Plants' may have a short life, few weeks or months, but they go through distinct changes as they grow just as people do. Plants start their lives as seeds and seed germination is an important phase of a plant's life. Let's learn what's inside a seed and what it takes to make seeds grow.
PARTS OF A SEED:
Inside a seed is an embryo, which is a tiny plant. The outside of the seed has a seed coat, which protects the embryo from injury or drying out.
Germination is a stage where the plant grows from a seed. All seeds need moisture, oxygen and right temperature to germinate, or grow.
When the seeds start to grow their own roots, stems, and leaves, they are often called sprouts. Take a look at the video below to learn about germination and plant growth.
Once the plant has germinated, it needs food, just like people and animals, to keep growing. People and animals get their food by eating it. Plants make their own food by using air, water and energy from the sun. This process is call photosynthesis. During photosynthesis plant makes oxygen as a waste product, which helps us breathe. See the image below to learn more about photosynthesis:
As the plant grows, it moves to the budding phase. This is where you your plant flowers. In some cases, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, bottle gourds, etc., the flowers turn into fruits. This is where pollinators come into play. Pollinators like birds, butterflies, bees and some bugs can help carry pollen grains from one flower to the other. Once the pollen grains enter another flower, the flower fertilizes and changes becomes a fruit. This process is called pollination.
How important is pollination?
Very important, considering every fruit and vegetable we eat requires pollination, either via insect transfer or via the wind.
So, let's learn more about garden's best friends - the pollinators:
Bees are the best pollinators for your garden. They buzz from flower to flower collecting nectar and transporting pollen and fertilizing them. This in turn helps produce more flowers and fruits. Nectar from the flowers is used to make honey. Bees are attracted to flowers by their scent, colour or nectar.
Not only are butterflies beautiful, they help pollinate plants, just like bees. They get nectar from one flower and then fly to another to help pollination. Butterflies get attracted bright, colourful flowers.
A fun garden activity is to keep a diary of all butterflies that visit your garden.
Birds such as sparrows and hummingbirds are great chirpy buddies of your garden. Not only do they help keep pests under control (by eating them), they can also help with pollination. Keep a bird feeder in your garden to attract more birds.
Once the pollination is completed, the flower gets fertilized and it produces a seed, which in turn becomes a fruit.
TIME TO LEARN ON YOUR OWN
Now that you have learned about how a plant grows, its time to try out your own little garden. Plant a seed and take notes about how it grows and what pollinators help it grow. Its a great activity and will help you learn more about the workings of a garden.