Monday, April 7, 2014

The Saving the Planet Experiment Weeks #7-#9

by student blogger Kristin

Hello all and welcome back! I have taken two weeks off between these posts but I am happy to report that this is only for good reason. Like I mentioned in my last post, the taller and healthier the corn grows, the less I have had to worry about it or necessarily take care of it. This is great news for the plants but unfortunate news for any of you that want to read about my growing project on a weekly basis.

That being said, however, I do have some updates for you avid readers!

Week #7: Spring is coming…?

For any of you in the New York area I’m sure you understand when I say it has been a very LONG winter. I don’t think that I have ever seen so much snow!  I felt like a small child again walking around town with the snow banks being taller than me. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun walking around this winter wonderland but unfortunately my plants were not having the same fun that I was.

During week #7, the weather began to change and the first signs of spring began to show. The elongated hours of sunlight and warmer weather immensely benefited my plants. I was even able to open my window for a bit on one day to allow the plants to get some fresh air. They grew taller, stronger, and greener and I noticed that they were using water in the soil more completely. Also, the new drainage technique that I had set up in the planter after moving the plants has been working though there has been no water collecting in my collection dish.

My only concern this week is that the stalks do not seem strong enough to support the rapidly increasing height of the corn. I am afraid that if the stalk does not begin to grow wider as well as taller, I may have some issues with getting the corn to stay standing.

Week #8: Out of Town

Since the plants had been growing at such a consistent rate, I decided to test them out in somewhat real world situation. Ok, so I admit, my going away for the weekend was not solely for the purpose of putting my plants through an experiment. BUT it was another good excuse for a mini vacation.

I was gone from the 21st to the 24th of March meaning that my plants would be alone for a few days. I watered them before leaving on the 21st and left them in the window to get sunlight. If these plants were growing outside, they would of course experience days without rain and would have to learn to adapt. I wished my plants good luck and left them for the weekend.

Upon arriving home, I was a little nervous of what I might find. To my surprise, my plants had grown significantly taller over the weekend! In fact, one plant was just over a foot tall with the other one close behind. It seems from this experiment that my plants have reached a point of stability. However, this week it became apparent that I would not have edible corn in time for our banquet at the end of the semester. I will keep growing the plants though in an attempt to eventually have the corn for myself.

Week #9: In the Shadows

During week #9 my plants are still progressing but now I have started to notice a shift. One of the plants has reached about a foot and a half and is still consistently growing. In fact, this stalk has actually sprouted new stalks from the base, which are also reaching an impressive height.

The other remaining corn stalk however has almost completely stopped growing. It has grown taller throughout the past few weeks but has not grown at the same pace as its counterpart. At first, I thought that this slow growth was nothing more than a natural discrepancy. However, this week it became very apparent that the second corn stalk is falling behind.

I fear that the larger plant has begun to almost “steal” water, sun and nutrients from the smaller plant. Although they are in a large planter, they are somewhat close to each other for their growing size. The only thing that gives me hope is the general health of this stalk. It shows no signs of malnutrition or browning so it seems like it may be fine. In fact, if this were the only plant I had I would think nothing of its height.


I am still debating on my next move with the plants but if the short stalk does not make some progression soon, I may have to rearrange my planter. I will let you know what I decide in my next post! 

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