Bonnie’s Crazy Cabbage

Robert Jette at Frederick Douglass Elementary has his third graders participating in Bonnie Plants3rd grade cabbage program, which I had never ever heard of:

In 2002, Bonnie Plants started the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program with a mission to inspire a love of vegetable gardening in young people. Each year, we distribute more than one million free cabbage plants to 3rd Grade classrooms across the country. As part of the program, Bonnie Plants awards a $1,000 scholarship to one student in each state. Teachers submit a class winner and a child is chosen by each state’s Director of Agriculture. […]

Why a cabbage? It was the first plant sold by our company in 1918. The cabbages are the O.S. Cross variety, which is known for producing giant, oversized heads, making the process even more exciting for kids. Some kids have grown cabbages weighing more than 50 pounds! 

Sounds exciting!  I would definitely try this out with my kids if I were back in the classroom!

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Why do tree leaves turn red in fall?

Here in North Texas, we don’t start to see the leaves change (usually) until well into late October and November.  But changing leaves are a key indicator to students of the changing seasons.  The folks at Earth & Sky address the science behind the color change:

Bill Hoch is a plant physiologist at the University of Wisconsin. He’s especially interested in red leaves. He said:

Nature is very efficient, and doesn’t just do something for no reason. So we figured there had to be some purpose for the production of these pigments in autumn.

For much of the year, green leaves help convert sunlight into food. In the fall, trees break down the green pigments and nutrients stored in the leaves. As the leaves of the tree begin to change, nutrients are shuttled into the roots for reuse in the spring. Hoch suspected that some trees produce red pigments as a kind of sunscreen, protecting leaves from sunlight while the tree stores nutrients.