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Math lessons in the garden with kids: Germination tests

The tomato is a ubiquitous fruit in the gardens of the world. Along with apricots and peaches, a bite of tomato fills the mouth with pure and perfect sunlight. At Kids Seed Co. we have a great fondness for the yellow pear tomato and our kids eat their veggies before dinner while afternoon gardening mid-summer.

Here’s my question children: How do we know our seeds will grow? Some suggested planting them to find out, one wanted to eat them and another seemed indignant that I would suggest they might not grow. After a few disagreements and snacks, I got around to the answer. We know our seeds will grow because we test them.

The garden offers numerous opportunities for children to experiment with big-time life lessons. The stages of plant development, the life of bugs and the dance between predator and prey illustrate cyclical life. The process of testing our seeds to see how many of a selected number grow (germination rate) offers a good ol’ fashioned math lesson.

We planted 50 of our pear tomatoes in starter pots on Valentine’s Day. We tucked the little seeds into good potting soil and set them in a south facing window. After nine days of screaming wrestling matches over whose turn it was to use the spray bottle, we had sprouts. The hard outer shell of the tomato seed had softened and the leafy sprout of the seed headed up towards the sun while the root went down into the soil.

Our seeds germinated! (The adults in Kids Seed Co. were aware they would prior to our germination activity having tested them around Christmas time.) The kids were thrilled! There was talk around the plant table of some powerful magic mixed in with all the basic science we are learning. When the excitement of new life subsided, we talked mathematics.

Germination Rate:

46 of the 50 yellow pear tomato seeds germinated

46/50 =  0.92

For 2018, Kids Seed Co. yellow pear tomatoes have a germination rate of 92%

After following the mathematical process, one of the kids posed the question, “Why do we care about the germination rate?”

We care because we want our Kids Seed Co. customers to have great odds of growing their own mouth full of sunlight!

Visit our catalog page to get yours! Thanks!