Friday, July 26, 2013

While We Were Gone

The kids and I just returned from two weeks in the Midwest. Lily and Jasper got to spend time with Greg's mom in Michigan while I did a Tour de Ohio.  I missed my kids, Greg and our goofball, Dizzy like crazy, but I also missed my garden. The garden is so many things for me; it's calming, therapeutic, sensory, ritual, and promise.

And while we were gone it went crazy!  I always think it needs my daily minute attention in order to flourish, but really it just needs sun and a bit of water.

My Touch of Class roses bloomed!  I've been waiting and waiting for them after a rough spring when Dizzy destroyed several of the main stems, but it recovered nicely and is lovely. It has a hint of spice to it and I got to see it by moonlight the first night we got home .

The sunflowers bloomed while we were away and they also grew a few feet. Seriously, some of them are over eight feet tall and still growing.

I actually have one nice looking tomato, which, for all you Ohioans is nothing, but I'm quite proud.

No surprise about the zucchini and yellow squash going crazy, but it still surprises me how quickly the leaves get huge.

Even the broccoli, beans and marigolds we planted from seeds look great.  And then there's my favorite, garlic. Greg picked most of it before we got home, but he left a few to bloom. I just love the way they look when they bloom.

Greg and Lily took some pictures of the garden too; Lily even used my Nikon and did a pretty good job.

You can tell how absolutely thrilled Jasper is to be back in the garden! It's a good thing he's cute!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Seed Experiments in the Garden!

 I found this great book from the library called Backyard Biology: Investigate Habitats Outside Your Door with 25 Projects by Donna Latham, Illustrated by Beth Hetland. 

It's part of the Build It Yourself series by Nomad Press. And I LOVE IT!  This book is full of facts, trivia and fun projects to encourage kids to explore living things in their own backyards, neighborhoods and parks.  

What I immediately liked about it, just from a quick skimming through at the library, was its ease of use for me as a parent to help my kids learn about biology with highlighted vocabulary, simple drawings, fun experiments and projects which foster learning through engagement and creativity. And there are tips throughout to help kids become nature detectives and planet protectors...YEAH!  Not to mention it has silly biology jokes, and my kids love jokes. It's geared towards kids 9 and older, but many of the projects can be done by younger kids as well. 

Page 74 immediately caught my eye for a few reasons: I always have extra seeds hanging around, I had all the additional supplies at home, which made it super convenient, and I knew my three-year-old could do it too, even if he could barely say the word, geotropism. To be honest, I'm pretty sure I never said the word, geotropism until I read this book. Lily, on the other hand, will not only remember it, she will probably quiz me later!

Honestly I just wanted my kids to be able to see what happens to the seed in the wet paper towel through the clear plastic cup.  Lily and Jasper had the most fun playing with the water and the paper towels, getting them wet, squishing them out, getting them wet, and squishing the water out all over again. 

The experiment in the book is about how gravity affects the roots' growth (geotropism), but we amended it a bit. We did get the paper towels wet and squish them into the plastic cups and push some bean seeds into the cup in different directions, but in addition to hypothesizing about which way we thought the roots would grow, we also guessed which way the plants would grow.

I love Jasper's attempt at writing his name on the cup!

Then we placed them in our warm sunny windowsill and  checked them every day to see if they needed more water.

It took less than a week for the beans to sprout and grow. 

And now we are ready to plant them in the garden with the rest of our Legos...I mean beans!!