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The Corroboree

Getting science-y in the garden

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Got any science going on in the garden?


Gardens can be many things for people. For me, they're also a healthy science experiment. I've found I need to get experimental on the world around me safely, rather than making myself the continuous experiment...


This year the veggie gardening has become not just an attempt at self-sufficiency (and therapy) but also in part, a science project

I'm growing lots of Brassicaceae but I don't want piss weak produce. I want maximal health benefits and ways to keep the gardening experience novel. This year I'm keeping it simple on the ones for food and going to try using some potassium sulfate (in addition to normal plant nutrition) on the plants [1]

Increasing secondary metabolites by using agricultural sustainable practices an important target for maximising health benefits

Something as simple as potassium sulfate, applied via the nutrient solution or as a foliar spray, stimulated the secondary metabolites, increasing the contents of glucosinolates and phenolic compounds, in mustards, kale and broccoli

Sulfur content is a critical determinant of Brassicaceae plant growth, these plants have higher requirements for this element and aerial and root biomass were maximal after K2SO4 supplementation

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31177025

Another one intrigues me as a pure experiment - melatonin - proposed as a plant master regulator which can interact with the functions of other plant growth regulators or hormones

Alongside my experiments with simple potassium sulfate, I'm going to try some kale plants on melatonin.

Plant melatonin not only acts as an antioxidant, but also induces substantial changes in gene expression in many physiological aspects. Melatonin is a pleiotropic molecule that influences many diverse actions to enhance plant growth and has a positive role in biomass accumulation.

Exogenous melatonin boosted the growth, photosynthetic, and antioxidant activities in plants

Melatonin acts as a biostimulator in situations of abiotic stress, regulating key elements expressed against stressors

It is a regulator in the expression of enzymes and regulatory elements of plant hormones

Melatonin is also involved in inducing secondary metabolites, including polyphenols and carotenoids

Even pre-soaking seeds with 100 μM MEL enhanced per-plant yield by up to 23% and application of 1 μM significantly improved seedling growth in one experiment. I'm more interested in potential for increasing secondary metabolites in plants

What happens when veggie growing meets science

1 kale seedling has 1 μM melatonin foliar fed @ height 40mm
Control is also 40mm and both will get same lighting and fertiliser regime
The race is on...






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Have you considered giving Aspirin a go?


Asprin mixed with water and foliar sprayed in the early morning has been shown to increase plant size and yield in vegetable and ethno gardens alike.


Acetylsalicylic acid is the active ingredient in Aspirin and is derived from Salicylic Acid, which is naturally found in Willow Bark among others.


It works exceptionally well on any plant in the Nightshade family.


Let us know how your experimentation goes - you might be onto something here.


Love & Light

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Posted (edited)

Yeah I have done a little bit with aspirin a long time ago. Thanks for the tip

Results are in. Using a foliar and feed solution of 2.5g/L K2SO4 was really seemingly beneficial for getting good growth and yields of Brassica like the purple cauliflower. I didn't have a control for this one but they grew really well, strongly and quickly and nicely anthocyan-y



With the melatonin, there seems to be tight constraints on how much enhances growth, and a point where it instead drastically inhibits it.


Initially, there was a nice improvement on the growth of Kale seedlings, then I kept going with foliar feeding them and it turned into rapid growth suppression. Melatonin's poor water solubility also poses issues.


Most notably, initially there were improvements in promoting initial rapid brightly green new growth... then a fine cut off where application drastically inhibited growth.

control vs melatonin (1 μM) foliar feed initial growth improvements








Edited by Alchemica
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