Terraqua Column

I plan to build two terraqua columns, one with tap water and garden soil, and the other one with creek- water and forest soil.

On day 14, I plan to add an equal amount of fertilizer to both columns.


Predicted differences between the two columns:

  • The creek water column will contain more organisms.
  • The pH of the soils will be different.
  • The pH of the waters will be different.
  • The radish seeds are more likely germinate and grow in the garden soil.
  • The creek water will contain more algae.
  • The creek water column might smell.
  • When I add fertilizer, the pH of the soils and the waters will change.
  • When I add fertilizer, I expect algae to grow in the water.
  • When I add fertilizer, the plants will grow faster.

Things I will measure:

  • The pH of the soil.
  • The pH of the water.
  • Height of the plants.
  • The nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash content before and after adding fertilizer.

Things to observe:

  • The smell.
  • The algae.
  • The organisms.

The two terraqua columns were established on 7/1/2013.

Creek water / forest soil

Tap water / garden soil

 forest soil - creek water  garden soil - tap water


  • I found microscopic organisms in the creek water. Here you can see it yourself:  http://youtu.be/Il0qAztUcBQ
  • The forest soil sank about an inch in 24 hours.
  • The creek water got very cloudy.
  • I found tiny green fertilizer balls in the garden soil.
  • seeds started to germinate on day 3.
  • more seeds germinated in the garden soil.

Day 4:

seedlings in garden soil:


seedlings in forest soil:


Day 7:

  • In garden soil the germination was 100%, all 7 seeds came out.
  • In forest soil 6 out of 7 seeds germinated.
  • The growth in garden soil is faster.

Day 8:

  • The garden soil seedlings stopped growing.
  • The forest soil seedlings accelerated growing.

garden seedlings:

garden 7

forest seedlings:

2013-07-08 10.53.02

Day 14

  • Fertilizer was added.

The nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash content:

Day 12

Forest soil

Garden soil



Very low





Very low



The heights of the plants:


Forest soil plants

Garden soil plants

7/1/2013 (Day 1)



Day 3

0.5 cm

1 cm

Day 6

4 cm

6 cm

Day 7

7 cm

10 cm

Day 8

9 cm

10 cm

Day 12

12 cm

11 cm

Day 14

13 cm

14 cm

The pH of the soil:


Forest soil

Garden soil

7/1/2013  (Day 1)



Day 12



The pH of the water:


Creek water

Tap water

7/1/2013 (Day 1)



Day 7



Day 28

The terraqua column experiment was terminated on the 29th of July, 2013.

It was surprising to see that the forest soil is high in phosphorus and that the plants grew well in it.

terraqua column terminated 1


terraqua column terminated 2



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