May is all about flowers! This is a late post but I wanted to share what we were up to this past month. Out theme for may included the topics of seeds, seedlings, plants, gardens and flowers.
Growing Plants and Gardening
We started off our theme by exploring the miniature world of baby plants. Nan Jan and I bought a variety of vegetable seeds: cucumber, radish, swiss chard, carrots, lettuce, peas and beans. Nan was kind enough to plant a selection of seeds earlier in the spring so they would have time to grow and I set aside the rest for us to investigate.
This is our little veggie garden and the plants that are growing there now. You can see the carrots, snow peas and lettuce are coming up and J was the first to sample the ready snow peas. Next year I would like to plant an even larger patch and to start off more seedlings with the kids.
I used to think plants were the boring part of biology, the stuff you had to learn about so you could move on to the good stuff- Animals. Then in uni I started to learn more about them and actually ended up taking mostly plant biology classes. I learned that if you look closely you will find that plants are extremely varied and quite sophisticated. Like how all moss looks like well, moss, but there are SO many different kinds of moss. Some have teeth that open and close as the humidity in the air changes, and some with twisted “stems” that rapidly untwist when they get wet and spray their “seeds” far away from the plant and increasing the chance of their survival! My point is that even boring old moss that looks like green squishy stuff is actually highly adapted and specialized.
That was a little off topic but the same goes for seeds, from a distance all you see is brown specks or oval shaped objects. When you look closely though the variety and intricate patterns are endless! Just look at this gorgeous SEM of wildflower seeds! Art by Steve-Gschmeissner
I recently received my own microscope, something I’ve wanted since I was a child. J and I sorted out our seeds and put them under the dissecting scope for a closer look. The coolest seeds in my opinion were the radish and swish chard because they are all pitted, bumpy and look like a meteor.
J and I started off a selection of seeds in a tray layered with paper towel. We put a few layers of paper towel on the base of the tray and put on a few seeds. We put a few more layers of paper towel over top and soaked them with water. I let them sprout in the house for a week before J and I transplanted the survivors into some pots. J helped me shovel the soil and fill the plant pots, create a small pocket for the seedling and water them in. Of all the seeds we started only 4 survived.