Do you have seedlings that are growing, look healthy, but are taking their sweet time? We got a late start this year due to a longer winter than normal. I tried to find ways to get my plants to grow faster! After brainstorming, I remembered learning about photosynthesis in my old biology classes. Plants use carbon dioxide (CO2) and convert sunlight into sugars and oxygen.
Now, we use CO2, this colorless acidic gas that we all have come to love due to no calories and fizzy effervescence when dissolved into water under pressure. Turns out, plants love it too! We aren't trying to pull a fast one on you. It really works!
How club soda works:
Seedlings have the least amount of leaves to photosynthesize, this means they have less ability to absorb CO2 and convert it to Sugars and Oxygen which helps them grow. If they could simply take up more CO2 they would grow faster. This is where club soda comes in. Club soda is sparkling mineral water that can be made at home or bought for pennies at your local grocery store.
Step 1 - Water seedlings with the cheapest club soda you can find. The more carbonated, the better.
Step 2 - Repeat once weekly
It is really that simple! Club soda also has minerals, like calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium as well as other trace minerals. This helps with any minor nutrient deficiencies that may be present in the soil. This method will work on all plants but for best results, it should be applied to seedlings. A recent study was done and it was found that during a 10 day period plants watered with club soda grew an average of 157% where plants in the same growing conditions grew only 56% that is 3X more growth!
I have found that it does help if you drape some plastic cling wrap over the top of your plants to help trap the gas as it is escaping the solution. This will keep the CO2 near the leaves longer helping them to take more of it up. I will remove the plastic wrap once the bubbles have stopped and set it aside for future use.
If you are the chatty type you can also try talking to your plants. The CO2 from your lungs will have a similar effect on the seedlings only you will feel a bit odd, and your neighbors might become a bit concerned at your latest behavior. In a 5 minute monologue, your lungs will have expelled Carbon dioxide equivalent to a liter of club soda. You will also find this is why house plants grow so well. NASA has used them to purify the air for years in the International space station and it is for the same reasons. Free Oxygen!
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To share a drink with your plants or a long-winded conversation, I hope this helps! If it seems a bit weird, or you learned something be: share it with your friends! We love helping gardeners and I bet they have never heard of this simple trick. Give it a shot and let us know how it worked for you.
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