||Individuals in the field of agronomy study soil and crop development to help improve farming. Plants and crops need nutrients in order for them to flourish; these nutrients are provided through the soil, sun, and water. In agronomy, fertilizers are tested on different soils to see whether it enhances the crop or boosts crop yield. Soil-tests are conducted to see if the fertilizer is efficient or not. In the article “Rice yield response to potassium”, scientists experimented with “fertilizer K” (because it had potassium) to see whether it would have an effect on rice crops. According to the experiment, the increase of potassium enhanced the crop yield of rice in the 91 sites that they tested the fertilizer at.
Soil and water have provided humans with the ability to produce food through agriculture. Soil affirms to be the foundation of agriculture providing humans to cultivate crops. Soil is frequently referred to as “fertile substance” (meaning the ability of soil to sustain agricultural growth), but not all soils are suitable for growing crops. There are five factors for a distribution of soil components: parent material, time, climate, organisms, and topography (the arrangement of the natural and physical features of an area). Each of these factors individually play a huge role for the sustainability of soil in an agricultural setting. Soil quality and soil health are terms that are used interchangeably, and they refer to a soils ability to sustain plant and animal productivity. In order to have good crop growth, we must have fertile soil. This soil provides nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Organic matter plays a huge role in soil quality and soil fertility. This matter contains plant and animal residues, which contain nutrients that improve soil quality, soil fertility, and soil structure. There are different kinds of soil textures, and it is determined by the amount of sand, silt, and clay present. Finding out the texture of a soil allows you to figure out how well the soil can hold and release water and nutrients. The difference between compost and fertilizer is that compost enhances the soil to create an environment rich in nutrients for the plant while fertilizer feeds the plants directly making it more reliable for fast-growing plants.
||Which soil additive, between compost, fertilizer, or none, best enhances the growth of radish roots?
||Hypothesis: If we add compost to the soil, then the growth of the radish root will be enhanced.
Given the variables we are working with, the possible outcomes include inconclusive results due to poor execution of the experiment, and evidence to show which growth promoter is more effective on the radish plants. Our team predicts that the soil containing compost will enhance the growth of the radish more than the fertilizer and regular soil because compost is made out of organic materials that contain all the nutrients (such as nitrogen and carbon) that the plant needs and the consistency of the compost is sandy.
||Our plan is to have nine radish seeds planted in three different types of soil. Three radish seeds will be planted in soil that contains fertilizer, three will be planted in soil that contains (commercial) compost, and the last three seeds will be planted in regular soil/dirt. The variables that we will keep constant are sunlight, the amount of water given, and the amount of potting soil used. We will measure and observe the growth of the plants. The variables that are being tested are the soil types (independent variable) and the growth of the radish seeds (dependent variable). At the end of the experiment, we will take out each radish from its pot and observe the sizes of the root (radish) to then infer what is more beneficial to the plant for enhanced growth.
Length of project: 4-5 weeks
IV: type of soil
DV: plant growth (height)
Materials: Soil, Commercial Compost, Fertilizer, Plant potters, Radish seeds, Ruler, Water
|Investigation Theme Copy
||High School Students (Grades 9,10,11,12)
||California Academy of Mathematics and Science