Friday, January 15, 2016

5th Graders Propagate Plants by Cuttings

The 5th graders learned about propagating plants by taking cuttings this week. Propagating is reproducing or multiplying. Thomas Jefferson propagated plants by saving and planting seeds but also by taking cuttings.

We propagated by using the stem of the plants and placing the cutting in a soilless mixture such as perlite or vermiculite. The kids did this after dipping the tip of the stem in rooting hormone that increases the chance that roots will develop.

The students chose their cuttings from the following plants: pothos, geranium, African violet, Mexican sage, rosemary, lavender and red buckwheat.  Each class now has several pots containing the cuttings that they will be taking care of.

The procedure:
1. Fill pot with perlite or vermiculite.
2. Select freshly cut stem of plant about 3" long.
3. Dip tip of stem in rooting compound.
4. Stick stem in pot. If necessary, make a hole in the perlite with a pencil.
5. Spray perlite with water.
6. Tent the pot with plastic wrap or a baggie to create humidity.
7. Keep perlite moist.
8. Keep pot in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight.
8. Check pot in 3-4 weeks to see if roots have developed.
A future geranium plant

After planting, the kids washed their hands and made salad. They chose their ingredients from quinoa, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, parsley and cilantro. The dressing options included buttermilk dressing, olive oil and lemon juice. I find that quinoa tastes best when combined with vegetables and herbs and they seemed to like it that way too! The carrots were raw and the broccoli was either steamed or roasted. Thanks to Carolyn Hasselkorn for volunteering today.
The kids love broccoli!

The buttermilk dressing recipe is from Bon Appetit magazine.

Buttermilk dressing
Makes 1/2 cup
• 3/4 cup buttermilk
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Combine all the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.
Choosing ingredients for salad

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