CALS at the Market
The University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences cannot offer its regular Summer of Science program at the Moscow Farmers Market in 2020.
But we have a little plan to keep your kids’ interest in science growing.
We are giving away 100 packets that include some sunflower seeds and some facts about the sunniest flowers around.
The packets will be very simple.
That’s because we hope your young scientists will think up ways to decorate it themselves — maybe with a drawing of a sunflower.
Our packets will be available through the Motor-In Moscow Farmers Market at https://www.localline.ca/motor-in-moscow-farmers-market. More information is available from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you have a Sunflower Summer kit, you’re ready to do some science. You can start by writing down some information to keep track of information.
- First off, what do the seeds look like?
- Do all of the seeds have stripes?
- Are all of the seeds the same color?
- Are they all the same size?
Remember scientists write things down to help them understand if there is a pattern.
- Does the biggest seed make the biggest plant? You will have to wait until September to find out.
We will have lots of other suggestions on things to write down later on. For example, how many days did it take for your sunflowers to sprout?
- Did all of the seeds you planted sprout?
- Did all of the seeds sprout on the same day?
Later, you could write down, when did new leaves start to grow?
- How much did the plant grow each week?
- How many days did it take for the plant to make a flower?
- How tall was it?
- What color was the flower?
We are planting our own little sunflower garden by Winco in Moscow so you can compare your sunflowers with ours. And we will ask you from time to time how yours are growing.
We plan to have lots more information about our little project online at www.uidaho.edu/sunflowers.
Scientists call them Helianthus annuus, which means sunflower and one year in Latin, biology’s official way to name living things. Heli means sun, anthus means flower and annuus means it lives only one year. For plants, that means one growing season.
- People love sunflowers for many different reasons.
- Gardeners love them because they are easy to grow, and they are beautiful.
- People love them because they feed pollinators like butterflies and bees.
- People love them because their seeds taste good, and we can eat sunflower buds and oil, too.
Here are some cool facts about sunflowers
- Sunflowers turn to follow the sun.
- The tallest sunflower grew 30-feet, 1-inch tall. It was taller than some houses.
- One sunflower is made up of thousands of tiny flowers.
- One sunflower can have 2,000 seeds.
- There are hundreds of different sunflower varieties that each looks or grows a little different.
- People have been growing sunflowers for 3,000 years.
- Sunflowers, like potatoes, corn and squash, all grew in the Americas first. Now people all over the world grow them.
- Some sunflowers have one head; others have many.
The packet will contain 20 sunflower seeds. If all of them grow, your patch could give you thousands of seeds to feed the birds or to save for next year to grow more.
We hope you will try growing some sunflowers. You can put them in a garden, in a little patch of dirt somewhere or a in a flowerpot. You could even recycle a gallon milk jug to make a sunflower planter.
Here’s the best way to grow a sunflower.
Find a nice sunny spot. Dig a little hole in some loose soil and plant a sunflower seed about 1-inch deep, then cover it up. Pour enough water on the soil to make it moist — not soggy. Water the soil every few days just enough to keep it moist.
Do this for each little sunflower seed. Plant them about 12 inches apart if you can in a little row. Remember to label each row A, B or C to remember which kind of seed went where.
Your sunflowers should sprout in 5 to 7 days if the soil is warm enough.
A Summer of Science
CALS student prepares for future career