Tag Archives: botany

This Year’s Garden At Smokey House

This year’s garden at Smokey House is dope.  At first I wasn’t excited about it, but eventually I started to enjoy gardening.  It’s like tacos – you don’t know why you like ’em, you just like ’em!  Or, it’s kind of more like a cake.  You have eggs, flour, sugar and other stuff.  Each is one thing that doesn’t taste good at all.  Then you put them together and it’s enjoyable. Some of the ingredients for a garden are tilling, weeding, digging, compost, fertilizer, starting seeds inside, transplanting them outside.  It’s very satisfying when the seeds sprout up from the ground.  It’s gonna be my new hobby!

 

The War on Crops

Something’s been eating the pea shoots in our garden, and it won’t let them grow. At first I didn’t even know there was anything wrong with them until my teacher showed me. So I went out and looked at them, and it turns out there were little bites being taken out of them. I didn’t know what it could’ve been. So, I did my research and found out that it could be a finch in this area. I went on Google and googled what could be eating my pea shoots. I found an article about this one guy who was struggling with his pea shoots for


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eight years. He didn’t know what was eating his pea shoots either, so he tried a few different things over eight years. On one day, he was sitting on his porch, drinking a beer, and saw the pea shoots moving in the garden. So, he went and got his binoculars and looked down at his garden and saw a little finch eating away at the top of his pea plants. So, he made a hoop house with bird netting on the top high enough so the plants could grow, which also made it hard for him to get into his plants. So, hopefully that will work for our garden as well as yours if you try it.

In another part of our garden, we noticed that something has been eating at the leaves of our radishes and kale. So, we went straight to flea beetles because we’ve suspected that we’ve had a problem with them in past years. We googled them, and it turns out that their favorite foods are kale and radish leaves and that they are really small and jump like fleas. So, we went out to the garden and looked to see if we could determine what exactly they were. We determined that they were flea beetles.

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How do you get rid of flea beetles?  There are many different ways.  We don’t know how well they work.  But a few are:

  • Trap crop – a crop that you don’t really need, but they’re attracted to.
  • Coffee grounds – sprinkle around the seedlings
  • Crushed egg shells – just sprinkle them over the flea beetles
  • Soapy water – spray it on the plant
  • Ladybugs – let them live in your garden.  They eat or kill ’em.

We aren’t really trying any of these, but we have some ladybugs and some trap crops in our garden, and we’re hoping we don’t have to do anything!

 

 

MY BEAN EXPERIMENT AT SMOKEY HOUSE!

Introduction

For the past few weeks at Smokey House we’ve been doing a bean experiment to determine if different music can change the growth of a plant. I used two very different genres of music, country and rap, and one bean with no music. I chose music because it was the easiest topic and plants do not hear things. People say that music can effect plants, but plants cannot hear. My hypothesis was that the music would not affect the growth of the plants.

Methods

I planted five beans, labeled two country, two rap, and one control. Two listened to rap music, two listened to country, and one listened to nothing. They each listened to music an hour every Friday in different closets, with the lights off, and the music playing at the same volume on each device. I measured the height of the stalk length every other school day. I gave them each a third a cup of water every time we watered them.

Results

Country #1 grew better than the rest of them. It grew 16cm by the end of the experiment, rap #2 and country #2 didn’t grow at all, rap #1 grew 1cm, and the control grew 2cm.

Conclusion/Discussion

I believe plant country #1 grew a lot more than the other plants because it was listening to country music. Because the country music is softer and not as verbally abusive towards plants. I was completely off on my hypothesis because the country music did change the growth of the plant, and the rap music changed the growth in a bad way and made it so it did not grow as much.

Next time, I would switch the rap to rock and see if it is the genre of music that affects the plants rather than. Water is another thing that may have affected the plant growth, and the density of the soil. We should have made the amount of water and how it gets water a controlled variable. The end.

Benthic Dwellers

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Though it is very common that there are organisms and micro-organisms that habit streams, rivers and lakes, it may catch you off guard how many there actually are! Today at the Smokey House center we had the chance to get our feet wet and our hands dirty. We partook in a lesson where the objective was to identify different types of organisms we found lying beneath the water that are visible to the human eye, also referred to as benthic macro-invertibrates. To my surprise we managed to find more than expected. The group of us pulled up dozens of organisms such as caddisfly’s, stonefly’s, aquatic worms and black fly’s. Everyone enjoys being in the water but few know how many different creatures dwell below them, chiefly during the winter.

Pumpkins and Basil

The basil tops were nipped by frost.
The basil tops were nipped by frost.

It’s Wednesday, and finally we have a warm sunny day. The first frosts have blackened the tops of the basil, finished off the cucumbers and attacked the pole beans. However, the parsley and cilantro weren’t worried by the cold, and the bees are still buzzing around the oregano and the thyme.

We've grown 160 mini-pumpkins and 33 pie pumpkins
We’ve grown 160 mini-pumpkins and 33 pie pumpkins

We harvested the last of the pumpkins and moved them to the terrace to continue curing in the sun. We also harvested herbs to hang up and dry inside, and as always, we bring in whatever is ready, like the last cukes and the latest tomatoes to ripen.

Before lunch we pulled out the old cider press and checked that all the parts were there.  We plan to test it out on Friday.IMG_6977

For lunch we made insalata caprese, an Italian tomato, basil and mozzarella salad, drizzled with blueberry balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It was luscious and worthy of a fancy restaurant. This afternoon after blog writing, we moved to botany, studying the structure of leaves and how to use them to identify trees and other plants.  We spent some time with a variety of leaves, categorizing them by structure and using the field guides to identify a mystery tree.  (We figured out it was a basswood.)IMG_6979