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Wednesday, January 19 • 6:30pm - 8:30pm
What is the best percentage of Nitrates, Phosphate, and Potassium that optimizes the growth of lettuce in a hydroponic solution?

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Factory farms produce over 200 million pounds of waste each year, more than half of which cannot be recycled. Because of this more than eight American companies are beginning to use hydroponic methods to grow plants instead of factory farms. Hydroponics is defined as “a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil”. Hydroponic solutions are primarily made from a combination of phosphate, nitrate, and potassium (along with other chemicals such as calcium, magnesium, sulfur, zinc, boron, copper, and iron which are present in lower concentrations). Plants grown in hydroponic solutions are tomatoes, lettuce, various beans, as well as strawberries and other vegetables. Lettuce, in particular, grows best in a slightly acidic pH of 6.5. Hydroponics has been around since the nineteenth century but has only become a commonly used growing method in the recent decades. Because the hydroponic method of growing plants works without soil, it can be more easily transported and sanitized than soil utilizing methods. This experiment strives to test the effectiveness of inexpensive “home-made” hydroponic solutions when compared to the leading brand on the market. Five test solutions will be used to grow lettuce. Two of the test solutions will be made with organic food while the other three will be made with lab chemicals.



Wednesday January 19, 2011 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Glass Oaks Main Floor - Side Wing