Tag Archives: Photosynthesis

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Leaves

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Leaves

Leaves are such fun! We love to see them stretch themselves in our little peat pots in the early spring. We love to see them set themselves ablaze in the dog days of summer and the proclamation of fall. We take treks to behold the wonder that are leaves.

So, what are they? How can we help them be healthy in our gardens?

Leaves are the organs of photosynthesis, typically flattened and thin. Although some leaves have adapted to be quite unrecognizable as a leaf in the way we think of leaves. The leaves of conifers are those needles you pull out of your carpet for six months after Christmas. The leaves of succulents are fat and juicy, sometimes waxy or pokey. (Pokey is a technical term, don’t try this at home)

Leaves come in a gazillion shapes, sizes and colors. Like people. (Gazillion, another technical term) = )

Leaves in my garden are the indicators of health for my plants. If they’re perky, green and abundant, life is good. Proceed with gusto. If they’re droopy, sallow and sketchy, an intervention of some sort is necessary. Proceed with caution. If they are rotted, brown and chewed on, well, it may be time for a new hobby or at least some new plants. Proceed to the seed catalog or knitting store, whichever seems logical at the time.

Leaves perform the duties of changing the energy in sunlight chemically into a form of energy or food for the plant. Think of them as tiny little powerhouses. They arrange themselves in such a way that they get the most amount of sunlight they can without shading their brother and sister leaves. If you’re even half observant in your garden you’ll see leaves turn themselves towards the radiance of the sun. It’s amazing.

Cucumber stretching to the sun!

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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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