By now, those little beans should be sprouted, so now its time to move on to the next stage – planting them! Here is what you will need:
– Pots – Enough little pots or another type of container for the amount of plants you want; must have holes in the bottom to allow for water to drain out, otherwise the plants will get mold. We recommend making your own pots out of those big, metal coffee cans or out of regular tin cans. All you need to do is poke holes in the bottom! This is a great way to put cans otherwise destined for the garbage to use and you can have your little scientists decorate the outsides with paint or homemade labels! Whatever container you use, it should be at least as deep as a normal, 15 ounce tin can, but deeper containers will allow your bean plants to grow bigger!
– Pebbles – small enough in size to fit in your container, but big enough so they won’t fall in the holes in the bottom
– Potting soil – A normal houseplant blend works just fine and can be found at any gardening store or even at some grocery stores.
– Houseplant food – like Miracle-Gro to add some additional nutrition!
When your beans are sprouted, have your kids prepare the pots. Decorate at will, and make sure there are a few holes on the bottom for drainage! Once your containers are all set to go, have your little gardeners put the pebbles in the bottom of each container, making sure the pebbles will not fall through the holes. After that, fill the container nearly full with potting soil. Have your kids dig a hole two inches deep or so in the soil with their fingers and have them put a bean sprout in the hole. The two ends of the beans probably look pretty similar, but the leaf ends have two little nubs that will eventually become the first leaves, so place them with the leaf end up. Repeat planting beans for however many containers you have. Once the sprouts are nice and snug in their holes, cover those little guys back up with soil and water them so the soil is moist but not drowning. Place your pots in a sunny place and let nature do it’s thing! Water the plants enough to keep the soil moist and once a week, add a few drops of plant food to the water to keep the soil in tip top shape! Encourage your kids to think about different factors that might affect the growth of their plants. Do the plants grow as well in a bathroom windowsill with the moist air of the shower as they do in drier air? What amount of sunshine is ideal for the beans? Do plants respond to music? Can they tell the difference between plants that are fed plant food and those that aren’t? The possibilities for this project are only as limited as your scientific imagination!
Want to show your kids something really cool? Plant one of your beans upside down! Even with the new little leaves facing down, they will still grow the write direction. These little leaves, called cotyledon, are vitally important for plants because they are the first photosynthesizing part of the plant to be thrust up into the sun. Pretty much all the plant’s stored energy goes into putting these cotyledon up, so if they don’t start soaking up that sun, the plant will have no more energy left and will die. What helps send the cotyledon in the right direction is the phenomena known as gravitropism or geotropism. Basically, gravity pulls the roots down and sends the leaves up. Even turned upside down, these clever little plants will change the direction of their growth so the roots will still go down and the leaves up. Plants don’t have eyes, ears, or a way to feel, but they still know exactly which way to go, how cool is that? Nifty!
We would love to hear about your own bean projects, so please comment and let us know! Check out our app Jack and the Beanstalk for a fun story to read while waiting for those plants to grow and thanks for reading!