Sunday, March 08, 2009

Rusticalhydroponics And Some Atamasco Lily Division

Junior has switched gears on his science fair project. I had some concerns about him not having enough time on the bridge piling epifauna colonization project. It was a neat idea, but a better warm weather project, since the critters are more abundant then.

So the rusty livestock tank which when new (and not rusty), doubled as backyard swimming pool for my babies, and later as part of my own tilapia backyard aquaculture setup, has once again been pressed into service.

He's doing a low-tech hydroponic experiment now.
Junior cut down a sheet of two inch thick insulating foam so it would float inside the tank. Then, he cut holes in it so that a potted plant will have access to the water below.

Here he is using his Mom's good kitchen knife to make his holes.

His plan is to observe and measure the growth of sweet basil plants and tomato plants. In each case, one of the plants will be hydroponic while the other will be merely sitting atop the raft. Basil will be compared to basil, tomato to tomato.
The tomato variety is "Jellybean".
In the tank are some crawfish and minnows, but we need to add some bigger fish to increase the nutrient load.
Those are potted blue flag iris peeping up out of the water.
I should get some garden plants out of this when the experiment is done, plus I can play with the simple hydroponic setup myself.

Out in the garden I have a 2 gallon planting pot with native Atamasco Lillie's growing in it. This is one tough plant and mine thrives with maximum neglect. I often forget about them. Most of the year they are just small grassy plants and are easy to miss.
Sometimes ... I even remember to water them.

Yesterday, I pulled the whole grassy mess out of the pot to find that they had filled every inch with new bulbs and it was waaaaay past division time.

I teased them apart into nice little clumps like this and then repotted and replanted in several different locations.
The problem with a plant like this when you plant it in the ground and outside of a pot, is you can easily plant something else over it or do some other damage. It's only going to be noticeable when it blooms and then it's really pretty.

I stuck these in the earth near a little mini-waterfolly thing I'm doing.

When (IF) they bloom, I'll update ya.


threecollie said...

What a great science project! And aren't those stock tanks great. We use the rubbermaid ones for everything.

Miz S said...

Always something interesting going on at PFHQ.

Hurricane Teen said...

Sounds like a pretty cool science fair project!
...And you can do with I did with my young datil plants to prevent a lawnmower or similar catastrophe...Mark it with some blaze tape or something that will make them stand out.
Can't wait to see how Junior's experiment goes!

robin andrea said...

How will Jr report his findings? How does he envision presenting the project's data? I love the creativity in these kinds of endeavors.

Freste said...

Great project. This kind of stuff is just amazing and the stuff ya learn is pretty much never fogotten. Now, about that good knife... Sure hope it doesn't end up at the bottom of the lillies for a season.

cndymkr / jean said...

Well you didn't hesitate to throw him under the bus, did you? Bad enough he used the knife, but you took pictures and told the internet. Nice job.

swamp4me said...

Sounds like a fun project -- but he better get that kitchen knife back inside...
I love atamascos! We had them growing wild in the yard years ago when we were stationed at a park in the piedmont region of the state. Good luck with your divisions.

tai haku said...

There's some supercool aquaponics research coming out of aus these days - googling "aquaponics forum" may help Junior immensely.

Floridacracker said...

I love them. I need to get a big rubbermaid one for my own project here at PFHQ.

Miz S,
We just have to tinker ...

I'll keep you posted.

He's measuring them every other day and keeping the data for eventual presentation via 3 panel display at the science fair in April.

and this time he's doing all the work ... unlike his elementary project.

Don't worry, the knife owner hardly ever reads PF!

Down here whole roadsides bloom with them on certain roads. I actually remember some of them blooming atop the gundeck of Fort Pulaski National Monument when I Rangered there.

Thank you!

kathy a. said...

looks like a great project!

my daughter did a science fair experiment growing plants once; it was not such a great experiment, since she was comparing growth of plants watered with water, soda, and milk. she hypothesized that water was best. she failed to hypothesize that the dog would eat the milk-fed plant, and couldn't even produce the expired plant and container physically due to a certain unanticipated stench problem. at least the results had a certain entertainment value.

SophieMae said...

You realize, of course, the laws of nature dictate that this will be the hardly ever time the knife owner reads PF. 8-}

Cool project. I'll be looking forward to progress reports.

Good on ya for cultivating tabasco lilies. They're way up there on my favourites list. I hope they bloom for you.

Dani said...

What a great project! Hope it goes well for him. :)