Category Archives: Stuff you Missed in Botany

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Photosynthesis

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis: a biochemical reaction using a carbon molecule to produce an organic molecule, using sunlight as a catalyst

This is what you missed in Botany (or have forgotten from 7th grade science) explained three ways.

It’s a great idea to try to understand photosynthesis if you are a gardener. This can help you understand why plants react the way they do to our particular lighting conditions. This can also help us figure out where we want to plant things in order for them to be the most “photo” happy, thus giving us our desired result, a thriving plant.

Okay, so what is photosynthesis?

My four kids have all been home schooled for all of their academic careers. My two oldest kids are now in college. I have a son in 8th grade and a son in 1st grade. All four have taken, or in Patrick’s case, will take, Botany.

Ryan and Meghan were a breeze to teach. Ryan is a visual-spatial learner so I wrote everything out with charts and diagrams. Meghan is an audio learner so I spoke the lessons as well setting things to music whenever possible.

I’m saying all this to tell you that I learned I had to explain things different ways in order to get the same material across to four different people learning things four different ways. That’s how I’ll explain photosynthesis now. Three ways.

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Stuff You Missed in Botany: Germination

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Germination

One of my favorite Podcasts is Stuff You Missed History Class. I thought it might be enjoyable use this format to talk about stuff in Botany that will help gardeners.

With everyone getting their seed packets out, I think it’s a good time to talk about germination. Learning about seeds can help you increase your germination rates, helping you get more plants to yield each year. We all want that, right?

For the most part, a seed is very much like a chicken egg. They have a shell, or seed coat, an embryo that is a baby plant, and a food source, called cotyledons.

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Phat Tuesday! pH Levels. Oy Vey!

Phat Tuesday! pH Levels. Oy Vey!

pH levels and what to do about them.

I am not a scientist. I do not play one on TV. However, my degree was in Library Science, which has enabled me to find out some of what scientists know.

Unfortunately, some of the information I was able to find seemed to be written in a foreign language of which I am not familiar. I speak Geek, but I wouldn’t say I was fluent in it.

Here’s what I was able to distill about pH levels.

  1. pH levels are a measure of the acidity (sourness) and alkalinity (sweetness) of soil.
  2. A numerical scale is used to express the pH level. The scale goes from 0.0 to 14.0, with 0.0 being most acid and 14.0 being most alkaline. 7.0 is considered neutral.
  3. It seems that pH levels are not a measure of soil fertility, but instead is an indication of the availability of access to the the nutrients. For instance, soil may contain adequate nutrients and yet plants may not be able to access those nutrients because of an unfavorable pH level.

What does that mean for gardeners? I think of it this way. I have four kids, they have four different values of nutritional needs in order to function properly. However, all four have different tastes and preferences. In order to make sure they get what they need, it may be necessary to make it palatable for them.

For example, all four need vitamin C. I could put out four glasses of orange juice for them to drink. But if Ryan doesn’t like orange juice, he won’t drink it. Meghan is on a diet so she leaves hers as well. Jonathan doesn’t like the pulp so his goes untouched. Patrick loves orange juice and drinks all four. Three of them did not benefit from the available juice or receive the vitamin C they needed. One of them is going to need the restroom in about 20 minutes.

Scenario #2, Necessary nutrient: Vitamin C

Ryan loves hot and spicy anything and loves vegetables. I give him a salad with jalapenos and sweet red peppers and tomatoes. Vitamin C delivered.

Meghan is on a diet. I give her half a grapefruit. Vitamin C delivered.

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