During this project, you are going to discover whether hydroponic farming (as seen to the left) is faster than traditional methods using soil (in the above photo).
You may think you already know the answer to this question but you may be surprised by what you find.
Experiment Length: 3-6 weeks
- Two standard pots used for planting
- Bean plant seeds
- One bag of potting soil
- 2-4 gallons of distilled water
- Two peat pellets
- Two potting nets for hydroponic growing
(Note : both peat pellets and potting nets should be available at a good local gardening shop and are both quite cheap. A google search on “peat pellets” or “hydroponic potting nets” will also give many examples of where you can get them)
Prepare two of your pots with the potting soil. Plant your bean seeds approximately ¼ to ½ inch below the surface of the soil. You will want to give the plants plenty of sunlight and water. For the best outcome, make sure to keep your plants in the same place throughout the experiment. Moving the plants from one area to another will create inconsistencies and contaminate your results.
Prepare your hydroponic seeds by placing the seeds in a peat pellet and saturating them with water. This will cause them to “puff up”. Make sure the seeds are covered by a little bit of the peat before you “plant” them.
Fill the other two pots with distilled water. Place the hydroponic potting nets over the top of the pot (making sure the water touches the netting). Place the peat pellets (with the seeds inside) on the nets.
Water your soil plants every three to four days, or whenever the soil feels dry. With your hydroponic plants, sprinkle a little water on top of them to prevent the peat pellet from drying out. You will notice as the roots of the plants grown they will drape down into the water. Once this happens sprinkling the peat pellets may be discontinued if you keep the pots full of water.
Now it is time to analyze, and observe. See which plants are growing the fastest. Use the ruler to record the height of the plant as well as the date of all measurements.
Finally, you can conclude, which plant grew the fastest, and which reached the greatest heights. Which method do you think would be the best for growing plants.
If gardening projects or experiments are right up your alley, we’ve got a few more to help you to get growing. How about the Seed Germination Experiment?
To see if strawberry plants (like in the main photo) grow faster or better with dirt or hydroponically, you can set up a similar experiment with actual plants. Set up the test conditions just like you did above with seeds, except this time, you already have roots. Once they grow, here’s a great site with great recipes on how to eat them! (They also have a pretty good section on how to grow them in your garden as well).
As a final note, these will help extend the project: