Saturday, March 12, 2016

Plant Anatomy 101

The Green LIONS Garden Group kicked off their spring program with their first meeting of the year last week. With surprisingly spring-like weather outside we could all envision our spring garden and the veggie goodness to come. If we plan to grow plants, first we need to learn a bit about them, especially their anatomy.

From roots to fruit, students learned all six anatomical areas of edible plants—roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds. Each plant is unique in how they present these parts and whether these parts are edible on a particular plant.

Did you know an eggplant is really just a big berry? And in plant anatomical terms, did you know broccoli florets are considered flowers, and a bell pepper would be considered a fruit? A fruit is the part of the plant that surrounds its seeds. So many of the vegetables we commonly eat are actually the fruit of the plant. Maybe calling them “fruit” can help us convince kids to eat more vegetables!

Students enjoyed a Plant Anatomy Relay Race in the warm air. They divided into three groups and chose plants from a grab bag that they had to both identify and determine its anatomical part categories before returning to their group. Each bag had a tricky choice but students quickly categorized their veggie bag contents into their correct anatomical parts.

Next, we toured the garden to see the last of the over-wintering plants and the perennials that are awaiting their spring awakening. Spying a large patch of chickweed some students grabbed handfuls to take home to start their olive oil infusion for making bug bite balm—a GLGG favorite. See the recipe in our last post.

We are excited to embark onour program for this school year, with new students and some club veterans. We can look forward to dirty hands, nourished bellies, sun-kissed cheeks and a full toolbox of strategies to live in harmony with nature.

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