Hello from the Garden (1 of 3)

Plants are very like humans really. They need air, water, food and light to survive. But did you know, they also belong to a family? One way of identifying their family is by looking at the seed leaves.

As we learned earlier, the seed leaves are the first leaves to appear on the plant. They’ve been tucked away inside the seed, waiting for the right conditions to come out. The seed leaves provide a little store of food to get the plant started, and then once the plant sees the sun , it starts to make its own food and the seed leaves fall off.

In the photo, you can seed different seedlings ie pumpkins, gourds, courgette and squash. The big leaves you see are the seed leaves, and they all look the same, don’t they? This is because they all belong to the same family. There are lots of different families in the plant kingdom. Vegetables also belong to families, so for example, the cabbage family would include, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. What vegetables do you think might be in the onion family ( think smell and taste)?

So after the seed leaves appear, the true leaves start to grow and this is how we recognize what the plant is. Again, a bit like us, we can look similar as new born babies, but as we grow, our true personality starts to emerge and we are recognised as our own unique, special individual.

Anyway, the best way to see all this, is to go out into the garden, dig up a few seedlings and grow them on. Be like a little detective. Take pictures of them at each stage, seed leaves, true leaves, make comparisons, are they similar. Watch their growth habits. This way you get to study nature up close and learn to tell the difference between different plants. Write up your findings in your Nature Journal.