Tomatoes Planted in Microwaved Water Grow Poorly

| 4/8/2014 9:51:00 AM

March 8

After seeing conflicting accounts of whether microwaved food retains nutrients, I decided to try a semi-scientific experiment at home with tomato plants and five water sources. The results, so far, have surprised me.

I understand my test does not meet scientific standards. This project was simply to satisfy my curiosity about water and its effect on living things. After reading “The Secret Life of Plants,” I am even more convinced that we are not so different than vegetation rooted in the ground.

On March 7, I filled five glass jars with unfiltered water from our well, our rain barrel, tap water from a nearby town, a cattle pond and our well water microwaved for 4 minutes. Because some of the water was icy (the pond water even had ice chunks in it), I put all the bottles in the living room to reach the same temperature overnight.

Since I do not have a microwave, I brought a bottle of our well water to our local library to microwave, not to the boiling point. (Funny, but our librarian didn’t even question my odd request.)

On March 8, I filled five pots with an equal amount of potting soil taken from the same bag. This is not something I normally buy, but wanted to ensure the soil was as identical as soil can be. My normal seed-starting mixture of our compost and garden soil would’ve been too variable for this experiment.

4/10/2014 10:36:09 AM

Hi Interesting experiment. Here in England my 84 year old neighbour has been growing tomatoes for 50 years in his greenhouse. He says that rainwater collected from the greenhouse roof always makes his tomatoes grow better than if he uses tap water.

4/8/2014 8:16:34 PM

I should have mentioned that we tested our well water before starting this test. No nitrates or other contaminants were found. Also, I have started a new test, this time with beans that will show results more quickly than tomatoes. For a larger sampling, I have started 6 seeds in each water type. The experiment includes a non-microwaved and microwaved sample of well, rain and pond water. Please check back for the results.

4/8/2014 1:38:13 PM

While the sample size is too small for statistical significance, it COULD be a legitimate finding - my hypothesis would be that it is an effect of the loss of beneficial microbes in the water when microwaved. Your well water would have locally adapted soil microbes in it already, microwaving could sterilize them.

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