Grafting peas and beans
Will grafted plants grow faster, produce more fruit, and be of better quality than original individual plants?
Claire E Kinnear
Hudson High School
Grafting is a common gardening technique that unites a scion (top of one plant) with a rootstock (the root of another plant). Often times people graft their plants in order to repair a broken or injured plant, to speed up the growth by giving it a well developed rootstock, or to create a variety of plants in a safe way. The researcher wanted to test the quality of grafting among pea plants and bean plants to see if they would produce more fruit of higher quality, or if any crossing of the individual genomes would occur. The researcher hypothesized that grafted plants would grow faster, produce more, and be of better quality than the originals. To begin, the researcher planted 6 bean plants and 6 pea plants.
After the plants were well developed, the researcher took 3 of each plant and crossed the tops of the peas and the bottom of the beans. Over the next 30 days, all of the plants were monitored and measured in height. Overall, the grafted plants had wilted and died, while the original plants grew at a healthy rate. What the researcher has concluded is that grafting is a difficult skill to master, and many methods could be tweaked to have a more favorable outcome. If the researcher had chosen plants with stems of more similar diameter, the plants might have lived. In conclusion, it is still an important experiment as it shows how delicate the lives of plants truly are, and only masters can manipulate them safely.