Different Ways to use Math when starting a family garden

Grow more watermelons

Last summer, a vine adorned with broad leaves, and yellow flowers slowly emerged from the back fence and marched 22 feet, threatening to greet me at the back door of my house.

 A little shop of horrors was encroaching upon my backyard, and I was the mad scientist feeding, watering, and protecting the plant. The thing was living nearly better than I was. 

Different Ways to use Math when starting a family garden

I was so excited: this was my first time growing watermelons. Ultimately, the plant yielded two melons. This year, I want more. But how? 

I’m using problem-solving steps to grow more watermelons.

1. Identify the problem 

My watermelon plant didn’t produce enough fruit.

2. Identify what I know 

One of my colleagues, a backyard gardener, told me about the wonders of fish emulsion. Last summer, fish emulsion helped her grow more vegetables than her family could eat, share, or preserve. 

Fish emulsion is a fertilizer that is made up of fish parts or whole fish. She told me to mix 6 tablespoons of fish emulsion with 1 gallon of water. My watering can hold 2.5 gallons. 

3. Make a plan

How much fish emulsion should I mix with 2.5 gallons of water if the ratio of fish emulsion to water is 6 tablespoons: 1 gallon of water? 

Different Ways to use Math when starting a family garden

In mathematics, a ratio compares two or more numbers that indicate their sizes in relation to each other. A ratio compares two quantities by division.

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A proportion, a set of 2 equivalent fractions, will enable me to use a given ratio to figure out other amounts.

If I set up a proportion, I should determine how much fish emulsion to use to fertilize my watermelon patch. 

4. Carry out the plan

Write the Proportion

Note: x represents an unknown quantity.

Cross-multiply

I need 15 tablespoons of fish emulsion. 

5. Does the answer make sense?

2.5 gallons is 2 and a half times 1 gallon. (1 gallon + 1 gallon + 1/2 gallon)

I’ll apply the same ratio to 6 tablespoons of fish emulsion. (6 tablespoons + 6 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons = 15 tablespoons)

Proportions and ratios are helpful beyond the math classroom, PSAT, SAT, or ACT. When used correctly, they seep into the soil to bring forth beauty and nourishment. 

Expanding a Garden

Along with watermelons, last year I grew tomatoes, peppers, basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, and marjoram. This year, I want more: cucumbers, strawberries, collard greens, beans, and garlic. 

Different Ways to use Math when starting a family garden

When I embrace a new hobby, I tend to start with a small goal (grow herbs) and expand to an enormous goal (grow a grocery store). 

This time, I’m using problem-solving steps to determine how far $200 can go at my local garden store. 

1. Identify the problem

I want to build a decent-sized garden, but I don’t have an infinite budget. It’s $200. How many bricks and bags of dirt can I buy? 

2. Identify what I know 

1 bag of 2 cubic feet of garden soil costs $10.

1 foot-long brick costs $2.00.

3. Make a plan

Based on previous experience, I know that I’ll need at least 4 bags, but no more than 10 bags. I’ll let x represent the number of bags of garden soil.

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 4≤ x ≤ 10, where x represents the number of bags of garden soil

Based on previous experience, I know that I’ll need at least 25 bricks, but no more than 50 bricks. I’ll let y represent the number of bricks. 

25≤ y ≤ 50, where y represents the number of bricks

4. Carry out the plan 

To carry out the plan, I’ll use a system of linear equations. A system of linear equations is a group of two or more linear equations that contain a set of variables. Systems of linear equations can be used to model real-world problems.

  • I define the systems in words: 

Quantity of bags of garden soil + Quantity of bricks = Total quantity of bags of  garden soil and quantity of bricks

Different Ways to use Math when starting a family garden

Price of a bag of  garden soil* Quantity of bags of  garden soil+ Price of a brick * Quantity of bricks = Total dollar amount spent on  garden soil and bricks

I define the system in words and mathematical symbols:

x + y = Total quantity of bags of  garden soil and quantity of bricks

10x + 2y = Total dollar amount spent on  garden soil and bricks

How much money will I spend if I purchase the least quantity of bags of garden soil (4 bags) and the least quantity of bricks (25)?

4 + 25 = 29

10(4) + 2 (25) = $90

I’ll spend $90. Remember, my budget is $200, and I have a tendency to overdo my projects, so I’m ecstatic that I can buy more bricks and soil. 

How much money will I spend if I purchase the most significant quantity of bags of garden soil (10) and the most crucial quantity of bricks (50)?

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10 + 50 = 60 

10(10) + 2(50)

100 + 100 = 200

Staying within my budget, I can purchase 10 bags of garden soil and 50 bricks. This spring, I’ll be in my garden with my hands in the dirt, arranging the bricks, applying fish emulsion, and using math to bring forth a bountiful harvest. 

Conclusion

Here are a few ways I used math to solve some of my garden problems. If you like this post, comment below, and I will make more similar topics.

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Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.