A juxtaposition of the effects of natural and chemical fertilizers on Ocimum basilicum

(1) Williamston High School Math and Science Academy

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Fertilizers can act as a lifeline to farms in areas with low nutrient levels or provide a boost to crops in otherwise well-off areas. One of the biggest decisions a farmer has to make when it comes to fertilizing is whether to use chemical or natural fertilizer. In this study, we applied two unique fertilizers of both varieties to Ocimum basilicum (basil) plants to determine which fertilizer best aided plant growth. We grew basil over the course of 40 days in multiple experiments. We recorded measurements of plant height, leaf length, and leaf width three times each week. We originally hypothesized that the plants treated with chemical fertilizers would have better growth in each of the measurement categories than the plants treated with natural fertilizers. There was no significant difference between Miracle-Gro and fish fertilizer for plant height and leaf length, but there was for leaf width. We also found the plants treated with chicken manure to be significantly smaller than those treated with JR Peters in each of the three categories. Results indicated that natural fertilizers provided no apparent benefit to plant growth, while chemical fertilizers performed slightly better but did not result in increased plant growth over no fertilization.

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