive ordinary hours of sunlight. The second group will subjected to 25% less light by means of covering the plants with a box. The control group for our experiment will consist of the greenhouse pre-mixed soil, ordinary hours of sunlight, and will be watered using the greenhouse’s chemically treated water.
All of our plants will be grown in plastic flats, which are a grid of twenty-four compartments. We were supplied bean seeds by the greenhouse. The greenhouse also provides all water. For our own soil mixture we have topsoil and composted manure bought at ACE Hardware. Our soil mixture will also contain bat guano, which was also provided by the greenhouse.
We have several different measuring techniques to determine which set up yields the best crop. One technique will be measuring the height of the plants. The second will be to measure the diameter of the plant stem. The third measurement will be to calculate the area of the plant leaves. The last measurement will involve the seedpods as they develop. We will use the arithmetic mean of all plants from a particular group as the figure we record. Measurements will be taken every three days, and recorded on a chart as seen in figure 1. Another way to determine the success of the plants will be to observe them visually for color and signs of disease. These will not be numerical results.
To involve the class in our project, we will ask for volunteers to water and or document the growth of our specimens via digital camera, and checklist. We will continue to grow our plants until we are able to harvest them, at which point, we will allow our fellow students the opportunity to sample the fruits if our labor.

Extra H20 Less H20 Less Light Normal light and water
Greenhouse soil
Chemical H20

Greenhouse soil
Tap H20

Greenhouse soil
Distilled h20

Organic soil
Chemical H20

Organic Soil
Tap H20

Organic soil
Distilled h20

Figure 1

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