February 6, 2014

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grade Plant Project?

Would you water your plants with coffee? Is Miracle-Gro best? Will a little vinegar in water kill seedlings? What about bringing in some snow from outside?  These are questions being tested in a mid-winter 5th grade science fair project with some interesting results.  Cilantro and Nasturtium seeds were planted in cups using potting soil with low fertilizer in the mix. The cups were labeled so each plant was only watered with one of the following 6 liquids:Coffee, City Tap Water,  Miracle-Gro plant food,   Water with a small amt. of Vinegar,  Melted Snow,   Mint Tea

 What would you guess would be the first plant to sprout?  After one week, the Nasturtiums sprouted first from the coffee and the vinegar cups. So the plants watered with acidic liquids sprouted first. Would they also grow faster?  The Nasturtiums watered with coffee have stayed ahead of all the other plants, and on the 16th day are the tallest, at 16cm tall. 

 Very surprisingly, the plants watered with plant food have not even sprouted until finally on the 16th day, the cilantro is coming up. We thought maybe we forgot to even plant them. Why would the seeds watered with plant food be the last to grow? Except for the weird plant food cups, all the Nasturtiums have grown much faster than Cilantro, which must be just the way those plants grow.

So on the 16th day, here are the growth results so far: 
Comparing Nasturtiums only- 1st place is coffee, 2nd is city water, 3rd is melted snow, 4th is mint tea, 5th is vinegar water, and last place is plant food.
Comparing Cilantro only- 1st place is vinegar water, 2nd is melted snow, 3rd is coffee, 4th is mint tea, 5th is city water, and last place is plant food.