Clay Mineral Supplement for Organic Gardens / Plants
Wheatgrass Growth Rate Experiment
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For presentation at a fifth grade science fair, we asked a simple yet very important question:
Will watering organic wheatgrass with water enriched with a complex clay mineral colloid increase the growth rate of the wheatgrass as compared to watering wheatgrass with standard irrigation spring water?
Why would we think so, and why exactly might this be important?
Volcanic mineral enriched natural farm soils, such as those found in Napa Valley and Northern California , have long been known to produce the most vibrant, healthy, and high-yielding fruit and vegetable crops in the United States. These growing conditions are not just beneficial to the plants. The effect can be demonstrated throughout the entire food chain of the region.
Modern farming practices, especially in regions that are not as bountiful, often leave soils depleted of the many vital inorganic trace minerals that would otherwise naturally be present in lands that are not over farmed. While chemicals and artificial fertilizers can be used to boost growth rates and preseve the soil so that it will continue to yield crops, we highly suspect that the food supply is greatly effected.
We hypothesize that water enriched with colloidal clay minerals will provide abundant inorganic nutrients which will result in the plants growing faster and with more dense blades, as measured by the height of the blades and the weight of the harvested grass, as compared to the control group. In our experiment, we water the control groupwith "normal" irrigation spring water.
We further hypothesize that by using a clay-enriched water that is properly pH balanced, that there would be no need for chemical fertilizers (this hypothesis, however, is outside of the scope of this single experiment). Therefore, the clay mineral plant supplement is a perfect choice for hydroponics and organic vegetable and herb gardens.
Eight trays of organic wheatgrass (with minimal soil)
Note: Choose wheatgrass with the minimal amount of actual soil for best results
One container of Edible clay (Tecopia Essentia Edible Clay Melange)
Two plant growing lights (Optional, but helps keep the conditions identical between the experiment group and the control group)
11.34 l of ultra purified reverse osmosis water (about three gallons)
11.34 l of Arrowhead mountain spring water
473 ml container of raw organic apple cider vinegar (8 or 16 ounces is more than enough)
One pair of scissors
One liquid dropper
One stirring rod
Two 2 liter containers for storing and pouring the water
Two weather monitoring stations (optional, used to demonstrate that the ambient conditions between the two groups are the same)
One digital pH meter
One digital PWT (optional, used to confirm the purity of the Reverse Osmosis water)
One measuring cup ( or measuring containers to measure roughly 1/4 cup - 1 cup)
Two plastic trays to house four containers of wheatgrass each
One kitchen weight scale
Some of the Basic Materials Required for the Experiment
Assumptions Used in the Experiment
The ideal growing temperature of wheatgrass is between 70.0 degrees F and 80.0 degrees F.
The ideal pH for growing wheatgrass is between 6.5 and 7.0.
The ideal amount of water needed to grow wheatgrass is between 115 – 230 ml per day.
The ideal amount of clay minerals per plant per month is 10 grams per month.
One teaspoonful of clay minerals equals 5 grams.
The ideal organic acid modifier for hydroponics is raw organic apple cider vinegar.
Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water is equivalent to standard farming irrigation water.
Ten stage ultra purified reverse osmosis water produces water that is equivalent to rainfall. Distilled water (0.3 uS – 1.2 uS) Distilled water can also be used.
A combination of Volcanic-origin and sedimentary clay minerals are ideal clay minerals to use for agriculture.
The organic wheatgrass used in the experiment was fully grown due to time restraint.
Some of the above assumptions, such as the amount of water needed, will vary depending on the climate; adjust the amount of water used to suit.
Prepare the control water for use (as needed). Water used to grow wheatgrass should be between 6.5 – 7.0 pH. The mountain spring water used is too alkaline for ideal growing conditions. In this experiment, soil pH modification chemicals are not used; raw organic apple cider vinegar is used to lower the pH of the water in place of chemical-enriched fertilizers and soil additives. This method is closer to fermentation processes that actually occur in nature.
First, pour two liters of spring water into one of the plastic two liter containers. Then, turn the digital pH meter on and test the water by placing the meter in the water. Use the glass liquid dropper to add drops of apple cider vinegar into the water until the pH of the water is in the proper range.
Prepare the clay water for use (as needed). First, test the purity of the ultra pure reverse osmosis water. This is done by using the electronic PWT meter. A reading anywhere below 60 uS is clean enough for use. It should, however, be a bit cleaner, reading about 25.0 uS. Next, pour one liter of water into the second two liter plastic container. Then, add two teaspoons of the clay mineral blend into the container. Stir until the clay is completely aqueous and in suspension in the water. Once the clay is completely aqueous, test the pH of the water (it will be alkaline). Lower the pH by using the organic apple cider vinegar.
Hanna Digital pH Multi Meter - Measuring the pH
Prepare the wheatgrass trays. Using a pair of scissors, trim each wheatgrass container so that the grass is level with the top of each container: All eight containers of wheatgrass need to be cut to the same starting height.
Create two groups of trays (Group A and Group B), each made up of four trays. Label 4 trials in each group (1-A, 2-A, 3-A, 4-A …1-B, 2-B, 3-B, 4-B). Group A represents the 4 trials in the control group (to be watered with spring water). Group B represents the 4 trials in the experiment group (to be watered with clay mineral enriched water).
Place all four wheatgrass containers from group A into one large plastic tray. Add one weather station sensor in the middle of the four wheatgrass containers for accurate conditions monitoring. Label the weather station monitor “Group A”. Place all four containers of wheatgrass from group B into the second large plastic tray. Add the second weather station sensor in the middle of the four containers and label the monitor “Group B”.
Position one natural growing light over each group, so that the light is distributed evenly across all the wheatgrass containers.
Wheatgrass Trimmed, Labelled and Ready for the Experiment
Each morning, record the ambient weather conditions from the weather station monitors. This data will only be used to be certain that the ambient conditions for both groups are equivalent. Record the room temperature, the temperature at the sensor, and the humidity level for Group A and then for Group B. Each morning, add between 55 and 115 ml of clay mineral water to each container in group B (independent variable) and then add the same amount of mountain spring water to each container in group B. If necessary, drain any excess water in either tray to avoid mold growth.
Each morning, turn both of the natural growing lights on. Each evening, after 8-10 hours of light, turn off both of the growing lights.
On day three, measure and record the height, in millimeters, of each wheatgrass container in both groups using the wooden ruler. Measure from the top “lip” of the container so that each measurement is as uniformly conducted as possible. Estimate the average height of the grass growth in each container, not the highest blade nor the lowest blade.
On day seven, measure and record the height of all wheatgrass containers. Then, carefully trim the grass of each wheatgrass container so that the grass is once again level with the top of each container. Carefully harvest the grass from each wheatgrass container and record the weight of each by using the kitchen scale.
Completed Experiment - 7 Days
Wheatgrass in Trays with Weather Stations and Light Supplement Lamps
Each container of wheatgrass is to be trimmed and weighed seperately
Results: The Data
Ambient Conditions for Groups A & B by Date
Room Temp (F)
Group A Pot Temp (F)
Group B Pot Temp (F)
Group A Humidity (%)
Group B Humidity (%)
Amt of Water (ml)
Height of Wheatgrass After Seven Days in mm
Group A (Spring Water) Average Blade Height
Group B (Clay Mineral Water) Average Blade Height
Amount of Wheatgrass Harvested after Seven Days (Grams)
Group A (Spring Water) Harvest
Group B (Clay Mineral Water) Harvest
Trial #4 was declared void due a problem with the wheatgrass in Group A. The wheatgrass in one of the containers watered with spring water did not grow. The reason remained unknown.
Although one of the four trials had to be removed (4-A did not grow properly for some unknown reason), all three successful trials demonstrated conclusively that the clay mineral enriched water caused the wheatgrass to grow slightly faster and ultimately produced a significant increase in the amount of wheatgrass harvested at the end of the 7 day growing period.
The average height increase measured was 1.0 millimeters. The average increase in wheat grass yield (by weight) was 24.31%. The data fully supports the initial hypothesis.
This same procedure can be applied in home organic gardening and organic hydroponics.
This basic seven day experiment clearly demonstrates that the natural mineral content of soil contributes significantly to the vitality of plants, flowers, and vegetables growing in the soil. Undoubtedly, the effect of the soil-- for greater or for worse-- spreads through the entire food chain, effecting all land-based life.
This experiment was conducted by Nicholas R. Eaton in April of 2010.
For the entire experiment, including all credits and copyright information, please see the .pdf file:
Experiment devised by Eytons' Earth Therapeutic Healing Clays. While clay has long been used as a direct soil additive, Eytons' Earth developed the method for this experiment to further control and study variables that may be present... especially the potential for various clays to potentially adversely effect the pH of soil.
Furthermore, the experiment mirrors nature far more closely than actually adding dry clay to farm or gardening soil. Volcanic-origin clay minerals become a natural part of spring run off nutrient-rich river water that "naturally" feeds hillside and flatland vegetation (that is, as long as nothing interfers with this natural process) as spring turns to summer.
Please let us know your suggestions, thoughts, or experiences by commenting below.
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This Study Presentation is Copyright 2010 Nicholas R. Eaton
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