There is a small community orchard close to where we live. Each summer, we watch the apple flowers blossom and wait for the fruit to grow. Then, in early September we pick a few of the low-hanging apples to see how they taste. This year, they tasted good!
But the trees in the orchard are quite tall and it can be tricky to reach the apples. Often, the children have to sit on our shoulders to reach up into the branches to get the fruit.
Cow poo, cow pats, cow pies or cow dung – whatever you want to call the sloppy stuff that comes out of a cow’s bottom – has been used for hundreds of years to help plants grow. The farmer who lives near us puts it on his crops each year and you know exactly when he’s done it because there’s a stink in the air for days!
But exactly what is it that’s so special about cow poo that makes it good for plants?
Bees visit flowers to collect nectar and pollen which they use to make honey as a food. As bees fly around from plant to plant they pick up and drop off pollen between the flowers. This is a really important job in nature because moving pollen between flowers helps plants to reproduce (make new plants) through a process called pollination. If bees didn’t do this, then certain types of plants wouldn’t be able to make seeds.
So let’s find out more about how the lifecycles of bees and flowers work together…
Air is mostly made up of a gas called nitrogen. But about one-fifth of the air (21%) is oxygen – the gas our bodies use when we breathe.
All living things need oxygen in order to stay alive but plants, algae and a group of bacteria called cyanobacteria, can also make oxygen. These plants, algae and cyanobacteria make more oxygen than they use and the extra oxygen goes back into the air. So, the oxygen is sort-of recycled, rather than used up.
Plants like trees use their leaves to make oxygen. But what if there were no trees left on Earth – would there still be enough oxygen in the air for us to breathe?
Grasses are a family of plants that includes cereals, bamboo and the short green stuff that makes up garden lawns. They grow all across the world. But what is it about grasses that helps them to grow in so many different habitats?
Like all living creatures, plants need five things to be able to survive, and one of those things is air. But plants don’t have lungs like we do, so my 6-year-old wants to know: do they breathe?
Seeds come in different shapes and sizes but how do they know what kind of plant to grow into? The answer to this fantastic question about plants actually tells us about how all life on Earth works.
Inside all living creatures there is information that tells their bodies how to grow, develop and work. But what is this information and how does it create life?