WEEK SEVEN

WEEK SEVEN:

I’m going to do this post a little differently. Although I took notes and took a few pictures, I forgot to update the blog before break. Instead of making two separate posts, I am combining the post I was supposed to do before break and the post for today as side-by-side analyses. (Last week’s pictures are on top and this week’s pictures are on the bottom)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Looking back, it does not seem like the plant grew too much, but I think you can really tell the difference in the last two pictures. Our total plant growth is now a foot and some change. Our roots are around a foot and some change as well and I am really happy with our total growth. The leaves are healthy and green and the roots seem to be doubling in size every time I check the system. Our pH level is still a little high, around 6.7, but I am not going to mess with anything because it seems as though it is not having too much of an effect on our plant’s growth. Our water level was very low, which is understandable. We have not been able to check the system for an entire week. I added more solution and checked the temperature, which is 67.5 degrees; a little cooler than what the plant is used to.

Our plant was becoming too large for the system, so we had to harvest. Here are some photos after the harvest:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not bad, huh? And we’ve got two, or so, weeks to go and hopefully we’ll be able to contribute to the potluck at the end of the semester.

-Dustin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEK FIVE

WEEK FIVE:

Before Class:
pH Level: 6.3

After Class (the changes we made to our system, if any):
Growth: total growth is at 7.5″
Water Temperature: 68.3 degrees Fahrenheit
pH Level: 5.8

Here are a few pictures of our plant’s growth:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a photo of our root growth thus far

In this second image, it might be a little hard to see, but some of the leaves do not look as healthy as I had hoped. Some leaves are drooping and are browning. To the best of my knowledge, they seem to be wilting. So I looked up possible solutions to this and here’s what I got, hopefully some of you can help me out with this. (1) Our temperature may be too high. However, I have never measured a temperature of my solution anywhere close to 8o degrees Fahrenheit, which I have read is a dangerous temperature to reach. (2) Some suggest watering with clear water, and backing off the solution a little bit, possibly diluting it. My fear is that the plant will lose valuable nutrients that the solution has to offer. (3) As far as the browning of the leaves goes, the light may be burning it or our solution is too strong… possibly too acidic? Has anyone else in the area of our plant had similar issues with the browning of the leaves? Then I would consider altering the lighting, but if everyone else seems to be doing fine, then the problem may be our solution.

-Dustin

day one of WEEK FOUR

It’s hard to believe it’s been four weeks now since we’ve started this project. I was hoping to see some more growth, but it looks like our plants are doing pretty good.

Measurements and other Notes:
Total Growth of Plant: 5 inches
Temperature: 69.1 degrees
pH: 6.9 at the beginning of class. Towards the end, we adjusted the levels down to 6.3

I tried that little experiment mentioned in my last post and there is definitely something about the nutrient solution that I am not fond of. I don’t know how often liquids change their pH, but when I left the solution alone last Thursday, I was hoping to come back to a solution that measured 6.0 0r 6.1 pH, but instead, it measured 6.6. My only thinking is that when I first put the pH Down chemical in the gallon of water, I was receiving a lower level in pH because I had just put it all in and shook it up. Maybe the pH down chemical settled to the bottom (although I didn’t see any build up)? Maybe it just dissipates throughout the solution?

I’m not sure. We’ll see how our new solution holds up over the weekend. Here’s a few pictures of the growth of our plant from this week. It’s pretty green and looking much healthier than the last time as it now has the nutrients it needs.

day one-two of WEEK THREE: More Growth, but Plant Looks Unhealthy, High pH, Dangerously Low Levels of Nutrient Solution

day one of WEEK TWO:

** It has been a whole seven days since I last checked on the system. Although I was pretty happy to get off school Monday and Tuesday on account of hurricane Sandy, our plant was left to fend for itself. Unfortunately, we have been running into high pH levels and small losses of our nutrient solution, probably because the plant is taking full advantage of those delicious nutrients. Because we were away for a whole week, we couldn’t monitor our plant’s progress. Here is a picture of what we came back to:

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, our plant looks terrible. Although we saw a lot of growth, it does not look healthy. Our nutrient solution was extremely low and was not touching the solution. We do have some roots growing and they were still in the solution, so I think that the plant was still able to get some nutrients, but not enough to maintain healthy growth. Here are some of my findings:

Before Class:
Growth: Plant is now a total of 4″ tall.
Water Temperature: 70.8 degrees Fahrenheit
pH Level: 7.0

After Class (the changes we made to our system, if any):
Growth:
Water Temperature: 70.8 degrees Fahrenheit
pH Level: 6.1

Other Adjustments we made:
Our plant needs more nutrients. Just by looking at it, you can tell that it is not receiving the adequate amount it needs. We lifted the plant up, added more hydroton around the plant, drastically increased the amount of nutrient solution to make sure that there will be enough to last the weekend without fear of our plant using it up, and also, because we moved the plant closer to the top of the yogurt container which houses it, we hope that it will have a little more access to light, so we’ll see if this makes a difference. I know that this is a long shot, but we’re hoping to reverse the damage done by our long absence. Our goal now is no longer focused on the size of our plant’s growth, but making sure that our plant receives adequate light and nutrients to ensure healthy growth.

We are also trying a new experiment with our nutrient solution and our problem with high pH levels. Since the beginning, we have run into very high pH levels around 7.0 or more and we constantly have to add pH Down. Up until now, we have been adding the pH Down chemical directly into the coffee container itself. This time, however, we started a new batch of a nutrient solution and tested the pH level at 6.9 (this is expected because the pH of the tap water we used is around 7.0) and brought the pH levels down of the entire gallon of nutrient solution before we add it to the system itself. In the new batch, we brought the pH down to between 6.0 and 6.1, and my hope is that when I check the pH of our solution on Monday, it will read the same, between 6.0 and 6.1. I have wondered why the pH is fluctuating so much and this is one way I can test to see if the cause is (a) something in the system itself or (b) the way the chemicals in the nutrient solution react to the pH Down chemical. It’s worth a shot, so we’ll see what happens on Monday. For anyone reading this, what has worked well for you? Are you running into the same problem? If not, what plant are you growing and what type of system are you using?

-Dustin