Can watering plants with water that’s been microwave-boiled, then cooled, kill them? I was recently alerted to this silly myth doing the rounds on the internet when explaining to a young acquaintance why I prefer to microwave-cook my vegies. So it seems it’s still duping people with its apparent ‘scientific’ evidence, so here’s a bit of my own debunking.
The alleged ‘science fair experiment’ by ‘Arielle Reynolds’ (variously from Knoxville TN, or Sussex UK) in 2006:
“Below is a science fair project that my granddaughter did for 2006. In it she took filered water and divided it into two parts.. The first part she heated to boiling in a pan on the stove, and the second part she heated to boiling in a microwave. Then after cooling she used the water to water two identical plants to see if there would be any difference in the growth between the normal boiled water and the water boiled in a microwave. She was thinking that the structure or energy of the water may be compromised by microwave. As it turned out, even she was amazed at the difference.”
Snopes**, that great internet myth debunking site, has had a good look at the photo of the microwave-boiled watered plant on the left from Day 1 to Day 5 of watering, and showed how the photo has been manipulated (and the leaves probably removed with scissors). See the Snopes mock-up here.
BUT what nobody else seems to have noticed is perhaps only obvious to a gardener…..
1. How do you water a plant without moving one speck of perlite on the surface of the potting mix? If you look at Days 1 to 5, you’ll see that every single bit of that very lightweight substance is in exactly the same place.
2. How does a dying plant wilt so unevenly? Notice that the longer leaves on the right are exactly the same – robust and turgid – from Days1 to 5, but the others mysteriously change.
3. Where are the leaves that supposedly died? And how do each of the leaf stems end up with a neat, flat cut line at their extremity? Wouldn’t they also be withered?
It’s disturbing to see such rubbish still convincing so many people, if only for their inability to identify the essential elements of a properly conducted scientific trial, all missing from this obvious fakery.
And yes, I will continue to enjoy my highly-nutritious, microwave-cooked vegies!
[**If you ever get an email telling you about some extraordinary or ‘dangerous’ fact, or how a girl dying in the UK needs a gazillion postcards from around the world, run it through the Snopes site first. Odds on you will find it is an internet/email hoax]