I am a big fan of pesto, so every year I plant tons of basil. You don't know what pesto is? Well let me tell you, it's the best pasta sauce ever! The basic pesto recipe includes basil, parsley, garlic, Parmesan cheese, butter, pine nuts, and salt and pepper to taste. Boy, am I getting a craving for some just describing it to you. Add some homegrown tomatoes on the side (they're so much better than store-bought)... yum!
In one of my 10-foot by 15-foot garden beds I will plant two packets of basil. Each packet holds enough seeds for one row 75 feet long. I always plant marigolds around the borders of my gardens; besides being pretty, they attract bugs that are good for gardens. Because of this, I will start the basil rows 1 foot from the edges.
The directions on the seed packets say the rows should be planted 1 foot apart. After the seeds sprout and reach a height of 2 to 3 inches, they are to be thinned so there are 6 inches between plants.
Now I have some thinking to do, and I'd like you to help me. Depending on the way I plant my rows of basil, what is the maximum number of basil plants I might have after thinning?
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Merry Adelfio and Raina Fishbane
Sidwell Friends School
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These problems are from the Math Forum.