Abstract Experiments were carried out to examine and study the effects of optimal growth for tomato plants

Abstract

Experiments were carried out to examine and study the effects of optimal growth for tomato plants. Three organic fertilizers were used during this experiment; coffee, egg shells and banana peels. Seedlings were already sprouting to start. One plant was fertilized with coffee grounds. One plant was fertilized with egg shells, one plant was fertilized with dried banana peels and one plant was not fertilized. All were watered daily, each week the height of each plant was recorded. Flowers began to appear in week 5 followed by green tomatoes in weeks 7 and 8. At the end of the experiment, it was clear that each fertilizer assisted in the growth of the plants, while the plant without fertilizer did not flourish.

Introduction

The purpose of this experiment is to measure growth of tomato plants using three separate organic fertilizers. In the peer review article titled Performance of Different Tomato Cultivars under Organic and Inorganic Regimes, it was stated; “Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) belongs to the family Solana-ceae. All tomato varieties in Europe and Asia descend from seeds, taken from Latin America to Europe and Asia by Spanish and Portuguese merchants during the 16th century. Cultivation of tomato started in Italy and Spain and spread to northern Europe and then back to Northern America” (p. 245).
The variety I chose to examine were Sun Gold tomatoes that mature and produce fruit within 57-60 days. They are fruity, sweet and orange in color. Depending on the temperature, these plants will grow well into the fall. Tomato plants require certain minerals and warm sunny climate for their development stage. Three minerals that were focused on in this experiment are potassium, nitrogen and calcium. Bananas contain potassium producing healthier plants, more blossoms and brighter healthier leaves. Potassium is vital for fruit growth. When lacking, fruiting plants are unproductive and older leaves will turn brown. Coffee grounds are a good source of nitrogen which increase the PH in the soil. Nitrogen is essential for plant cell growth and chlorophyll. Lacking nitrogen results in slow or spindly growth and leaves look yellow. Egg shells not only add calcium to the soil, it deters slugs and snails from taking over the plants. Lack of calcium will cause the leaves to lack color and is often a problem in acidic soil callusing blossom end rot. In order to grow successful plants, Tomato plants must have certain essential nutrients to ensure healthy plants. In the journal Agrivita, titled; Applications of Potassium Fertilizer and Bio pesticide for increasing Tomato Resistance to Bacterial Wilt Disease stated; “Potassium fertilizer treatments could enhance the tomato resistance to the bacterial wilt disease. The potassium is capable to increase the resistance by strengthening stem tissues and as a catalisator of some chemical reactions in plants. Potassium is useful as catalisator, particularly in protein alteration to b amino acid” (p. 13).
Hypothesis: organic fertilizer added to the soil of tomato plants, will grow and flourish in comparison to a plant without fertilizer. I will hypothesis the plant that is fertilized with the coffee grounds will produce the optimal fruit.
Method

I started with tomato plants that had already been germinated and the seedling had sprouted to about three inches. The first day of the experiment, the plants were transferred to larger pots containing soil from the garden store. Teepee trellises were added to assist the plant as it grew. The organic fertilizer was prepared. Egg shells that were saved and dried were grinded up to a fine mulch and stored in a container. The banana peels had been drying for a few days. They were crushed in to smaller pieces and stored in a container. The coffee grinds I would collect each morning after the coffee was brewed on the day that I would need it. Each plant had assigned fertilizer added to the soil, watered and put in a location that had the most sunlight. Every couple of weeks, I added additional fertilizer. I also recorded the height and color of the leaves and whether or not the plants were at the flowering stage on a weekly basis.
Materials:
• 4 newly started tomato plants of the same variety
• Gardner’s Supply Organic Potting Mix
• 4 large plastic containers to replant tomato plants
• 4 teepee trellises
• Finely ground egg shells
• Blender (to grind egg shells)
• Coffee grounds
• Dried banana peels crushed
• Garden Trowel
• Water can

Results
The experiment process was to see how each tomato plant responded to different organic fertilizers. The observation went for seven weeks and the results were varied. Plant leaves changed in quantity and quality from the beginning of the observation to the current observation. It was noticeable that one particular plant thrived better than the others. The plant without fertilizer was not as abundant in leaves or height.
Recorded information:
Fertilizer Benefit in mg Week Height Flowers / Fruit
Banana Peel Potassium – 78.00 1 6 Few leaves
Calcium – 19.20 2 7 1/2
Sodium 24.30 3 8 1/4 More leaves sprouting
Iron – 0.61 4 9 3/4
Manganese- 76.20 5 10 1/4
Bromine – 0.04 6 12 Large amount of leaves
Rubidium – 0.21 7 15 Many Flowers
Zirconium – 0.02
Niobium – 0.02

Egg Shells Calcium – 900.00 1 6 Few leaves
Magnesium – 24.0 2 7
Phosphorus – 8.4 3 7 3/4 More leaves sprouting
Potassium – 8.0 4 8
Sodium – 9.0 5 9 1/2 Large amount of leaves
6 10
7 12 Some Flowers

Coffee Grounds Calcium – 4.7 1 6 Few leaves
Magnesium – 7.1 2 7
Phosphorus – 7.1 3 7 3/4 More leaves sprouting
Potassium – 116.0 4 8
Sodium – 4.7 5 9 1/2 Large amount of leaves
Manganese – 0.1 6 10
7 12 Some Flowers

No Fertilizer 1 6 Few leaves
2 7
3 7 1/2 More but not as many leaves sprouting
4 8
5 8 3/4 More leaves sprouting
6 9
7 10 No Flowers

Discussion

The plant with the banana peels were taller and had brighter leaves. It also produced more flowers indicating there will be more fruit. The plant with coffee grounds and egg shells were similar in height and appearance and produced some flowers. The plant without fertilizer did not grow as well and still have not produced flowers. My hypothesis stating that the plant fertilized with coffee ground was disproved. The plant that did the best was the plant with the dried banana peels that added potassium to the soil. The plant that came in second was the plant with egg shells adding calcium to the soil. The plants with coffee grounds did boost the nitrogen in the soil but there was little difference in the plant compared to the plant with egg shells as fertilizer. It is probable that combined fertilizer having the nutrients needed for tomato plants would generate larger healthier plants.

Conclusion

After seven weeks of observation, it was concluded that organic fertilizer added to the soil will assist in producing better tomato plants than without added organic fertilizer. However, my hypothesis that the plant with coffee grounds would produce the optimal fruit was disproved. Though this plant did grow better than the plant without fertilizer, the plant with the dried banana peels produced a better plant. The results and observation that was collected from this experiment taught me that there is a need for certain minerals to assist in the growth. Chemical fertilizers are not necessary and can be replaced with organic matter that produce minerals needed.