Tulip Garden Update: April 23, 1999
But as you plot spring's journey north on your map, don't forget: There are people who are STILL WAITING. "As of April 19 we still have 20 inches of snow," report the gardeners in Utsjoki, Finland (69.90N, 26.90 E).
Holland is famous for growing tulips, so we wondered:
Why Do Dutch Farmers Cut the Flowers?
Discussion of Challenge Question #14
"We think that the Dutch farmers remove the bloom from the plant because they are interested in growing bulbs, not flowers. They sell the bulbs to other gardeners. Right now, we are selling bulbs at school (not tulips!) and so we know that people need to just buy the bulb. By taking the flower off, the leaves can make food just for the bulb. The bulb is then bigger and hardy."
Third Graders - Ardenia, Eliza, Jesse and Cameron of Ferrisburgh, VT (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Leave the Leaves!
By the way, after your tulips bloom this spring, don't cut the leaves! Let them collect energy from the sun--that's their job. The energy will go into the new bulbs that will develop underground. Wait until the leaves are completely brown before cutting them off. That's when you know their job is done.
What's Going on Underground?
Dig up one tulip today, bulb and all, and sketch what you see. Plan to dig up another one every 2 weeks, until summer vacation. But before you start, predict what you will see at various stages. How will the size and weight of a bulb compare to its size and weight when you planted it last fall? How will it change over the next few weeks? (And don't listen to us- experiment! Is it true that the leaves make the bulb grow? Cut the leaves from some tulips and not others. Does this seem to affect the bulbs?)
Where is the Heat Coming From?
Discussion of Challenge Question #16
We asked you to explain the surprise we found in our own garden: "When the air temperature was 2 degrees F BELOW zero, why do you think the soil temperature was 27 degrees F ABOVE zero? Where was the heat coming from?"
From Ira W. Travell School in Ridgewood, NJ came the answer:
And from students at Canton Country Day School in Canton, OH:
Did You Know?
What Does the Ocean Have to Do With Tulips?
In our last report, Challenge Question #15 asked you to compare two places across the ocean from one another. We asked: "Why do you think tulips were already BLOOMING in Holland (52 N) when they were only EMERGING across the ocean, in places like Burlington, VT (44 N) and Franklin, NH (43 N)?"
Students in Ohio and Vermont had exactly the same answer:
Challenge Question #18
"On April 22, what was the temperature--at sea level--on the coast of Holland? What was the temperature--at sea level--on the coast of New Hampshire? Now why do you think tulips grow earlier in Holland? (In your answer, explain the cause. Based on this map and Journey North tulip data, what can you say about temperatures in North America and Europe?)
(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions
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