Today we will do some simple chores to set up future laboratory exercises. We will sow some spores on Knopp's medium, which contains the minerals plants need to obtain from the soil around their roots. Growing plants without soil is called hydroponics. In this case we are solidifying the liquid with a very small amount of Phytagel (a substance similar to agar). The mineral macroelements include P, K, N, S, Ca, Fe, and Mg while the microelements include B, Mn, Zn, Cu, and Mo. Phytagel is used at 0.8 grams per 250 mL. We will also learn to use a dissection microscope properly to be sure the spores we have sown have indeed entered the container of gel. We will also prepare soil and pots for germinating seeds. You will work with one partner as a team of two.
Pack the friable soil into 4.5" Geranium pots (sorry, but the industry uses English measurements, but = 11cm) so that the surface is level and firm and up to the level of the ridge inside the rim of the pot (i. e. down about 3 cm from the rim).
In one pot, place eight popcorn (Zea mays) seeds in a circular pattern about a centimeter from the edge of the soil. In a second pot, place six Roman Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) seeds in a similar pattern.
Prepare a pot-label for each pot with your name, the date, and the kind of seeds sown written in PENCIL. Insert the label into the soil to its full depth at one edge of the pot, with the writing facing the center of the pot.
Cover the seeds with friable soil and firm it to be level and at about 1 centimeter below the rim.
Place the pots in the designated area of the greenhouse.
Which of our projects today represent experiments?