Microwaved Water to Plants Experiment – Day 1

I see a world where people verify facts for themselves.

My dad Arran read an article years back about how plants watered with microwaved water die.  He hasn’t used a microwave since.  I cringe at the idea of having to heat everything up in a pan or pot and then wash it (versus the quick microwave zap).  I also kind-of-don’t-really-want to know since I used microwaves so many a time in the middle of the night when my baby daughter was screaming for milk.  Dont want to think that maybe I’ve been slowly poisoning my developing children.  Everyone uses microwaves, right?  It’s just easier to dismiss what dad said.  Well, about a year ago, I came across this again.  It’s been ruminating.  Eventually, I started to talk to my daughters about this and we agreed that we should experiment.

We are attempting a very simple and not-truly scientific test.  My statistics friends, especially Michael Greenacre would cringe at this.  What, a sample size of two?!

Day 0 the set up

The set up

I haven’t googled this at all but I figure that if there is such a terribly strong effect, I should see it right away.  I don’t want to have to use p values to determine whether there is an effect.  There should be a clear answer like the squirrels who eat all the organic corn but leave most of the GMO kernels on the cob.  Last night  I bought two basil plants which were next to each other at the only store open on a Sunday night in Victoria.  They looked healthy and hearty.   They are now set up in the kitchen in a sunny spot.  We took a glass of water and microwaved it for a minute, and let it sit overnight.  We put an identical glass of tap water to sit overnight.

This morning with the help of my one-armed assistant (the other arm is in a sling as she fell off the monkey-bars about a month ago), we watered the plants.

Day 1 watering plant 1 with Microwaved water

Day 1, watering plant 2 with tap water

We will do so until we see some kind of difference and will post about this.

To sort of appease any of you scientists upset at my small sample size, please have a listen to the SVD song.

I

4 thoughts on “Microwaved Water to Plants Experiment – Day 1

  1. Tina P

    Hi Gurdeep. We met at Alex’s party last year. Alex shared this on Facebook, and I wanted to comment. This is only scientific if one of the ‘control’ water sources has also been boiled. I suggest you have three conditions: tap water, water boiled on the stove, and water boiled in the microwave. Let all three sit out overnight, and continue with the experiment. It may be the boiling that affects the water, not the microwave method of boiling. Let me know how it turns out!

    Reply
  2. skinnycook

    Hi Gurdeep, we met at Alex’s party last year. Alex shared this on Facebook, and I had to comment because I wrote a book chapter about microwave myths a few years ago. This experiment would be more scientific if one of the ‘control’ water sources is boiled by another method. I suggest you have three conditions: tap water, water boiled on the stove, and water boiled in the microwave. Leave all three sitting out overnight, then continue with the experiment. It may be the boiling that affects the water, not the method of boiling by microwave. Let me know how it turns out! – Tina P.

    Reply
    1. Gurdeep Stephens Post author

      Hi Tina,
      Great to hear from you and thanks for your comments! I’m curious about your book! What’s the title?

      I think that you make a great point – that one of the controls should be a boiled water option. I actually considered it briefly. But then I thought I would see what happens with the microwave one first and then take it from there…. 🙂
      TBC….

      Reply
      1. skinnycook

        Hi! I wrote the last chapter in an edited volume about everyday technology: http://www.amazon.com/Material-Technology-Everyday-Intersections-Communications/dp/143310301X

        I’m curious to see what you find. I would hypothesize that boiling the water removes some minerals and/or bacteria that benefit the plants. All a microwave does is vibrate water molecules, so it shouldn’t alter the water in a different way than boiling it on the stove does. Let me know how it turns out!

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