Friday, February 21, 2014

Sprouting Beans and Science Project

We are beginning to plan for our Spring garden so as part of this I decided to combine our plant plans with a science project. Lauren's science lessons have been covering plants from their beginnings as seeds and on to the plant or tree those seeds will become.

I have some heirloom seeds that we had tried planting in our garden in California, but none came up, so I thought these would be the perfect ones to use in our experiments. The first are Cranberry Beans.

These are a pretty variety of pinto bean.  We wet a piece of paper towel and placed it in a small baggie.  It took a little over a week before the first appearance of a sprout began.  Then within days they were large enough to plant.

We placed them in smaller pots on the front patio to protect them since it's still cool outside.  Watching us the whole time was our friendly anole that lives on the plants I have on this patio and keeps the bugs down.

Beans initially in the pots
Growth 3 weeks later

Our curious anole who watches us closely as we care for plants out front. It's a funny little lizard.

The next beans took a couple weeks more to sprout as they have a thick shell.  I was a little worried they might rot or mold first, but they finally sprouted and like the cranberry beans these known as the Mortgage Lifter began to grow quickly and like the cranberry beans were soon ready for planting.  These beans are a Native American bean with no name I can find other than this Mortgage Lifter that according to the story attached to it got it's name from a man who during the depression was able to pay off his mortgage growing and selling these beans.  True?  I don't know, but it makes for an interesting story.

Size of these beans

This is a large bean with a mild flavor and meaty texture for cooking.  I've set up a link for a source for both of these beans here:  Mortgage Lifter Beans  We'll probably have to transplant our bean starters to larger pots before it will be time to get them in the garden as they are almost a 8" to a foot tall now, but I'm thrilled we were able to start these plants and I'm hoping for success in actually growing and garnering beans to eat and store from these.  Will do a follow up post as we make more garden progress this year.

Beans in the bag

A week after planting the beans have already made this progress.

The girls loved seeing the results of the beans sprouting in the clear bags where they could watch the progress.  Will have to try this with other seeds we have had trouble starting or would like to see the difference in the size of the sprouts compared to these beans.  It's served as a useful exercise to start difficult heirloom seeds and fun science project.


  1. This is an experiment my kids do every year I think in school. First my son then my daughter. Sometimes I wander whether teachers cant do any other experiment. Once even for an art project!!! So it is nice to know this for actual harvesting.

  2. That's both funny and sad as there are so many more things the kids can do to learn and follow through with this experiment. I had been frustrated in the past by a lack of sprouting with these seeds in the ground so decided to try them this way to see if they would in fact sprout. Once they did, the follow up was just natural. Am hoping these really produce a crop so we get some more and the girls see the process all the way through!! : ) Thanks for stopping by Paps!