It’s been an amazing surprise to discover that the Sorghum seeds that germinated at Brambleside school have successfully grown into healthy mature Sorghum plants bearing large seed heads! This crop is usually a source of grain in hot and dry parts of the world where other cereal crops cannot survive. It’s come as a real surprise to see them do so well in a sheltered sandy soil in another Northamptonshire primary school.
We feel real inspired to investigate this further next year by growing them in containers outside containing different types of soil.
white Sorghum bearing many seed heads which we will attempt to grow next year.
This is the question Year 3 and 4 are investigating at the moment. Using time lapse photography and our loyal light bank to observe the development of a range of crops we hope to find the answer soon!
We have been amazed at how quickly the seeds have germinated (3 days) and how healthy the young plants are looking so far.
We have chosen the ancient ‘Kamut’ wheat, modern wheat, field beans, oil seed rape and Sorghum, which is grown in very hot countries! The soils we have chosen are, home made compost! , pure sand, garden loam and a clay soil from a river bank.
The Results Are In
Thank you to all the children working hard to carefully measure our plants after 6 weeks of setting up the crops growing in sand. The results make very interesting reading and do answer our question. Yes, soil type does make a massive difference highlighting that different crops prefer different soils. The wheat grew very badly in the sand with half the leaves dying, on the other hand Sorghum, the tropical crop, preferred it above all other soils! The beans also did well in sand. What conclusions can you draw from our results?
In a final analysis class 4AR concluded that from this experiment they found that the soil type really does matter with different crops preferring different soils. They calculated that Sorghum was more than 3 times taller in the sandy soil compared with the compost, no doubt due to it being adapted to the very hot and dry conditions it’s used to in the plains of Africa, Asia and parts of America where it is normally grown. It was also really interesting to note that Sorghum was the only crop that didn’t wilt over the half term holidays when all the others suffered due to a lack of water. The field beans were by far the tallest plant, growing more than 50cm.
We look forward to improving on this experiment and repeating it in the near future…
Very delicate work was the order of the day tonight in gardening club. After very disappointing growth of our wheat we decided to replace the small tillering variety (maybe they were overcrowded) with our big strong Kamut seedlings. We grew the Kamut wheat very successfully in a large plastic window box for 3 weeks. It will be interesting to see if they thrive in the garden after being moved!
We were delighted to welcome a teacher from Corby to view our gardens and share some seeds to follow in the footprints of The Little Red Hen with her reception class who are equally excited to be sowing their first grain! It will be really interesting to compare notes with a local school. We will both be sowing our wheat seeds this week and can’t wait to see how they grow!