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Plant Growth Experiment: Corn, Sorghum, Cotton, Green Bean, and Potato

Plant Growth Experiment

Plants play a big role in our everyday lives whether you are at a super market, to the department store, fast food or any restaurant. The clothes you have on more than likely are made of some type of fiber coming from a plant called cotton. You probably have had foods with either corn, potato, or green bean in it or as a side dish. I have also seen sorghum used in cereal and to be able to feed livestock. Corn is used for feeding livestock, human consumption and biofuel. Sorghum is used for feeding livestock, cereal, and renewable fuel resources. Cotton is used to make clothes and the seed is used for additive for livestock feed. Green bean is used for human consumption. Potato is used for human food and also alcoholic beverages.

Corn

Corn scientifically known as Zea Mays, may also be called Indian corn or maize. Is a part of the Gramineae family, also known as the grass family. Corn is a kind of seed, like rice or wheat, that comes originally from a kind of wild grass that grows in Mexico called teosinte. The domesticated crop is one of the most widely distributed of the worlds food crops. Corn is used as a type of livestock feed, human food, biofuel, and as raw material in the agricultural industry. Corn also is used as the major study plant for many academic disciplines such as genetics, physiology, soil fertility and biochemistry. One reference of food lists over 500 different uses for corn canned corn, baby food, hominy, mush, puddings, tamales, and many other foods for human consumption. It is a major food in many parts of the world, corn is inferior to other cereals in nutritional value. It is widely used in Latin American cuisine to make masa, a kind of dough used in foods like tortillas and tamales. Corn is also used to produce ethanol, a first generation liquid biofuel.

Although corn is indigenous to the western hemisphere, its exact birthplace is far less certain. Corn was first domesticated by native peoples in Mexico about 10,000 years ago. Corn is perhaps the most completely domesticated of all field crops. Within a few years, it spread throughout France, Italy, and all of southeastern Europe and northern Africa. By 1575, it was making its way into western China, and had become important in the Philippines and the East Indies. More than 40% of the world’s corn is produced in the United States. The USA Corn Belt consists of the top states of growing corn and that is Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri Eastern Nebraska, and Eastern Kansas. Iowa is normally the leading corn producing state, followed closely by Illinois. Also the best temperature the produces the best growth for corn is around eighty-nine degrees Fahrenheit, and does not grow in any temperature less than fifty degrees Fahrenheit. The base temperature commonly is fifty degrees Fahrenheit.

Sorghum

Sorghum is a very common crop that has multiple purposes. The scientific name for sorghum is Sorghum Bicolor, it is a part of the Gramineae Family also known as the grass family. There are multiple uses for sorghum, but sorghum grain is primarily used for livestock feed and ethanol production, but is becoming popular in the consumer food industry and other emerging markets like renewable resources. Traditionally, nearly one-third of the U.S. sorghum crop is used for renewable fuel production. Sorghum is among the most efficient crops in conversion of solar energy and use of water and is known as a high-energy, drought tolerant crop that is environmentally friendly. Due to sorghum’s wide uses and adaptation, “sorghum is one of the really indispensable crops” required for the survival of humankind (From Jack Harlan, 1971). The livestock industry is one of the longest-standing marketplaces for sorghum in the U.S.  In the livestock industry, sorghum is utilized in feed rations for poultry, beef, dairy and swine. Sorghum is truly a versatile crop that can be grown as a grain, forage or sweet crop.  Sorghum is one of the top five cereal crops in the world.

The origin and early domestication of sorghum took place in Northeastern Africa. Sorghum spread throughout Africa, and along the way, adapted to a wide range of environments from the highlands of Ethiopia to the semi-arid Sahel. Sorghum then spread to India and China and eventually worked its way into Australia. The first known record of sorghum in the United States comes from Ben Franklin in 1757 who wrote about its application in producing brooms. The Sorghum belt is where the most sorghum is grown in the USA, which includes Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Colorado sorghum belt: South Dakota to Southern Texas. Sorghum is primarily grown on dry land acreage, with an average rain fall of twenty inches a growing season. Also the best temperature that produces the best growth for sorghum is around ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit, and does not grow in any temperatures less then fifty-nine degrees Fahrenheit. The base temperature commonly is fifty degrees Fahrenheit.

Cotton

Cotton is the world’s biggest non-food crop. The scientific name for cotton is Gossypium Hirsutum, it is a part of the Malvaceae family also known as hibiscus or mallow family. Cotton is the world’s biggest non-food crop and makes half of the world’s textiles, explosives, oil, cattle feed, and toothpaste. Long cotton fibers are spun into thread for textiles, towelling, paper, banknotes, fishing nets, tents, nappies, wallpaper, bandages, surgical sutures, rope and sheets. Short cotton fibers, or linters, provide cellulose used for dynamite, sausage skins, lino, cellophane, rayon, photographic film, nail polish, moulded plastic and solid fuel rockets, and to thicken ice cream, make chewing gum chewy and allow make-up to flow smoothly. Crushed cotton seed yields a useful vegetable oil and the meal from crushed seeds is used for cattle feed, fish bait and organic fertilizer. The cotton that we use is made from the seed fibres of the plant, which are up to 2.5 inches long and have evolved to help the plant disperse its seeds. It has survived competition from synthetics but at the expense of heavy fertilizer and pesticide use and it’s shocking history of labor exploitation. This elegant, cool popular material has cost more in human misery than its competitors wool, linen and nylon. It was the mainstay of the slave trade and contributed to the American civil war. Today it is the heavy pesticide use necessary to grow this ‘white gold’ that claims lives.

No one knows exactly how old cotton is. The first evidence of cotton use was found in India and Pakistan, and dates from about 6,000 B.C. Arab merchants brought cotton cloth to Europe about 800 A.D. When Columbus discovered America in 1492, he found cotton growing in the Bahama Islands. By 1500, cotton was known generally throughout the world. Cotton was first spun by machinery in England in 1730. The first modern mechanical cotton gin was created by American inventor Eli Whitney in 1793 and patented in 1794. The gin, short for engine, could do the work 10 times faster than by hand. The gin made it possible to supply large quantities of cotton fiber to the fast-growing textile industry. Cotton is grown 17 states stretched across the southern half of the US like Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Teaxs, and Virginia. The temperature that is best for growing cotton and produces the best crop is average eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature that does not let cotton grow is less than fifty degrees Fahrenheit. The common base temperature is sixty degrees Fahrenheit.

Green Bean

It originates from Peru, but it can be found around the world today. The scientific name for the green bean is Phaseolus Vulgaris, it is a part of the Fabaceae also known as legume, pea, or bean family. There are a lot of common names for green bean like common bean, French bean, string bean, snap bean, wax bean, and haricot bean. Green beans are eaten around the world, and marketed canned, frozen, and fresh. Green beans are often steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. This is the third most popular garden plant, after the tomato.

People have cultivating and been eating green beans at least 7000 years. They are all referred to as “common beans,” probably owing to the fact that they all derived from a common bean ancestor that originated in Peru. From there, they spread throughout South and Central America by migrating Indian tribes. They were introduced into Europe around the 16th century by Spanish explorers returning from their voyages to the New World, and subsequently were spread through many other parts of the world by Spanish and Portuguese traders. Today, the largest commercial producers of fresh green beans include Argentina, China, Egypt, France, Indonesia, India, Iraq, Italy, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United States. In the USA the main states that grow green beans are Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Wisconsin. The temperature that is best for them to grow in is eighty degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature that does not allow the plant to grow is average of fifty degrees Fahrenheit. The common base temperature is sixty degrees Fahrenheit.

Potato

Today, potatoes are the fourth largest food crop in the world. The scientific name for a potato is Solanum Tuberosum, it is a part of the Solanaceae family also known as the nightshade family. Potatoes are used for many different things like food for animals and humans, alcoholic beverages, and nutrients for humans. They are an almost complete food, providing all the essential nutrients, with the exception of calcium and vitamins A and D. They are a common source of starch, glucose and dextrin. Potatoes are used to produce alcoholic beverages including vodka and schnapps. The diverse and adaptable tubers are boiled, roasted, baked, fried and steamed as a vegetable to make soups, stews, pies, French fries, potato bread, potato flour, dried potato and other oven-baked dishes.

The Inca Indians in Peru were the first to cultivate potatoes around 8,000 BC to 5,000 B.C. In 1536 Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru, discovered the flavors of the potato, and carried them to Europe. Before the end of the sixteenth century, families of Basque sailors began to cultivate potatoes along the Biscay coast of northern Spain. The first potatoes arrived in North America in 1621. The first permanent North American potato patches were established in New England around 1719, most likely near Londonderry, New Hampshire, by Scotch-Irish immigrants. The major states now that grow potatoes are Idaho, Washington, Wisconsin, Colorado, and North Dakota. The best temperature to grow potatoes in averages sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit, the highest temperature to not be able to grow potatoes is eighty degrees Fahrenheit and lowest is thirty-five degrees Fahrenheit. The common base temperature you want for potatoes is forty-five degrees Fahrenheit.

Introduction

I was a part of Intro to Plant and Soil Science Lab on Thursday at 3:00 pm. The experiment we got was to see if given the responsibility to see how well our plants would grow throughout this semester. The purpose of this experiment is to be able to see and reference the material we go over in lecture and transition it into the lab for a hands on lesson, for example monocot and dicot structure, the different leaves, flowering structures, roots, and stems. My lab partner and I got five different plants corn, sorghum, cotton, green bean, and potato. I expected to see the plants we were given and the plants we got to choose grow and will also by the end of the semester have either tassels on the corn, tassels on the sorghum, flowers for the cotton, little pods for the green bean, and eyes turned into potatoes on the potato. This lab was beneficial to my classmates and I because it has a hands on learning experience for everything we cover in class and taught us responsibility on producing a product of our toil as agriculturists. The main topics we covered this semester was monocot and dicot plant structure as in: roots, leaves, steams, and flowering if any; how plants need water, air, sunlight, fertilizer, the right nutrients, and the right soil make up. My hypothesis is, throughout this semester that we will keep up with our watering schedule and that the plants will live and either have tassels, tassels, flowers, pods, or little potatoes by the end of the semester.

Methods and Materials

The protocol used for this experiment was to plant the seeds given and the seeds we selected, grow them and observe the plants growth throughout the semester. The materials used for this experiment were black plastic flower pots, potting soil, paper towels, a ruler, and the seeds given and the cut potato. My lab partner and I planted corn with a variety number of- P1319 VyHR at 1 ½ inches in depth in the soil, sorghum with a variety number of- mmR 381/73 at 1 ½ inches in depth in the soil, cotton with a variety number of- PHy 499 at 1 ½ inches in depth, regular garden green bean at 1 ½ inches in depth, and a regular cut up potato at 1 ½ inches in depth. One flower pot went to each plant and in each flower pot we planted three seeds of each in the pots of corn, sorghum, cotton, and green bean. The significance for planting three seeds per pot was to make sure that my lab partner and I would have a higher percentage of germination, because in case if one or two seeds didn’t germinate we would still have one or two seeds to be able to observe their growth throughout the semester. The potting soil was simulated to be the soil that the plants would normally be planted in, minus the specific nutrients that the potting soil is lacking for the plants to grow, but that is where fertilizer would be coming into the mix later in the semester.

Observations

The first and second week week of growth everything was green and healthy, the corn and green beans were the quickest to grow. We planted the potato a week after everything else by its first week it had small root growth. Then, on the third week corn took off and doubled in height, everything healthy and green. Cotton and green beans gained their first internodes. The potato had a lot more root growth. During week four and five sorghum had a growth spurt, with more growth from the corn, and potato grew two little stems. During the fifth week it was my lab partners turn to water and he forgot to water that week so all the plants where looking a little droopy and were at a light green color almost a little yellow. We decided to fertilize and used Osmocot with 14-14-14. By the sixth week plants were looking a lot better, green in color, and went up a couple inches in height. During week seven, one of the three green beans died and the other two looking a little yellow in color. The potato has two stems present, all plants have some growth added to them, and we used Miracle Gro fertilizer to help the plants get an extra boost. On week 8 all the plants stayed the same showing minimal growth, but healthy with green color. The final stretch week nine corn finally grew tassels and by week ten the tassels doubled in length. In conclusion for week ten the potato has 3 little golf ball sized potatoes, and all plants are healthy and green.

Results

Corn

Three seeds of corn were planted on September 8th of 2016. The seeds were planted with 1 ½ inch depth into the soil. The corn broke through the soil during the first week of growing, had all three seeds germinate and hit a height of 7 inches. By week two the three corns were all at the 3rd ring stage, week three doubled in height to an average of 17 inches and at the 5th ring stage. In week four the corns went from rings to leaf stages and was at the 5th leaf stage, with an average height of 29 inches. During week five my lab partner didn’t water the whole week and we decided to fertilize with Osmocot 14-14-14. By week seven everything was looking steady but the plants were not growing and looking yellowish in color. Due to our seventh week outcome we decided to fertilize with Miracle Gro. In week nine was the first sign of tassels on the corns with an average length of 5 ½ inches. During the last week
(week ten) the tassels doubled in size with an average of 9 ¾ inches and a final height average of 51 ¼ inches. The graph below is of the corns height each week, the three corn stalks were averaged out onto one graph.

Sorghum

Three seeds of sorghum were planted on September 8th of 2016. The seeds were planted 1 ½ inch depth into the soil. The sorghum broke through the soil during the first week of growing, only two seed germinated out of the three that were planted, and hit the height of 4 ¼ inches of the first week. By the second week the average doubled to 8 inches and hit the 2nd ring stage. Week three sorghum hit the 4th ring stage. By the fifth week my lab partner forgot to water and the sorghum plants looked a little droopy and light green in color so we decided to fertilize it with Osmocot 14-14-14. Week seven came around and everything was looking great but the plants where still light green in color, so we decided to fertilize with Miracle Gro. Around week nine the average height of the two sorghum plants were 45 ¾ inches. The final week, week ten the average height was 42 ½ inches. The graph below is of the sorghum stalks height each week, the two sorghum stalks were averaged out onto one graph.

Cotton

Three seeds of cotton were planted on September 8th of 2016. The seeds were planted 1 ½ inch depth into the soil. The cotton broke through the soil during the first week of growing, only two seeds germinated from the three sends planted, and hit an average height of 3 1/2 inches the first week. By week two cotton hit its first leaf stage at an average height of 5 inches. By the third week the cottons got their first inter nodes average length at 2 inches, with an average height of 7 ¾ inches, and was at the second leaf stage. On week five my lab partner forgot to water and the cotton was yellowish in color so we decided to fertilize with Osmocot 14-14-14. By week seven cotton was shrinking in height so we decided to fertilize with Miracle Gro. Week eight the average height was at 16 inches and the average inter node height was 2 ¾ inches. By week ten the average height was at 20 ¼ inches and the average inter node was at 6 inches. The graph below is of the cottons height each week, the two cottons were averaged out onto one graph.

Green Bean

Three seeds of green bean were planted on September 8th of 2016. The seeds were planted 1 ½ inch depth into the soil. The green bean broke through the soil during the first week of growing, all the seeds germinated, and hit the height of 5 ½ inches of the first week of growing. By the second week the green bean doubled in height an averaged at 10 inches, also had its first inter nodes averaging at 2 inches, and hit its second leaf stage. By week four green bean was at an average height of 14 ¼ inches and inter nodes averaged at 2 ¼ inches. Week five my lab partner forgot to water so the green beans were light green in color and really droopy so we decided to fertilize with Osmocot 14-14-14 and by week 6 the where heathy again. Week seven one of the three green beans died so we went down to only two green beans, we decide to fertilize with Miracle Gro. By week ten they green beans were healthy, green in color, average height was 15 ½ inches and inter node average was 2 ½ inches. The graph below is of the green beans height each week, the three green beans were averaged out onto one graph.

Potato

The cut potato was planted on September 15th of 2016. The potato was planted 1 ½ inches in depth into the soil. The potato never broke the soil till week three, but had a lot of root growth during the first three weeks. By week four there were two stems present coming from the potato averaging height at 6 inches. Also during week four of the potato we fertilized it with Osmocot 14-14-14. It grew very well, by week six the two stems averaged at 14 ½ inches and it was looking a little droopy so we decided to fertilize with Miracle Gro. Week eight for the potato it hit an average height of 20 ½ inches. By the last week we pulled up the potato and there were 3 golf ball sized potatoes on the cut potato we planted. The graph below is of the potato height each week, the cut potato ‘s two stems were averaged out onto one graph.

Discussion

It was expected to see either tassels on the corn, tassels on the sorghum, flowers on the cotton, pods of the green beans, and little potatoes on the cut potato by the time the end of this 12– week long experiment, but by the end of the experiment only corn had tassels, 3 little potatoes on the potato, and one of my green beans died. Throughout the experiment I saw all the plants go through the ups and downs of not being watered to the day after being fertilized. My hypothesis was, if my lab partner and I water at least three to four times a week and fertilized if needed our plants will grow and make it through the semester. I was wrong because my lab partner and I didn’t communicate as much as I thought we would have to be able to water our plants and to take the responsibility of them. I would have made sure that my lab partner and I communicated better to be able to make it easier to go watering and know the responsibility in nursing our plants. I learned that it’s not just water, air, and sunlight to grow a plant. New knowledge I have gained from this experiment is growing plants is a lot more work than I thought it was going to be at the beginning.

Work cited

  • “Origin, History, and Uses of Corn (Zea Mays).” Origin, History and Uses of Corn, agron-www.agron.iastate.edu/Courses/agron212/readings/corn_history.htm.
  • www.sorhumcheckoff.com/all-about-sorghum.
  • “The Story of Cotton- History of Cotton.” The Story of Cotton- History of Cotton, www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/.
  • “Potato History | The History of Potatoes | Potato Fun Facts.” Potatoes USA, www.potatogoodness.com/potato-fun-facts-history/.
  • @NewsfromScience. “The Secret History of the Potato.” Science | AAAS, 11 July 2013, www.sciencemag.org/news/2007/05/secret-history-potato.
  • “Corn.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online, Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com/plant/corn-plant.
  • History of Cotton and Its Place in American History.” CottonAcres, www.cottonacres.com/history-of-cotton/.
  • Gmbh, Ch-siebnen gs graphic-studio. “Seite Nicht Gefunden.” Organic Cotton – Seite Nicht Gefunden, organiccotton.org/oc/Cotton-general/World-maeket/History-of-cotton.php.
  • “Cotton.” Cotton, Gossypium Hirsutum, Plant Facts – Eden Project, www.edenproject.com/learn/for-everyone/plant-profiles/cotton.
  • “Green Bean.” Green Bean – Phadia – Setting the Standard – Phadia.com, www.phadia.com/en/Products/Allergy-testing-products/ImmunoCAP-Allergen-Information/Food-of-Plant-Origin/Legumes/Green-bean-/.
  • “Growing Green Beans, Planting Green Beans.” Grow It Organically, www.grow-it-organically.com/growing-green-beans.html.
  • “Kew Science.” Science and Conservation | Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, www.kew.org/science-conservation/plants-fungi-solanum-tuberosum-potato.
  • “Green Beans.” Green Beans, www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=134.
  • “HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF POTATOES.” Potatoes, Their Early Origin &Amp; History, www.foodreference.com/html/a-pot-hist0607.html.


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