Draft 1: Organic vs. Chemical Fertilizer

This topic submitted by Noelle, Tami, Mike, and Dani (Polarist20@netscape.net, Kujanenm@miamioh.edu) at 9:57 pm on 10/4/01. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Cummins

For our first hypothesis, we predict that the chemical fertilizer will
have a more positive benefit to the plant than organic or no
fertilizer, but have a more damaging effect to the environment. For
our second hypothesis, we predict that the chemical fertilizer will
produce a better bean plant. We plan to answer these research
1. Which plant will grow faster? The plant that contains the
chemical fertilizer, organic fertilizer, or no fertilizer.
2. Which plant will die sooner?
3. Which plant will produce more beans?
4. Which plant grows taller?
5. Which plant seems healthier (greener, produces more beans,
healthier leaves)?
6. Which fertilizer is cost effective?
7. Which fertilizer is better at producing food for humans?
8. Which is a fertilizer for farming crops?
We plan to accomplish which plant will be a better producing bean
plant. We also hope to accomplish if chemical fertilizer, organic
fertilizer or no fertilizer is better for the plant. We know we wanted
to do a project that allowed us to use the green house. Tami Boyer,
having worked in landscaping company over the summer, came up with idea
of testing fertilizers. We decided to a research project on
fertilizers because we wanted to find out the damaging effects
fertilizers have on the environment. After deciding to do the project,
we wanted to find out which find our fertilizer would produce and not
have severe damaging effects on the environment.

Relevance Of Research

After scouring the Internet we found that a number of other people have done comparisons between chemical and organic fertilizers; however, most of these comparisons have been done concerning lawn care and personal plant growth. The results from our experiment will hopefully reflect a larger scale of plant growth and cultivation, say in a farming community. Additionally, as on the site www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG5774.html, many of these comparisons do not even give a clear answer as to which type of fertilizer would be more beneficial to the plant and the environment. This site in particular said that the effect of chemical fertilizer on the PH level of the soil was low. However, even if the effect was small it might cause problems in a large agricultural community. A lab group from last year did a different experiment with bean plants. The Bean Daddies, as they were called, experimented with chemical and organic soil and different types of water. Their results showed that organically grown beans are not only healthier and produce more leaves but they require less water. Hopefully, our experiment will prove similar results but with fertilizer instead of soil.

Our project has pertinence, on a potentially global scale, to farming and agricultural efficiency and health. The information that we will gather by the end of the project will prove the effectiveness of a popular chemical fertilizer and a popular organic fertilizer in the healthiness and size of bean plants. We will also learn from the information that we plan to gather the effect that each of these fertilizers will have on the soil and the surrounding environment. Tests on PH levels of the soil will be done in order to test the practicality of reusing the soil many times. This would reveal whether chemical fertilizers or organic fertilizers are more fit for continuous planting in farming communities. Another factor to be taken into account is the effect that the chemicals will have if they run off into water resources and the effect that these chemicals will have on the population that draws from these resources. Whichever fertilizer is better for the environment will mean fewer droughts and a consistency in crop totals. In addition, the overall healthiness and production of plants will have an effect in deciding which fertilizer is better for the environment. These two factors, healthiness of the plant and effect of the fertilizer on the environment, will have a significant bearing on deciding what type of fertilizer will be more effective for use in the ecosystem. However, the results from this lab will only make known the effectiveness of these fertilizers on bean plants. Nevertheless, the results of this experiment could still hold importance in the agricultural community, as beans are a common and significant resource.

Materials and Methods

The experiment will take place inside the greenhouse. A partially shaded spot was selected as the testing location. Three flats containing 24 plants each will be placed in this location. Each flat will contain the same exact kind of beans as well as the same type of potting soil. Each bean plant will be given a number. Flat A will be the control group where no fertilizer will be used. Bean one through 24 will be part of this flat. Flat B will contain chemical fertilizer (plants 25 though 48) while flat C will be exposed to organic fertilizer (plants 49 though 50). Each flat will be watered on a daily base with distilled water. After the plants have been potted a time period of two to three weeks will be allotted before any fertilizer will be added. After this time has passed, equal amounts of the corresponding fertilizer will be administered at the same time to flat B and C. On this day the plants will be observed for the first time. The height, width, health, color, and bean count of each plant will be observed and recorded. The health will be rated on a scale from one to seven; seven being the healthiest, one the weakest. After this point the plants will be visited weekly and the previous observations will be recorded again. This process will continue until a conclusion has been reached and the experiment is complete. At the end of the experiment the pH level of the soil in each flat will be tested to determine the affect the fertilizers had on the soil. This experiment is statistically sound because enough specimens have been planted in order to achieve an accurate result. In addition, the use of control group will enable one to see if the fertilizer is truly having an affect. The class will be involved in the rating of the plants’ health as well as other observations. These observations can be objective and it is good to get various opinions. In addition the class will not be told which flat contains which fertilizer and therefore will be asked to speculate which flat is which forming a hypothesis of their own. As a result, members of the class will hopefully be intrigued and want to view the beans'progress to see if their assumptions were correct. This experiment provides a hands on method way to learn.

Data Sheet

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