Exploring Unconventional Growing Methods to Promote Healthy Growth in Common Household Plants: Tagetes patula L. and Lepidium sativum
(1) Fountain Valley High School, Fountain Valley, California
Chemical fertilizers have been used in increasing quantities for household gardening and commercial agriculture worldwide since their advent during the Green Revolution. Such fertilizers have detrimental impacts on the environment, contributing to nutrient runoff and aquatic dead zones. At the same time, water consumption for agricultural needs has
skyrocketed. Alternative growing methods are urgently needed to reduce the impacts of plant cultivation. This study focused on finding more sustainable growing methods that reduce chemical fertilizer or water usage and can be used at the household level for garden plants. We hypothesized that the alternative growing methods would better encourage healthy plant growth as compared to a control. Several marigold (Tagetes patula L.) and garden cress (Lepidium sativum) plants were observed over a 13-week period. Metrics for healthy plant growth were height at first bloom, growing time, and survival rate. The results indicated that the treatments did not have a statistically significant effect on marigold and garden cress growth times in addition to marigold heights. However, the Deep Water Culture (DWC) treatment for garden cress plants significantly increased the height at first bloom compared to the control group. For rates of surviving plants, the treatments had little effect on garden cress, but the Eggshell Grounds, Wick System, and DWC system groups outperformed the control group for marigolds.