Using Cotton as Soil
Have you ever tried to plant a peanut seed in cotton? Maybe not. But I’ve tried. I am in grade seven now, but I got the idea in grade four. In grade four, my class and I did an experiment with bean sprouts to see if they would grow in a sunny place or a dark place. During that experiment I found that the bean sprouts could grow in cotton! So, now in the seventh grade, for my science experiment report, I tried it again with peanut seeds that my grandparents gave me.
First, I put the beans in water for about four hours to help the seed to sprout quickly. Next, I put three beans in the cotton. When I checked the very next day, a sprout had grown out of the cotton! After that, for 13 days, I checked to see how much it had grown. After 13 days, the peanut plant was about 14 cm. However, although the plant sprouted and it grew stems and leaves, I couldn’t see any peanuts. I was disappointed, but still, at least this shows that a plant can be grown in cotton.
I think that if other plants can be grown in cotton, it can mean new life on a new planet. Just think of Mars. Scientists are trying to send people to Mars and they have found liquid water there. With water, people could live there, but what is the use if there is no food? Maybe the people of Earth could send food to them, but think of all the money that would cost and the weight of all that food. No, the only way to live on Mars is for the people to grow their own food. So, I think that my experiment of growing plants in cotton will be useful.
Even for people on Earth, think of the soil these days. Is it “clean”? Is it safe? Often, it is not. For many reasons, the soil is not usable. For example, people use too much agricultural pesticide to grow plants, and during this time, not all of the pesticide goes into the plant. A large amount goes into the soil, which contaminates the soil. Also, waste water from large factories and radiation from power plants spill into the soil. In some places, the radioactivity is so bad that it makes giant, strangely shaped rats, giant snails, and giant vegetables. You might think that if would be nice to have vegetables that are big, but this is a huge health hazard.
Of course, I am not completely sure that many plants will grow in cotton or that actual food can be grown from it. I wasn’t able to get an actual peanut from my peanut plant. One of the reasons is that the peanut season was over when I planted my seeds. Also, I don’t think my plant had enough light to be strong. However, my experiment shows that a plant can be grown in cotton. If we keep testing it, we will be able to find a way to grow all kinds of food from cotton and other materials. For example, we can put some useful ingredients from the soil into the cotton so that the cotton is still light but filled with nutrients. If this doesn’t work, we can make the seed of the plant stronger, so it will grow even in the worst environment to produce something edible.
I think we should try hard to grow plants in materials other than soil. My experiment shows that it can be done. I will try to plant my peanuts seeds again during the next peanut season and give it plenty of light. Then I will watch it grow. I might also try to grow other plants such as wheat, barley, and other vegetables. I hope that my cotton experiment will make new life possible on Mars and life better here on Earth.
Daejeon Bongmyeong Middle School