My student

My student

Sunday, October 11, 2015

From Seed to Seed

I am going to call this the "Tomato Unit", even though it was certainly not thought out and planned in the way that a unit typically is. I didn't really "plan" anything besides growing tomatoes and we just winged it as we went along. It has been a blast, wait until you see Lu's face as evidence of that!

So, way back in March we planted our seeds:

We planted two kinds of heirloom seeds that I had saved a couple of years ago from tomatoes I got at the farmer's market. One is definitely called a "Mortgage Lifter" and I thought that the other was a "Black Zebra", but once they became ripe, I didn't feel certain anymore that's what they are, so I'm still trying to figure it out. 

After hardening them off for a few weeks on the back porch, we transplanted the tomatoes (and Brussels sprouts, but that will be another story), outside in Lu's new garden pace we created for her:

And they grew:

And grew until there were beautiful tomatoes for Lucy to pick:

We made yummy grilled cheese sandwiches with gorgeous slices of tomato inside of them. We ate Lu's tomatoes in salads, soups, and pasta. I made scrumptious fried green tomatoes:

Then, to prepare for growing even more tomatoes next summer, we started saving seeds from this year's tomatoes:

After several days of letting them sit on the counter the top gets covered by this colorful layer of mold:

Chad found this microscope on Amazon: USB microscope
You can hook it up to a computer with a usb cable, so we can hook it to Lu's Tobii, and then she can see whatever is being magnified on her Tobii screen.  The pictures above were also taken with the microscope. 

We then used her PODD book, (while cuddling in the couch) to look at the pictures of the mold and talk about what colors we saw in the mold. We took turns so I could model for her what I saw and so she could tell me what she was seeing. Then I made a list of the colors we saw. A few days later, when Lu was feeling in the mood to paint, we got out her fingerpaints, and the list of colors we saw in the mold, and she made her own representation of the mold we saw under the microscope:

After the mold had made the seeds separate from the gel that protects them from sprouting inside of the tomato, Lu helped me fill the containers with water, stir it all up, and separate the seeds so they could dry out and be saved for next year:

So, now we have seeds for planting next year.  Lucy got to see, and be personally responsible for, planting teeny tiny tomato seeds and helping them grow into actual tomatoes. And then storing away more seeds, from her own tomatoes for next year. I say it was a great success!