Mar 132021
 

So new theory- Wolffia Arrhiza aren’t just people-free soylent-green… they’re also teeny-tiny Audrey II’s.

I didn’t get what mixotroph meant at first and I still probably don’t, but apparently it means they can eat sugar and grow in the dark. That seems distinctly unplantlike to me, but plants eat bugs and sadistic dentists- so why not? Anyway it’s pretty freaking amazing. I was thinking these things were just solar powered but turns out you can run them on gas in a pinch. Not that you’d want to carry a big supply of sugar to space to feed to your plants but I’m guessing there are other organic carbon sources it can use. Guessing is definitely the word though.

So I’m still getting my head wrapped around the sugar thing but I played with a few other nutrient combos and let them grow for a week in the light cube 12on/12off. Here’s the super-scientific recipies:

Cocktail-A – 1 cup H20, 1tsp white vinegar, pinch epsom salt, pinch baking soda, pinch gelatin.
Cocktail-B – 1 cup H20, green tea, coffee grounds
Cocktail-C – 1 cup H20, 1 pump miracle grow indoor plant food
JAR5 – 1/4Cup Cocktail-A + 2 drops glycerine
JAR6 – 1/2Cup Cocktail-A + 2 drops glycerine
JAR7 – 1/4Cup Cocktail-A
JAR8 – Cocktail-B less
JAR9 – Cocktail-B more
JAR10 – 1/4Cup Cocktail-C
JAR11 – 1/4Cup Cocktail-C + pinch hydroxyethyl cellulose
JAR12 – 1/2Cup Cocktail-C
*filled all jars to flange with H20 and dropped ~20-30 watermeal pods in. Refilled about 50ml H20 per jar twice over 7 days.

Yeah- I don’t know what I was thinking with the cellulose and glycerine, but I had some left from LED\Silicone projects so somehow that justifies poisoning a bunch of plants?

TOP – 9-10-11-12 | BOTTOM 5-6-7-8

JAR5 – No growth, few survivors, crusty maybe mold or something on top.
JAR6 – No growth, fewer survivors, definitely mold on top.
JAR7 – Probably some growth.
JAR8 – No survivors, gross swamp.
JAR9 – No survivors, grosser swamp.
JAR10 – Maybe some growth.
JAR11 – Maybe some growth, but probably not.
JAR12 – Probably no growth.

The results were kind of nasty, lot of dead plants and funk. My takeaway is very no on the glycerine and cellulose. But possibly yes on cocktail-A, and sort of yes on cocktail-C. And hold-up on the green tea and coffee, but still curious. I suspect the green tea has eggs in it. I think that may actually be how those critters from chapter 2 got in there, not dirt like I thought. I left the light cube alone most of the week so I didn’t see the hellscape form again, but the aftermath in J8-9 looks very similar. So I may try that again after boiling the tea.

I think the small containers are their own problem. Too deep for their opening so it’s really stagnant and not much gas exchange maybe. Nutrient levels varying wildly with evaporation. Also I’m not sterilizing anything so life is finding ways. Still thinking about how I’m going to manage all that.

So I’d like to say I’m slowly learning to grow watermeal, but I think all I can really claim is that I’m slowly learning how to do less watermeal mass-murder. But considering this is widely regarded as a weed to be controlled or eradicated- I think starting from mass-murder and working backwards might actually make sense.

I reached out the LSU AgCenter and got pointed towards ‘Azolla’, which was an excellent hint for finding how people actually grow little alien plants like this. And Azolla actually shares a lot of watermeal’s awesomeness. I’m especially curious about how Azolla restricts mosquito breeding- which I thought would be a challenge to growing watermeal outdoors, so I wonder if watermeal can do that too or maybe growing it with Azolla could protect the watermeal.

Also want to give a shout out to the little jimaca and muscodine seeds- they’re trying their best to germinate despite me not knowing what I’m doing so I just want to show them some love. Also big ups to turnip and onion- those are some champs.

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