Thank you, Hedi, for your welcome. I look forward to learning more about the WFP. My plan indeed is to conduct the AP Investigative Lab - Artificial Selection starting this fall, and so the discussion forum will thus be particularly helpful to me. Considering the emphasis on student-directed labs, I figured it may be a good idea to assign my upcoming AP Bio students as part of their summer assignment to learn as much as they can about WFP in preparation for this first investigation.
Thanks so much for the warm welcome! I was actually quite surprised to learn that I could purchase the WFP seeds as an individual. Realizing I was able to, I sort of "jumped right in" and ordered the WFP Genetic Sampler that includes 8 different type of FP's. That was a few months ago. I still can't keep from chuckling when I took a couple of the standard seeds and planted them and kept watch over them like a mother bird watching her eggs. I even went so far as to set up a webcam that autoupdated every 5 minutes so I could even check them out when I was at work. Having mentioned them to many of my co-workers (I work in a large hospital) I was further surprised to find that many of my coworkers were checking in regularly to see the progress of the FP's. When the first flowers began to open up on the 13th day they couldn't hardly believe it. Somehow that led to an office joke that is still going strong about "the growing problem of teenage plant pregnancy". :) Anyway, I've cleared some space under my plant ligts to start a couple different types of WFP's and learn how to perform my very first hybridization (and I turn 40 next month). This is definitely more enjoyable than my typical night of channel surfing...
At last my environmental studies program is in existence! Students are gradually populating the class. We have tools, a garden plot and enough funding to get started. Funding came from a small grant from a gardening association, and some of my clients. Goals of the class are many and varied. In addition to the "standard curriculum," we will (a) demonstrate conversion of biowaste to transportation fuel, (b) teach basic economics of crop production, including labor input, (c) provide garden produce to our home economics department to help teach students to cook, (d) teach solar cookery, (e) experiment with aquaculture, involving growing plants in tanks with fish (probably Talapia), and (f) teaching basic genetics.
While I am interested in Wisconsin Fast Plants for several reasons, it is the LAST point mentioned that I think can be most compelling and about which I am writing today. Specifically, can we use Paul's babies to teach genetics the way Gregor Mendel did it? Mendel's pea plants required many seasons. With Brassica, perhaps we can gain insight into dominant and recessive features after just a month. Is this feasible? Please comment.
--Jay L. Stern
Thanks for posting our "plant puzzle". I added a bit more info and attached some pictures. Hopefully someone may have some feedback for us! We are encouraged by our latest batch in the old potting mix. They are looking much healthier. I think I will give Miracle Gro a call and see if they have any insight. If batch #3 is normal, then I'd say this wouldn't be a good advertisement for Miracle Gro!