Horse drawn swather - picture from the private collection of Jim Bedson

Growing Heritage Seeds by Grades 3 and 4

(A montage of journal entries from the class.)

Picture of hollyhock stems.
Hollyhock sprigs - the seeds are inside the husks. The soil was very dry so we needed to cover the roots with a bit of soil so that the roots didn't dry out too badly in the sun on the way back to school.

In February the whole class went up town to an old house. The person who owns the house grew hollyhocks. I took a picture of the hollyhocks. It was fun. We picked some hollyhocks. The hollyhock seeds were on stems. The seeds were very small. The seeds were inside husks. Everyone went for the biggest stem. In the end Kelly got the biggest one. I got the second biggest one. We had to carry the hollyhocks back to school. The hollyhocks were big and tall.

The whole class brought one back to school. Mrs. Boxma even brought one back and Mrs. Quance did too.
We planted the seeds. We used some peat pellets that look like little hockey pucks before you water them. The water made my hockey puck grow tall. Then we put the seeds in the window ledge.

Four days later

Planting the Hollyhock seeds.
Planting the Hollyhock seeds.

Today our hollyhock seeds were as dry as the desert. Our school was too dry to grow hollyhocks. When we planted them in the peat pellet pucks, the pucks kept drying out so we watered them. Mrs. Boxma told us to think of ideas to keep the peat pellets moist. The water kept evaporating so we had to put plastic wrap around them so the water could not evaporate. Before we did this we talked about other ideas for keeping the moisture in. The plastic wrap idea was mine.

Seven days later

Our seeds are not growing. They have water but I don’t get why they’re not growing. I guess I have to wait longer.

The water is not evaporating anymore but now we have a new problem. The seeds are starting to get moldy. When we checked our hollyhock seeds today there was some kind of fuzzy white mold growing on the peat pellets. I hope the seeds get going and don’t get any more mold on them. We might have to grow some more seeds.

Fourteen days later

Hollyhock sprout.

Some of the hollyhocks sprouted and some are moldy. Five hollyhocks grew. The sprouts had 2 or 3 leaves. They are about five centimeters long. They are green and curly and they look like clover leaves.

It is getting close to summer which means that the hollyhocks at my house are going to sprout soon. One kid in my class had his seed grow out of the side of his puck.

24 days later

OOOOhhhh, it’s horrible! They died! We had a catastrophe! The hollyhocks died of sunburn. The sun was evil. Our hollyhocks died because the sun killed them. The sun burned them up.

Mrs. Boxma killed them. She put them in the window during the hot week and the sun killed them. Mrs. Boxma is so sorry that she killed our hollyhocks. I wish they were still alive.

Mrs. Boxma said that next week we would go to the old house and dig up some seedlings to plant in bigger pots.

38 days later

We went up town and dug up hollyhock seedlings. We potted them. They have grown 10 centimeters. We think we should keep them and water them so they can grow. When the school year is over some of our classmates will take them home. Next year the plants will grow new hollyhock seeds. Next year we think the hollyhocks will be bigger than us and Mrs.Boxma too.

Potting Hollyhocks Seedlings

Lots of seeds had dropped to the ground over the fall and winter. In the spring a lot of the seeds sprouted and grew into seedlings around the old house.

The soil was very dry so we needed to cover the roots with a bit of soil so that the roots didn't dry out too badly in the sun on the way back to school. Hollyhocks are like dandelions in that they have a long, fat taproot. Some of the roots were so long it was difficult to cover them in the pots.
We tried to centre the seedling in the pot and fill it full of dirt in order to hold lots of water. We don't want these seedlings to die. We found a big fat earthworm living with the hollyhocks. The seedling is pressed down into the soil and now it is ready for a huge drink of water. It has been very dry in Castor and everything needs a lot of water.

Horse and cart. Private collection of Jim Bedson.