Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Conclusion to the first three experiments

All 13 plants eventually withered and died.  Once they'd died I cleaned the soil off and found that none of them had put down roots, that the shooting tip of a Rubus plant has the power for upward growth but not downward growth.

This is good.  I know something about brambles now that I didn't know before.  As they say: failure is always an option.

Moving forward then.  For the next batch of experiments (2014 at the earliest) I'll need to graft a shoot onto a root before burying.  Grafting on that sort of small scale is incredibly fiddly and up to now I've only ever made one plant graft in my life.  For now then, I suppose I had better get some practice in.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Rubus 1 is finished

The Rubus 1 group was crippled on Christmas Eve by slime moulds which drained the nutrients from the soil, withering the leaves and leaving them with blackened stems.  There's nothing I can do within the parameters of the experiment to revive them, but nor do I want to let them die.  For the purposes of the experiment, the Rubus 1 cohort is "dead".  If I keep them in the experiment then they'll die anyway, so it all comes to the same as far as the experiments are concerned.  I'll give them some intensive care, maybe I'll try using a UV lamp to nuke the fungus, but anything I do to correct this will mean they cannot be admitted to the study from this point on.

No other plants moved up a rounding bound over Christmas.

Monday, 17 December 2012

More on Bella

I was wrong in my previous update.  I saw that Bella had rotated and jumped to the conclusion that it would carry on rotating.  Oops.  This morning I found Bella pointing back into the house again:-

It seems that Bella still rotates a third of a turn clockwise each day then resets at night, as per any Northern plant (plants from below the Equator rotate anti-clockwise).  This pattern of rotation hasn't changed, only because the curve of the plant has been deliberately turned toward the pole, Bella now rotates to point away from Sol instead of towards Sol.  Funny old world.  So I haven't yet established if phototropism will beat heliotropism in getting a bramble to point at the Sun, all I've done thus far is to mess about with Bella's heliotropic behaviour.

Still, it's interesting to know.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Some early results

  The week's numbers are up on their respective pages.  Jake is pretty much dead.  Growth was seen in Bella and Rosie, whilst Tiny 1 has shrank.  Tiny group aren't doing well, which I suspect is due to the lack of direct sunlight.  Milo and Doodle have shoots of 2cm apiece, and those shoots are showing tiny leaves.  That Rosie has grown in the week since going outside is pretty awesome.  Fizz is turning very green at the tip.  It seems that maybe a purple shoot transplanted without roots to a sunny spot turns green to make the most of the Sun.  Any further growth by Fizz will require sugars made in the green parts of the plant.

  Bella has rotated.  Alas, stupid me didn't get a top-down photo of Bella and Jake at the start of the experiment, which means I can't now measure how many degrees Bella has rotated by.  I can show you the face-on pic from the start though, which shows Bella to be pointing a scant few degrees anticlockwise of the centre of the label.  Today Bella is pointing approx. 45ยบ clockwise of the centre of the label.  That's a big difference.  Also, Bella has not gotten any straighter.

  What Bella's rotation means in the grand scheme of things is unclear.  If Jake hadn't died then I could say that, with cuttings of this species, under these conditions, heliotropism beats phototropism.  As it happens, this result is only borne out in 50% of my sample.  I cannot say what Jake might've done because Jake didn't do anything.  I can say that there is an isolated instance where, with cuttings of this species under these conditions, heliotropism has beaten phototropism; but I cannot claim evidence of a general tendency within R. fruticosus without further evidence.  The behaviour of Bella is exciting though, as it suggests that I'm fishing where the fish are.  I guess we know the shape of Rubus 4...

I'm going to throw some pictures at you now.



Tiny Group

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Rosie and Jim go outside, and Rubus 1 developments.

Not the snappiest title, but apt.

  Rosie and Jim have gone out back, onto a structure in my garden known as The Strawbrary.
Rosie in the red pot on the left, Jim in the purple pot on the right.  
The Rubus 1 group meanwhile have gone through a busy few days.  Milo and Fizz are budding in earnest, whilst Jake appears to be dying.  
Rubus 1 cohort



I'll update the day's measurements after lunch.  

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The last meal

All the plants got a treat today in the form of some 4:2:6 in their water.  For Rosie and Jim however, this'll be the last input they get from me.  Tomorrow they'll have to face December outside.