Soil is the conventional medium for seed starting. While there are different soil compositions and ratios that aid plant development, other seed starting media also have equal, and sometimes better, effects on the early stages of the seeds.
A good example would be an avocado being sprouted in water with a hydroponic nutrient solution, where the nutrients come in direct contact with the roots, thus creating better plant growth. Other media can be in the form of cotton, paper towel, or sponge.
Tea Bag vs Soil vs Sponge
In this experiment, we’ll see how basil seeds behave when introduced to different media. We have here a used tea bag, soil, and a sponge.
For the tea bag, I used Lipton Yellow Label Black Tea. I made a vertical slit, added the seeds, closed it up, and placed it in a water container cover. I also sprinkled it with cinnamon powder, I’ll explain later why.
I cut one pocket from an old cardboard egg tray and added the soil and seeds. The soil mix had some perlite and eggshells in it.
The sponge is called a magic eraser, which is marketed to remove wall stains. I cut a small cube from the sponge and sliced it up about halfway to have 4 sections where the basil seeds can sit. I also placed it in a water container cover.
Same as what I did in the tomato vs tomato post, I ran this test for 14 days straight with the light source open 24 hours a day.
All were given the same amount of water every single time.
This is actually my second try.
On just the first day of the first trial, I already noticed the presence of fungi in the tea bag. They are spreading real fast that some are also growing on the sides of the soil container. Good thing, I saw nothing on the sponge.
I discarded the video and started again.
This time, I used cinnamon powder since it is known as a natural fungicide. I dislike using any chemicals, the same reason I made my own organic fertilizer.
The teabag was looking better than my first try, but only just for a few days. The fungi persisted and I continued adding cinnamon powder. If you look at the video carefully, this was very noticeable at around 0:35-0:38. The cinnamon powder was able to slow down the sprawling fungi but failed to eliminate them all.
The spread of the fungi in the tea bag was in sync with the growth of seeds in the soil pockets. On day number 3, you can already see the basil sprouts coming out from the soil. The seeds in the sponge followed suit, leaving the tea bag to rot in fungi.
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