This week on the Howdy Farm involved a lot of planting seeds. There were tons and tons of seeds that germinated this week and tons more that just got planted. Now this time, not everything planted was specifically to be grown the Howdy Farm. As a farm, we sell produce, usually at the Bryan farmers market. However, once a semester we will have a large plant sale. At the sale, we will have plenty of produce to buy (unless I eat all of the cucumbers we grow), but we will also sell little six-pack trays of plants that you can take and grow at home. For example, we have dill and kale where instead of just buying the vegetables from us you can grow it yourself! It's super fun and also so important to know how to grow your food. Plus it's fun!
So as I mentioned, we planted a lot of seeds this week. The picture above is of a raised bed in which I worked. It's under a large rosebush growing on a trellis and behind our tall bay tree. So this bed is hiding under some serious shade. So Corey watered the bed and made rows for me. Then I came behind him planting beet seeds in the row one inch apart. We planted beets here because they don't require too much sunlight. The morning sun the bed receives should be sufficient for them to grow.
Since I spent so much time with seed this week, I thought it might be cool to teach a little bit about how seeds develop. I know most of us learned this process a long time ago in the fifth grade, but maybe I can give you some new information on a more collegiate scale.
Hopefully, everyone already knows how a seed looks. The most familiar would probably be the lima beans we all planted in elementary school. They are small little seeds that you can split open, and they are symmetrical.
Now as the plant continues to grow everything is still underground, but the plant needs sunlight. So the hypocotyl grows so it can pull the rest of the seed above ground. Eventually, it will reach the surface and begin to get the sunlight it needs to pull everything but the roots above the soil. I know it sounds a little strange so let me show you a picture.
You can see in the picture to the left how the stem is pulling the rest of the seed out of the soil. Then to the right is what the plant will look like once everything but the root is out of the ground. In this picture, you can even see whats left of the seed coat still covering the soft part of the seed or the cotyledons. Cotyledons are the part that contains the first leaves that grow on the plant. From these first leaves, we can tell many things about the plant!
All life on earth is classified into a system. Most commonly plants are called by their genus and species. For the lima bean we've been using as our example, it's Latin 'genus/species' name is Phaseolus lunatus. Then further into classification if what type of plant it is. Is is vascular or nonvascular? Does it produce seeds or spores? Since most plants we know about are flowering, seed-bearing plants we will look further into those.
Flowering plants or angiosperms will either be monocots or dicots. These two words sound pretty similar to a bunch of other words I've used in this blog. Hypocotyls, cotyledons, and now monocots and dicots. So just a cotyledon refers to the first leaves so do monocot and dicot, these terms, however, refer to how many first leaves the plant will create and grow. Mono means one, so all monocots will only have one first leaf, like grasses. Di means two so all dicots will have two first leaves. So based on this knowledge what do you think our bean plants are?
If this is what our first leaves look like, then your plant is a monocot just like our bean plants here! Well, now you'll be able to tell what kind of plant you're buying at our plant sale!
Well, I am going to enjoy some fresh grown cucumber from this beautiful plant here and can't wait to write about next week!