Planting Seeds

Those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are heading into spring and many of us are looking forward to growing vegetables in our own summer gardens. In my state we have a Cooperative Extension Service that provides lots of information and offers activities about farming in my area. With snow still on the ground, I’m dreaming of planting my garden. Since I’m in the city, I’m planning to start small this year with a few tomato plants in big pots, and some spinach and onions in a small bed. I look forward to my tiny harvest of spaghetti sauce!

We know that human activity does pollute the environment and that it can cause climate changes. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one way of helping to limit climate change. We also now know that driving a car is a major cause of climate change as the car emissions release carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. One way greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced is by growing one’s own food so that driving to market doesn’t happen so often. So, planting seeds is a great start to reducing the pollution of our planet!
Photo from Pixaby

Wishful thinking doesn’t make my garden grow, so first I have to buy some seeds and soil. Since my growing season is so short, I have to start my plants indoors. Many of you using the Oak Meadow science curriculum are planting seeds, recording their growth, and also exploring and reporting on different types of soils. This website from the Smithsonian National Museum of History is awesome: Dig It! The Secrets of Soil. I compost vegetable and fruit matter so I have some good soil to start with. I’ll also purchase some organic soil from a local landscape supplier to mix in. You may have studied the plant kingdom in the Oak Meadow 6th grade science curriculum and learned the difference between gymnosperms and angiosperms. I’ll be planting some angiosperms! My south facing windows will be a perfect place for starting my plants.

This student found a good spot outside to start the seeds!

If you are planting your own garden, and when you have a break from your farming, here’s a fun game to play to maintain a sustainable farm that grows healthy crops and reduces emissions! You might also enjoy reading Thor Hanson’s book The Triumph of Seeds. Visit his website to learn more about this. 
What are you planting? What are some ways that you help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your community?

Earth Day

Clip art from

Earth Day first began on April 22, 1970. Inspired to improve environmental protection laws in the United States, Gaylord Nelson, a Senator from Wisconsin, together with Pete McCloskey, a Congressman, and Denis Hayes, selected as the Earth Day organizer, joined forces to promote a day of events to bring public awareness to air and water pollution throughout the United States. People from all over the United States planned clean-up activities and rallies for improving the health of the environment. The event was so powerful that the United States Environmental Protection Agency was created and later, in 1990, Earth Day became a global event.
Celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd with your family! This year the Earth Day theme centers around environmental and climate literacy. You can find more information here.
Clip art from

After a successful day of “creating your own act of green,” take the opportunity to watch (57 minutes) the first in the series of 7 videos about the planet Earth brought to you by Annenberg Learner Media.

A Seed of Life

In Your Time

By Leslie Daniels

In fertile ground, seeds are sown.

New life is found where warm winds blow.

With gentle rains, a garden grows.

Golden grains and sunlight glow.

In your time, seasons come and then they go.

In your time, there’s a plan in line for you to know.

Seeds are sown hidden deep

There to grow to be set free.

Light does yield a wondrous sight.

From earthly field, a dove takes flight.

In your time, reap what you sow from this common ground.

In your time, harvest all you know; share what you’ve found.

In the fourth grade science coursework, a seed investigation is conducted. It introduces the structure of the seed and the life force within. For many of us enthusiastic gardeners, it is common practice to collect seeds from our harvests and preserve them by storing these selected seeds over the winter in a proper environment. Sometimes, we don’t use those seeds for several years, and if the conditions are right, they will still grow.
1information_items_178The life force within a seed is truly a miracle, but it’s even more miraculous when a seed is actually preserved for thousands of years. Currently, the record for the oldest seed that was regenerated into a plant is a 32,000-year-old flowering plant native to Siberia, known as the Silene stenophylla. It was discovered by a Russian team who discovered the seed cache that had been buried by an Ice Age squirrel near the banks of the Kolyma River.
Even in the United States, old seeds have been discovered, planted and grown. One of my Oak Meadow families recently shared an amazing squash seed discovery found on a Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. As we enter the middle of winter and begin to think about going through our seed collections in preparation for the upcoming gardening season, it might be fun to do a little research and discover the oldest seed in your state or country!

Planting seeds!

On this cold winter day I am thinking about spring! images-2
It is hard to imagine as I look out my window at three feet of snow, that spring is just a few weeks away.
This time of year I love looking at seed catalogs and dreaming about planting crops of potatoes, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, squash and cabbages! (In reality, the last few years I’ve been satisfied with tomatoes and green peppers in pots!) It warms the heart to think about fresh vegetables growing right in one’s own garden.
In the Oak Meadow science curriculum there are some assignments that require students to plant seeds. I found this great idea for seedling pots in Scratch Magazine and I just had to share it! I’m going to give it a try when I plant my seeds for my garden.images-3