Plant Reproduction

It was a bitter sweet day with my Toluca Lake Elementary students; today was the last day of gardening class!!  (with these 3 classes, anyways)

Though it was sad, that didn’t stop us from getting some serious garden learning and garden work done.

Today’s topic: Asexual vs. Sexual Reproduction in Plants

When we think of plant reproduction, our mind usually goes to flowers, bees, pollen, fruits and seeds.  But did you know many plants can reproduce without those things?   That some plants are actually clones of other plants!?

Yep, asexual reproduction (reproduction without the sex organs like flowers and seeds) is when a plant is able to reproduce by cloning a part of its body, giving the offspring the exact same genetic make up of its “parent” plant.    Examples of this include potatoes, mint, onions and garlic.  (Ever notice any of these guys sprouting on your kitchen counter top??)

Sexual reproduction in plants is the iconic way we think about plant reproduction.   Starting with a seed sprout, flowers bloom, carrying the pollen and ovules.  Flowers are pollinated and a fruit forms, which carries the seed.  And the cycle starts again!   Examples of this are all fruits that we eat!IMG_0856

 

To demonstrate this (and to get some garden work done) we planted both pea seeds and garlic cloves.   A garlic clove, while not a seed, will produce a garlic clone and eventually grow into a whole bulb with only one parent plant; creating a clone of itself.   Both these crops are winter friendly crops, and will enjoy the cool Southern California fall days that are coming our way.

IMG_0855After our planting, our students got a chance to try whole roasted garlic cloves on bread and topped with a fresh basil leaf from the garden.    To my surprise, they loved the garlic!   We discussed how garlic is good for our bodies, boosting our immune system and protecting us from colds and flus.

A wonderful way to end the first rotation at Toluca Lake Elementary.   A hearty goodbye to my 3rd and 4th graders!!

Jessica Brown