Day Four–an Update

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Here it is Wed., day 4 of the this time through a Fastplant lifecycle.  I planted last Sat. which is not a day that works in a classroom.  I used to plant mostly on Mondays to time out the life cycle so that the students could pollinate their plants on days 14-16.  We’ll see how the timing works out this time.  I have done nothing to the plants or the systems–no water, no fertilizer, and I haven’t moved them.  Here’s what they looked like this afternoon.

 

and a close-up:

 

Note that despite the fine set of lights that I have for growing the plants on the outside edges are leaning in to the middle and they are all ready starting to elongate compared to those growing in the middle of the light system.  If I don’t change anything this could grow into a bit of a problem.  BTW, poor light is a big challenge for many trying to grow Fastplants.   Many folks will try one or two fluorescents or have their plants quite a ways from the light source thinking everything is fine since the plants are growing.  I’ve seen this many times when people first start growing Fastplants.  The plants grew very tall (for a Fastplant) and spindly.  They really don’t look very healthy.  Pay attention to light–it is one of the important lessons that one gets first hand when growing these plants.  There are two ways to adjust for this unequal light in this particular light system.

  1. Move the plant systems around.  This is what would happen in my classroom as students would take their plant chambers back to their desks for observations.  I’d sometimes use questions to get them to ask their own question about how long does it take a Fastplant to change direction.  Other question include what is going on here?  Why do you think they do this.  There is an entire bunch of activities on the Fastplant web site around this phenomenon.
  2. Add foil curtains to the outside of the lights to capture those wayward photons.  It is amazing how much this will change the light intensity under the lights.  Likewise, if you use other growing systems like the milk crate lighting systems be sure to line the interior of the box with foil.  It will help a lot.

I will be thinning these plants in the next day or two down to just two plants per cup.  Why?…..”that sounds like an experiment.”

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