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Tulip Garden Update: November 8, 2002

Today's Report Includes:

Gardeners Digging In!
Since last month's report a whopping 107 new gardens have been planted! Check the map to see if you can locate your garden. Who has the nearest garden to yours; who has the farthest away?


You can read all the wonderful comments these gardeners have sent (press the "owl button" and follow instructions), but here are a few-

11/04/02 Toronto, ON (43.42N,-79.25E)
"It's getting very cold, but we finally planted our tulips! Chester Le Junior Public School is in the north east section of Toronto. The grade three class had a great time preparing the soil and planting in a small garden near the front entrance of the school. They are concerned that the flowers will be stolen when they come up in the spring because some of the kids like to pick any flowers they see. This is a good opportunity for them to be advocates for respecting property." Kathy Kay's 4th Graders at Chester Le Jr. Public School

Schools near Washington DC lived through some hard times this fall and were relieved to finally go safely outside to plant:

11/01/02 Sterling, VA (38.99N,-77.45E)
"Our fourth graders planted the Red Emperor Tulip bulbs on Friday, Nov 1, 2002. Circumstances in our metropolitan area prevented us from planting prior to today. Children were not permitted to go outdoors." Sonja Niess 4th Graders at Meadowland Elementary
11/01/02 Bowie, MD (39.00N,-76.75E)
"We finally planted our tulips yesterday. It was cold and wet. We planted our tulips late because there was a dangerous situation in our community and we could not go outside. Now we can go outside and we feel excited about planting our tulips. WE feel safe now. We look forward to our tulips blooming." Frances Koontz's 3rd Graders at Rockledge Elementary School

Planting Partners:

10/29/02 Glace Bay, NS 46.2N, -59.95E)
" We planted our tulips on October 29, 2002. My grade ten students each had a grade four partner (one bulb per group). The weather was very cold and damp and they were frozen!! Our climate here is very damp and therefore our frost is usually later than other drier climates. We have had a small dusting of snow that melted right away and small amounts of morning frost that also dissipates with the sun in the morning. The grade ten students are emailing the grade fours to make sure that they understand the controls of the experiment and why we planted the way we did." Sandra Lablanc's students at Glace Bay High School

10/28/02 Albany, NY (42.65N,-73.75E)
"The Albany Visitors Center staff & 5th grade students from Albany School #20 really got their hands dirty as they planted the city's Official JN Tulip Garden on 10/28/02. Two local TV stations filmed the planting and everyone was delighted to make the news doing something GOOD!" Carol Ann Margolis and students

Teacher's Initials Form Garden Design:

10/24/02 Pequot Lakes, MN (46.67N,-94.24E)
"Our fall 2002 tulip planting started with four sixth grade boys cleaning up a garden. It started with frozen ground and weeds. Then we weeded out the garden with rakes, shovels and a hoe. Next we dug out the first grade teacher s last initials. Then we put down Bone Meal (fertilizer). Next the first graders put the tulip bulbs in the ground. Last we covered the initials with the dirt. It was fun and exciting to see the first graders involved with hands on science." Nic, Jeff, Drake, Peter / 6th grade scientists at the Middle School Pequot Lake

Resting All Winter?
Since last month 's report a whopping 107 new gardens have been planted!
Ms. Rand's CT First Graders reported that they planted a beautiful tulip garden, "We all planted the tulips and we hope to see a beautiful garden. I think they will blossom in April or August. Plants need rain, soil, food, air, sun, and rest. They will rest all winter!"

Out of Sight Out of Mind?
Read on to find out more about our underground bulbs:

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)

Did You Know?
We know from your reports and emails that tulips make tasty treats for deer, squirrels and even moose! Each year Journey North gardeners write to tell us that they have shared all or part of their tulip gardens with wild critters. Some of you have even learned that tulips are edible to humans&but BEWARE!

To learn more about these tasty, but sometimes nasty bulbs READ THIS!

And the Winner Is&
If there were a contest for the most tulips planted we would give the prize to the Albany New York. In preparation for their annual Tulip Festival over 200,000 tulips were planted. Cooperation between the Visitor Center staff and a local school brought this report on planting day, 10/28/02:

Students from two 5th grade classes at School #20 (570 N. Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12209) were delighted to plant an official Journey North garden with over 300 Red Emperor bulbs on Monday, October 28, 2002. Albany has been connected to the Dutch/Netherlands since Henry Hudson sailed up the river to this area in 1609. Each year the city celebrates their history with a Tulip Festival. This year students and others visiting the center will learn all about the history of Albany and will now be able to enjoy the Journey North garden, too.

Take a look at some of their planting activities:

Chalk in the Soil: Discussing Challenge Question #3
Choosing a site with good soil is important to consider when planting your tulips. How will all that chalk in the soil affect the French tulips? We asked you this:

"What is soil chalk and how does it affect the properties of the garden soil? Will it be helpful or harmful for tulips growing in it?"
Jonathan Koch put it into high gear to research this question! Here is his response:

I consulted our friend who is a soil scientist for the Federal Government. He said that the chalk in the soil would raise the pH from about 6.8-7.0 to approx. 7.6 to 8.0. and that this could effect the growth of the tulips. We also consulted a website that indicated that optimum soil pH for tulips is 6.0 to 7.0 but they will tolerate soil pH from 5.4 to 7.3. So depending on the amount of chalk surrounding the tulip bulb, we predict that the tulips will not be as vigorous as they might otherwise be. Just in case anyone was wondering, he said the ideal pH for corn growing is 6.5 to 7.0 (which is VERY important to know if you are a farmer in Illinois!).

"What If" Challenge Question #4 Stimulates Action!
Students wrote in to report lots of "what if" discussions and experiments.

Here is how students filled in the blank:
Tulip bulbs were planted ---

  • ten inches deep,
  • upside down
  • on their sides
  • bulbs one on top of the other
  • after we cut in half
  • removed the flower embryo from one bulb
  • planted in deep shade, or in semi-shade
  • after we smashed a bulb

Now we have to wait until spring moves to your garden to get your experimental results! Stay tuned!

Mapping Fall Data Exploring Challenge Question #5
"Do you think the date that tulips are planted this fall will affect the date that they emerge and bloom next spring? Why or why not? How could you test this?"

With our unusual fall weather there may not be a really clear pattern emerging. If you look closely you can see a slight trend in the planting order. The pattern shows earlier plantings in the northern part of continent (northern gardens get colder earlier and would be planted while it is still comfortable gardening weather). As we moved through November, more of the southern and coastal areas were digging in.
If you think there might be a pattern showing planting dates related to emerging dates, you could start out by listing the gardens planted in order by date. Then next spring you could compare these with the order of gardens emerging.

All in a Morning s Work
This fall, Journey North was invited to visit Mr. Kust s Fourth Graders at Breck School. We spent the morning of 10/16/02 preparing and planting their official Journey North garden. Here was the morning schedule:

9:00 AM Bulb Experiments:

Weigh Bulbs Calibrate triple beam balance
Weigh bulb, in grams
Measure Circumference Measure in mm
Make Predictions Use comparisons
Sketch Into Science Notebooks

10:00 AM Plant Outside

Label your bulb Place at bulb spot
Draw a Map Show where yours is

10:45 AM

Snack and Discussion 1. Graph bulb weight (class) and circumference
2. Calculate mean, median and range of each

11:15 AM

Discussions Experiments (What Ifs)

Take a peek at some of this activity:

How to Report to Journey North

Don't forget to report when you have PLANTED your Journey North Garden

As soon as you plant YOUR garden, be sure to let us know! In next month's update, we expect to have many garden locations to report to you.

Simply press the "Owl" button to report from your site. (From the same button, you can also "Go to the Sightings Database" and read comments from all gardeners.

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question

IMPORTANT: Answer only ONE question in each e-mail message.

1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-tulip@learner.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #6
3. In the body of the message, answer ONE of the questions above.

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on December 6, 2002.

Copyright 2002 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.
Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to our feedback form

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