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Name: Brian
Status: student
Age: 15
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 1999-2001 


Question:
I did an expirement in which i tested a fertilizer to see if various levels fertilizer could reverse the effects of poor soil on the early germination of marigold seeds. I was wonder what specificully in Miracle grow causes speeds up the germination process. I hope you get this message because it would really help. Thanks.


Replies:
Brian,

Thanks for your question. I think this is a good area for further experimentation.

My own experimentation would be designed to disprove a claim of "speeding up the germination process" in "early germination". My understanding always has been that stored food in seeds, rather than surrounding chemicals, play the important role in supporting early germination. In a bean seed, for example, the cotyledons supply the fuel for the great spurt of activity in the early germination process. The whole thing, however, begins with water and acceptable temperature levels.

As an experiment I would decide on some measure of speed or amount of germination. I would then plant seeds from the same mixed batch in soil I considered "poor", "average" and "good", with perhaps a separate batch in a lab setting. Each site should have the same aspect (ie facing south or southwest, etc.) and similar availability or provision of water. Seeds planted of equal depth could be withdrawn in 1-day or 2-day intervals to measure germination speed, perhaps by root development, or whether the plant had broken through the soil. Attempting to control each of the variable parameters could demonstrate enhanced or delayed germination in good vs. poor soil. My own suspicion would be in the early stages each soil would produce similar results...that is, the seed germination in early stages would be mostly independent of soil condition. I would agree that subsequent development and growth of the plant would quickly switch gears and be enhanced in soils whose structure and/or nutrient availability would be optimal for the particular plant being discussed. Further experimentation could try to establish, again using controlled similar conditions, any enhancement of the early germination process using miracle grow or some other plant nutrient, vs. no added chemical. You might then, taking all the above measurements, establish at what point you believe the chemical additive begins to promote further plant growth, apart from the early germination process.

A good experiment for the springtime...and the winter is a good time for planning spring projects!

Thanks for using NEWTON!

Ric Rupnik


Possibly helpful:

http://muextension.missouri.edu/xplor/agguides/hort/g06570.htm

http://www.spyker.com/t_replenishing.html

Anthony R. Brach, Ph.D.



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