Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Herbology Comparisons


We've been seeing a lot of the Muggles' latest way to get along without magic of late. The Topsy Turvey is a hanging bag in which you grow your tomatoes upside down. All of us at HH are fascinated by this invention, but unwilling to pay what they charge to give it a go. Then last night I was chatting with Kell (a Minnesotan Hogwarts Homeschooler) about this very thing, & she informed me that she was planning to make her own! Well if that doesn't have the makings of an Herbology project, I don't know what does.

From researching on the Mugglenet, I've seen many ways people have created their own upside down planters. The one Kell suggested; & the one we'll be using here at HH; is the reusable grocery bag. Of course you should poke around, to find the planter that best suits you & the ages of your students. For instance: Some use plastic buckets that require drilling. If you dig that sort of thing, or have older kids, then you should choose to go that route. I'm lazy, & have extra grocery bags, hence my choice. The bag needs to be the more durable of the reusable ones. Ours came from a Muggle shop called Trader Joe's, is made of a woven plastic, & has strong handles.

We shall plant one tomato plant upside down in the bag, & an identical tomato plant in a pot of the same size. Over the summer we'll compare how the plants are doing, making notes of any differences we see, (Those with gardens could even plant a third in the ground for observation - extra credit!). Your students can compare & track height, health, bugs, disease, size of fruits, number of fruits, taste of fruits, & so on. How does growing upside down affect the plant? The fruit?You get the idea.

What you'll need:

2 tomato plants (same variety, & size) - 1 sturdy, reusable grocery bag - 1 planter of the same size - potting soil - duct tape (optional)

Cut a small x in the bottom of your grocery bag. If you are concerned that over time the x will rip, reinforce it with duct tape. We'll be leaving ours to chance, so omitting that step. Remove your plant from it's pot, & gently poke it through the x. Now I don't think I have to say this, but just in case: You'll be poking the plant out through the x so it faces downward. Next fill the remainder of the bag with soil, water deep, & hang it in the sunshine from its handles.

Plant the other in the pot, & you're all set.

Suggestions: Choose a variety of tomato that  does well in a pot. Place your bag & pot in the same area., so the experiment will be more accurate. Water daily. Avoid placing them in a windy spot - tomatoes do not do well in wind. You can also do cucumbers this way, if your kids prefer them to tomatoes - Lemon Cukes are an excellent choice.

To Potterfy: Use Hogwartsy fonts, & parchment when creating your charts for keeping track of things. Send your Owls from Prof. Sprout. Change wording: water to gillywater, tomato plants to non-venomous-fruiting tentacular, & so on.

~Prof. Kat

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, we have an accidental project that could work like this, too! We planted six tomato plants from the garden center. Two tomato volunteers sprung out of our compost pile. I transplanted one near the other six, and I'm going to leave the other where it is. Now we just have to get out our Herbology notebooks and keep watch!