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Mengli Shi

Mengli Shi

Research Assistant, Aquaponics

Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

Lettuce Seedling Trials: Do fertilizers and probiotics affect lettuce germination and growth rates?

aquaponics-seedling-trial-2014All plants start out from seeds on the farm. We raise seedlings in coconut coir media and after 2-4 weeks we plant them in net pots in hydroponic beds. The healthy establishment of our seedlings is vital to the aquaponics system. High germination rates and vigorous seedlings growth rates help conserve valuable farm resources, like space, time, and money.  This fall, I studied methods to improve germination rates and seedling growth of lettuce by testing whether watering with natural fertilizers and probiotics affected seedlings differently than watering with a control of aquaponics system water.

To test this hypothesis we set up a study that we informally dubbed the “Seedling Trials.” We used three different nutrient solutions: Rock Phosphate Fertilizer (Dr. Earth, Winters, CA), EM-1 Microbial Inoculant (EMRO, city) Read More >