Today Ms. Abram's fourth graders learned how to plant tomatoes and what the terms on the label mean. They learned that there are two types of tomatoes-determinate and indeterminate and what they mean (determinate grow to a compact height, will all fruit around the same time; indeterminate will fruit continuously throughout the growing season). They also learned what hybrid and heirloom mean. (They understand the heirloom plants come from seeds that have been grown for many, many years. I used the example that some plants are still existing from Thomas Jefferson's time). They planted two hybrids and two heirlooms.
To plant the tomato:
- remove the bottom two or three stems. When planted underground, these stems, and the hairs on the stems will become roots. The kids understand that the more roots the better!
- gently loosen the roots
- plant the tomato deeply-not just at the level of the soil in the pot it comes in.
- water deeply
They also planted some beans that had germinated in the classroom.