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Tomato Plants, Nutrition and Growth

By: Keesha Miller, Staesha Pitcher, Ashley de Sa


Abstract
We investigated which nutrients were the most crucial in plant growth.
Young tomato plants were used to test this. Our experiments gave the
plant certain nutrients and took others away. We also had a positive
experiment which allowed the plant to have all of the nutrients, and a
negative experiment which just contained water. Our results showed that
the negative experiment had the greatest effect on plant growth and
health. The negative experiment/ the control experiment was the most
successful but could be due to the accidental over use of nutrients in the
other two experiments.
Introduction
Plants have two different types of transport tissue; the xylem and the
phloem. The xylem transports water and solutes from the roots to the
leaves while the phloem transports food from the leaves to the rest of the
plant.
There are thirteen mineral nutrients that plants require to grow healthily.
The plant absorbs these minerals from the soil using their roots. However
not all soil has all of the nutrients that the plant may require to grow
healthily. This is why farmers tend to use fertilizers to add the nutrients to
the soil. The primary nutrients are phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium.
We chose to provide the plant with the potassium nutrient for our
experiment. Potassium helps in the building of protein, photosynthesis,
fruit quality and reduction of diseases (Plant Nutrients, 2015). Because
potassium plays such a key role in plants we were keen to find out how
important it was to the plants and what effect it would have if it was the
only nutrient provided.
We had to answer the question of which set of nutrients would be most
effective on plant growth and health. In order to do this we had five
experiments. Two of the plants were used for the positive experiment, two
of the plants were used for the experiment containing just the potassium
nutrient, and one plant was used for the negative experiment. Our
independent variable was the types of nutrients that we allowed the
plants to have; whether it be just potassium, all the nutrients, or none at
all. Our dependent variable was the amount that the plant grew and the
overall health of the plant
We hypothesized that if the positive experiment had all the nutrients that
a plant would require then it would be most effective on the plants growth
and health. Even though potassium is one of the key nutrients that a

plant needs, the positive experiment contained all of the nutrients


including potassium. For this reason we thought that it would do the best.
Methods and Materials
To begin our tomato plant experiment we selected five tomato plants,
carefully removed them from their containers and washed the soil off their
roots. After washing the roots off we weighed each plant and recorded
their weights in grams for future reference to observe change. Next we
grabbed three large beakers and placed two plants in each of two jars and
one plant in the remaining jar. We then created two different solutions;
one complete with every nutrient needed for the plant to grow healthily
and the other solution lacking potassium. We filled one plant beaker (with
two plants: Dulche (+) and Carl (+)) with the complete solution (5ml of
1M CaNo3 and KNO3, 2ml of 1M MgSO4, 1ml of KH2PO4, FeNaEDTA and
Microelements and 200 ml of deionized water), one beaker (with two
plants: Big Potatoe (-K) and Spud (-K)) with the solution lacking in
potassium(5ml of 1M CaNo3, 2ml of 1M MgSO4, 1ml of FeNaEDTA, 1ml of
Microelements, 5ml of 1M NaNO3, 1ml of NaH2PO4, and 200 ml of deionized
water) and the last beaker (with only one plant in it: Dave (-)) with

deionized water. We then labeled the beakers respectively, complete,


experimental and positive. We then placed the plants into a nursery and
placed each solution in a cupboard to block sun from it. We then checked
up on our plants every few days to observe changes as well as refill their
beakers if needed.

Results
March 13

Experiment

March 16

Experiment

Positive
Positive

March 20

Experiment

Positive

Negative
Negative

Negative

Weight of Plant vs Time


7
6
5

Spud (exp)
Big Potatoe(exp)
Dulche(+)
Carl(+)
Dave(-)

4
Weight (g)

3
2
1
0
13-Mar

16-Mar

20-Mar

Date of Observation

Appendix

Negative

Date

March13
March 16
March 20

Experiment

Weight (g)
Spud (-K) Big
Potatoe (K)
5.15
5.65
4.25
5.08
3.04
3.96

Dulche
(+)

Carl (+)

Dave (-)

5.16
4.77
3.90

6.17
5.60
5.05

5.81
6.43
6.52

Height vs. Time


30
25
Spud(exp)

20
Height(cm)

Big Potatoe(exp)

15

Dulche(+)

10

Carl(+)

Dave(-)

0
42079

42083
Date of
Observation

Date

March 16
March 20

Height (cm)
Spud (-K) Big
Potatoe (K)
23.3
22.3
21.7
23.3

Dulche (+) Carl (+)

Dave (-)

22.5
23.4

23.1
25.3

16.9
19.6

Discussion
Variables affecting the plant were water, sunlight, worms and fungus and
of course nutrients. Distilled water was used so that there wasnt anything
else within the water like nutrients which could have affected the plants.
The plants were in the same room and were on a shelf, some were further
back than others so they may have had different exposure to sunlight
which would have affected the results. There was a worm that was
spotted on at least one plant, this may have weakened the plant(s) and
produced outcomes that would not have happened otherwise. Similarly a
couple plants had a fungus which like the worm affected the outcomes in
a way that it would not have had the fungus not been present.
We collected data by measuring the plants weight as well as (sometimes)
measuring the plants length. Measuring the weight of the plants showed
to be more effective because there was a larger difference in weight than
there was in length.
An error occurred which significantly impacted the results. The positives
and potassium deprived were in the worst shape. This may be because we
overloaded the plant with too much minerals for the first day. We did this
by only adding the nutrients without adding the water. This overload of
minerals made the positives and the potassium deprived dehydrated. It
did this by breaking the link of water molecules linked together by
cohesion that was sucking the water up the plant. This lead to the plants
becoming dehydrated as seen in the results. The positives and potassium
deprived shrivelled up and lost weight. This is evidence of dehydration.
The negative gained weight, although it did succumb to disease it still
prospered.
To make this experiment more accurate with results several things could
have been done differently. The plants could have been directly under a
lamp (without being on a shelf or anything else that would have blocked
sunlight) giving all the plants equal amounts of sunlight. Another
improvement is that there could have been pesticides used on all the
plants in order for the worms to not effect growth. In addition the plants
could have been given fungicide so the fungus also would not have
affected the plants growth. Finally the plants could be given the correct
amount of nutrients so that they would not have been dehydrated.

Conclusion
Our hypotheses was found to be false with negative excelling and the
positives and potassium deprived dehydrated.

Works Cited
Plant Nutrients. (2015, March 31). Retrieved from ncagr.gov:
http://www.ncagr.gov/cyber/kidswrld/plant/nutrient.htm