||We have learned a lot about plants after researching growth and germination of seeds. All four of us have had a garden, but only two of us were really involved in planting the seeds. From our home experiences, we have learned about evenly distributing seeds, and how plants wouldn't grow if the seeds were too close together. We have also learned that plants take a long time to grow, and the right time to plant seeds is in the beginning of Spring. All of us have had some experience with planting and gardens, but we didn't really know about the process of germination and growth of seeds until we researched the subjects. We have learned about the steps of germination and vocab words that are related to it (radicle, hypocotyl, cotyledons), but before we did research on specific growth and germination, we learned about Mendel and his experiments with pea plants. We learned about cross-pollination and heredity, and how Mendel learned about dominant traits, recessive traits, and how plants inherit traits. What environments and certain situations that affect the germination process interests us, along with growing plants certain distances away from each other.
||Our question is: will buckwheat, rye grass, or alfalfa tolerate salt water? In other words, how will the exposure of salt water affect the growth of these three types of seeds? We came up with this question by reading articles and brainstorming ideas for what part of the growing process of a seed we could manipulate. We also discovered this question while talking with the class about how some plants live by the coast, and we were wondering how these seeds grow while living by the salt water. The question fits with what we know about the topic because if we manipulate how we water and grow different plants, we will learn more about how plants adapt to changes and tolerate different environments.
||If we were to water buckwheat, rye grass, and alfalfa with different amounts of salt water, the buckwheat will probably grow the best due to its higher tolerance rate for salt unlike the other two. The buckwheat will be a healthy tall plant, unlike the other seeds we will be testing. All the plants will probably be able to handle the first two salt solutions, but the rye grass and alfalfa may not be able to handle the higher concentration of salt in the third. Overall, we think that the buckwheat will be able to handle the salt solutions.
-20 Alfalfa seeds
-20 Buckwheat seeds
-20 Rye Grass seeds
-12 cups of soil
-12 Plastic lids
-3 Hawaiian Punch Bottles
Safety: We need eye protection because we are working with salt, so we should probably put on goggles so we don’t get any salt in our eyes. We also need hand protection because we don’t want to get any oils from our hands on the salt, so another safety precaution would be wearing gloves. We need to use plant safety because we shouldn’t be eating any part of the plants, we shouldn’t pick at the plants, and we need to wash our hands before and after we use the plant.
1. Grab twelve plastic planting pots, with draining holes at the bottom.
2. Put the planting pots in rows 3 rows with 4 cups in each row.
3. Put one cup of soil into each planting pot.
4. Label each row based on the plant your using. The first row should be alfalfa plant. The second row should be wheatgrass, The third row should be buckwheat.
5. In the alfalfa row put 5 alfalfa seeds per cup, in the rye grass row should also have 5 seeds per pot, and the buckwheat row will also have 5 seeds per pot. Put 5 alfalfa seeds each in four pots, put 5 rye grass seeds each in four more pots, and put 5 buckwheat seeds each in the last four pots. When putting the seeds in all of the pots, push the alfalfa seeds and the ryegrass seeds about 1/8 inch downward, and plant the buckwheat seeds ½ inch downward in the pot. After that, cover them in soil. Plant each of the buckwheat seeds in each of the pots 2 inches apart, and each of the alfalfa and ryegrass seeds 1 inch apart.
6. Put plastic lids about the size of a yogurt container underneath each pot to collect all the water drainage when they are watered.
7. Start watering certain plants with the salt mixtures so they can adapt to the salt. None of the plants need an irregular amount of water each day, so water them with 30 milliliters of water each day. Keep a regular watering schedule with three of the pots that have each seed in them (one pot with five alfalfa seeds, another with five rye grass seeds, the last with five buckwheat seeds). For three other ones (again, one pot with five alfalfa seeds, another with five rye grass seeds, the last with five buckwheat seeds), water them each day with the 300 milliliters water/1 gram salt mixture. For another three (One with alfalfa, one with rye grass, one with buckwheat), water them each day with the 300 milliliters water/2 grams salt mixture. And for the last three pots, water them with the 300 milliliters water/3 grams salt mixture each day. Also, make sure to keep track of data in a spreadsheet. Lastly, make sure all of the pots get 24 hours of light each day.
8. Observe them and watch as they grow (or not :D)!
||We thought that the buckwheat plants would grow the best out of all of the seeds, and that they would be healthier and taller than the other sprouts. We found out that more buckwheat seeds grew than the ryegrass and alfalfa, plus they grew the tallest out of the three plants, therefore our hypothesis was correct. Our data shows that more buckwheat seeds sprouted and they grew taller than the other types of plants. This is shown in our data table, and in Annika’s graph. The total number of buckwheat seeds that sprouted was 20 out of 25 seeds. The alfalfa and ryegrass pots both had an equal amount of seeds sprout, each totaling 13 out of 20 seeds sprouted. This shows that 80% of the buckwheat seeds sprouted, and 65% of both the ryegrass and alfalfa grew. Whenever we averaged the height of each of the types of plants, the buckwheat was always a few centimeters ahead of the ryegrass and alfalfa. For example, on April 12, 2019, the buckwheat’s height averaged 13 ⅓ centimeters, while the ryegrass’ was 10 centimeters and the alfalfa was trailing behind with an average height of 1 ⅔ centimeters. We think the buckwheat grew the tallest and the most because it has a higher tolerance rate to salt. We also think the alfalfa grew the most in the beginning but not in the end because the plants couldn’t handle all of the salt towards the end, and we might have overwatered them or they didn’t get enough sun. We also believe that the buckwheat and rye grass started to break and wilt because we touched them while averaging them. Overall, the buckwheat had the most stem elongation. Our group made a lot of mistakes in this project involving watering our plants. One mistake we made was not having a certain amount of water to water each of our plant pots every day. This might have affected our results because I might have over-watered some pots or not watered some enough. This means that we weren't only altering the amount of salt the plants got, but the amount of water, too. In the last week, we started watering each of the pots with 30 milliliters of water each while still keeping the mixtures and which pots we watered with salt the same. Another mistake our group made was watering two of the pots with the wrong mixtures at one point. This might have affected our results because doing that changes the amount of salt the plants were usually getting, which alters the point of the experiment. Lastly, touching the plants while averaging was a further mistake The Super Sprouting Soybeans made. This could affect our plants because if they are weak, they could break easily while being touched. There are many mistakes that could have affected plant growth. Knowing all of these aspects of tending to a plant will help us to know specific details about growing a plant, and maybe how to start a garden in the future. Knowing to give plants the same amount of something we are not purposely altering in our experiment will help our experiments involving plants go much smoother next time. We should now repeat the experiment to test how light affects plants because now we know what to do and what not to do when conducting a plant experiment, and which variables to change and to keep the same. It would also be interesting to compare how plants grow in different environments with different amounts of light. Another idea is changing the plants we use and the amounts of water or salt we use to water those plants. We think this project was a great learning experience to discover different and effective ways to grow plants.
||Middle School Students (grades 6,7,8)