Monday, November 15, 2010

Wheatgrass Kitty

Can we talk about these spoiled cats?  I've grown them their own wheatgrass from Thompson and Morgan seedSpoiled! (Especially Lan Lan, featured here). But, I have to tell the truth, I had an ulterior motive.

My seedling skills range from nonexistent to weak.  Last summer, "Operation Night Phlox" was an abject failure, and damping off is standard operating procedure.  Don't get me wrong.  I can kill big plants, too, but horticultural infanticide is my specialty.

Maybe it's my soil?  Lan Lan and I decided to harness wheatgrass's fast germination speed to teach us something about soil.  As an added bonus, the kitties love to nibble on the grass.

I used measuring spoons to divide the seeds into four equal groups.  I planted them at the same time, with the same watering, and with the same sun exposure.  I used four different soils:
a. Pure Soil -- 1 part vermiculite, 1 part perlite, 1 part peat moss
b. Premium Soil -- 1 part Pure Soil, 1 part MiracleGro regular potting mix
c. MiracleGro Regular
d. MiracleGro Moisture Control  

Lan Lan and I evaluated the data carefully and considered various explanations for the results.  Regular MiracleGro  was the weakest performer in terms of grass output.  Premium Soil (which contains regular MiracleGro) was second-to-last.  Pure Soil had the best looking and most bountiful grass.  MiracleGro Moisture Control was better than the soils containing Regular MiracleGro, but some of the seeds on the sides of the container refused to sprout.

What do Lan Lan and I make of these results?  Lan Lan thinks we should grow more wheatgrass and considerably expand the study.  In the short term, these preliminary findings suggest that either the texture and porosity of MiracleGro hurts seedling culture, or its nitrogen content is inhibiting seedling growth.  I think it's the latter.  The nitrogen is telling the wheatgrass, "Dude, you need to lay out a crazy deep root system so you can hunker down for some bad weather or something."  And the endosperms are all, "You think we're snapdragon seeds or something?  We have plenty of food here to sprout.  Why are you messing with us like that?" But, then, what is the Moisture Control thinking?

Lan Lan urges further study.   

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