Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday, May 29 - The last post

This photograph was taken May 24th. Later that day I transplanted the tomato plants into large pots. I was going to continue this experiment, but it immediately became clear that I do not have the resources to boil enough water in a microwave to keep these plants properly nourished. Tomato plants, as they get larger (and, of course, they get very large) require a lot of nutrients, and a lot of water.

The plants in the photograph are the largest from each grouping - microwave-boiled water, tap water, kettle-boiled water. They have all been sprouted from seed. To this point I can see no evidence that treating water in a microwave oven has had any negative effect on these plants. This is also a conclusion we would have to reach after viewing the previous experiments, detailed below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

May 19, 2009

The tomato plants are now 38 days old.

As you can see, they all seem to be doing well (except of course that third pot from the left, where nothing sprouted).

They are ready to be re-potted - and are eager to be put outside, on the balcony. First I shall need to buy large pots. Second, I have to find a way to prevent the wind - which can be fierce on the 14th (top) floor of this apartment building - from blowing them over.

And, gee whiz, I might have to find a way to boil larger quantities of water in the microwave oven!

Monday, May 4, 2009

May 4, 2009 - Eight days later

It is not very clear in this photograph, but the pot on the left still has three plants in it. Since the previous photograph, one more tomato plant has sprouted in a pot watered with tap water (T) - the fourth from the right - but still no growth in one pot.

All the tomato plants are doing well. At this point I can see no reason to assume that plants fed water boiled in a microwave are doing any worse - or better - than the plants fed either water that has been boiled in an electric kettle or water straight from the tap.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26, 2009 - The start of a new test

Well, that last test did not turn out as I hoped. The seedlings' roots became entwined with the paper towels - extracting them proved too traumatic. One survives, and that is still growing well, in a large pot.

This time, there are three groups:
M = plants fed tap water that has been boiled in a microwave oven
T = plants fed untreated tap water
K = plants fed tap water that has been boiled in an electric kettle

I bought packaged seeds - Bonny Best tomatoes - from the local grocery store. In each pot I planted three seeds, assuming that of the three at least one would germinate.

As you can see in the photograph above, taken a few minutes ago (that is, on April 26th) I was wrong. One Tap Water pot grew nothing; the other grew only one plant. The Microwave pot on the left was the first to show growth, and three germinated there. One of the Kettle pots grew two plants. (Clicking on the photo should generate a larger image.)

When the seedlings grow a little more I shall thin them out, so each pot holds a single tomato plant.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

End of the experiment - start of another

Unfortunately I have to report that the tomato plants did not survive being transplanted into soil. Removing them from the paper towel was too damaging. One of the six plants survived the ordeal - one from the kettle group.

I have restarted the test. This time I have planted seeds directly into plant pots. I have planted three tomato seeds per pot, I have used six pots, and this time divided them into three groups - seeds that are being fed water boiled in a microwave oven, seeds being fed water boiled in an electric kettle, and seeds being fed ordinary tap water.

I expect I shall have some photographs in about a week. I planted the seeds on April 12th, and already a couple are breaking through the soil.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

April 5, 2009 - Just before replanting

I removed these seedlings this afternoon, and transferred them to pots with soil. I took this photograph a few hour before that. I was a little surprised to note that the tomato plants that had been fed water boiled in a microwave oven seemed a little less sturdy than did those that had been fed water boiled in an electric kettle. All the plants looked stressed, though - as if they were in need of more nutrition than plain water could provide.

Now six of the plants - three from each group - have been planted in small pots with potting soil. It was a delicate procedure - the seedlings are frail, and the roots had grown into the paper towel. The soil, of course, was saturated with water either boiled in a microwave oven, or boiled in an electric kettle. All the pots have been labeled with M (Microwave) or K (Kettle).

Perhaps next week I shall have some more photographs to show you.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009 - Two weeks into the experiment

The plants will be climbing above the paper towels anytime now. It won't be long before they are ready to be planted.

A close-up of the tomato plants in the microwave-boiled water.

A close-up of the tomato plants in the kettle-boiled water.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Two days later - March 24, 2009

Two days have passed, and already the 
seeds are sprouting greenery.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One week later - March 22, 2009

For the past week these two glasses have sat side-by-side on my bookshelf, they have been watered at the same times, and as you can see roots have started to extend downwards from the seeds. I have been careful to alternate their position relative to each other, to ensure the seeds don't benefit from an unnoticed advantage of the light. At this point, even with a magnifying glass, I can see nothing to suggest that the seeds on the left have been affected by being fed exclusively water that has been boiled in a microwave oven - in fact, on close inspection one sees that the roots on the left are a little longer.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Start of a new test - March 15, 2009

I've been planning, for some weeks, on carrying out another test, comparing microwave heated water with water boiled in a kettle. I started by using grapefruit seeds; although all were taken from the same grapefruit, the sample was too small (four seeds in total) to allow for normal fluctuations in sprouting times.

So, yesterday we were at the hardware store and I bought a package of tomato seeds - and, as we live in an apartment, I chose patio tomatoes. I "planted" them today between glass and paper towels, six seeds per glass. In the container labeled "M" I am putting water that was boiled in our microwave oven. The one labeled "K" uses water boiled in our electric kettle. The water is at room temperature, of course, and is stored in glass containers. The paper towels absorb the water from the bottom of the glass, and so the seeds are being kept moist.

Over the next few weeks I shall periodiodically add new photographs so you can follow the progress of this little test.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The first experiment (from 2007)

A couple of years ago I became intrigued by the discussion about the harmful health effects of microwaved food. I kept hearing stories of tests wherein plants that were fed water that was microwaved to boiling temperature and then cooled did not survive.

It's easy to find references to this on the web, so I shall keep my little contribution to this discussion very brief.

In July of 2007 I was visiting a local farmers market and noticed two very similar potted flowers. I decided then to run a little experiment of my own. I brought them home and set them on the balcony, side by side. On a shelf inside I kept two identical containers. One I filled with tap water that had been boiled in an electric kettle and then cooled. The other I filled with tap water that had been microwaved to boiling point and then cooled.

One plant I labeled "E.K. Water" - that is, Electric Kettle Water. The other I labeled "M.W. Water." Each plant was watered at the same time, until the water started to flow from the bottom of the pot. They were given no other food.

Here is a photograph of the two plants the day after I brought them home. In all these photographs the plant that was fed microwaved water is on the right.

That photograph was taken July 13th, 2007. On July 22nd I repotted the plants, and photographed them the next day. One's immediate impression might be that the plant on the right, the one fed microwaved water, was not doing as well. This is because the new buds have not opened - on a closer look you will see that the foliage looks healthy. Here is the photograph taken on July 23rd, 2007.

The experiment continued until August 15th, 2007. Only a month. At that time we went on vacation. The person who was to keep the plants watered did not do a very good job, and both were bone dry when we returned. However you can see from the next photograph that both plants looked vibrant the day before we left.

Granted, this is not much of an experiment. It does show, though, that feeding a plant microwaved water for a month will not kill it.